50-State Engineering Licensing Compliance Guide
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Learn about engineer-in-charge requirements.

What Is an Engineer-in-Charge?

An engineer-in-charge is authorized, under contract, to direct and supervise an engineering project. As the firm owner, you could be the engineer-in-charge, or you could hire someone to fill that role. The engineer-in-charge is responsible for all of the firm’s employees and contracted workers on a given project. As such, the assigned engineer-in-charge needs to meet the proper qualifications. The state establishes licensing qualifications while the hiring firm sets the resulting duties.

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Assigning an Engineer-in-Charge

Assigning an engineer-in-charge is a complex process. If you are looking to hire an engineer-in-charge for your firm, you will first need to ensure you have the proper firm license in place. Depending on your firm’s expanse, you may need to hire multiple professionals-in-charge – for instance, if you operate in states for different types of engineering or architecture.

In terms of duties, an engineer-in-charge can expect to do the following:

  • Communicate with clients
  • Ensure the project is completed
  • Award extension of time
  • Ensure the proper insurance policies are in place (depending on the cost of the job and the inherent risks)
  • Value compensation events
  • Value variations to the contract

Harbor Compliance provides managed licensing services if you need to ensure that engineers-in-charge are properly licensed for all of the regulated professional services your firm offers. Spare your business time, expense, and potential mistakes by teaming with our compliance experts. You’ll gain access to our in-house specialists and proprietary tracking software to handle initial registrations, renewals, and special projects. If you want to continue managing your licenses internally, our proprietary Compliance Core™ allows you to quickly and efficiently investigate licensing requirements in virtually every state and industry.

Ongoing Requirements

Business expansions and employment changes can throw a wrench into your engineer-in-charge designation. Changing engineer-in-charge status could take 30 days or longer, depending on your firm’s situation.

If you are expanding your business into new states, you will likely need an engineer-in-charge who is licensed in those states. Your business can face fines, closures, delays, and other penalties without the correct licenses.

Don’t let business licensing challenges halt your opportunity to enter new markets, open new facilities, hire new employees, seek financing opportunities, and bid for new contracts. Our compliance specialists can guide you through each phase of the licensing process and position your firm for success.

Explore Licensing by State

Click on a link below to view licensing information in your state.

Design Firm - Engineering firm registration is sometimes grouped with architecture and land surveying on a single “design firm” application form.

EI (Engineering Intern) - A term also used to describe an Engineer in Training.

EIT (Engineer in Training) - A professional designation granted upon having completed at least 3 years of school at an ABET-accredited university and having passed the FE exam.

FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) - An exam testing on basic engineering principles that is required to become an engineer in training.

PE (Professional Engineer or 'Principles and Practice in Engineering') - Means either Professional Engineer or refers to the Principles and Practice in Engineering exam that is a prerequisite for an engineering license.

Reciprocity - When a licensed engineer in one state can provide documentation (often an NCEES Record) to more easily apply for a license in another jurisdiction.

Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
Accrediting board that sets standards for university programs in a variety of applied science disciplines.

American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
Engineering, architecture, and land surveying advocacy group.

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Organization that provides continuing education, professional conferences, and advocacy efforts to the civil engineering community.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Mechanical engineering organization that focuses on education and professional development.

Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)
Reviews accreditation requirements and makes final decisions regarding the accreditation process.

National Council of Examiners for Engineering & Surveying (NCEES)
Develops, administers, and scores the exams used for engineering licenses.

National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
NSPE is an advocacy group for professional engineers.