50-State Engineering Licensing Compliance Guide
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Mechanical Engineering License

Learn how to obtain and maintain a mechanical engineering firm license

What Is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Through their projects, mechanical engineers ensure their designs function safely, efficiently, and reliably while staying competitive in terms of cost.

Mechanical engineers are involved in a number of industries, including health care, energy, transportation, climate change, and more. The discipline combines creativity, knowledge, and analytical tools to transform ideas into reality.

Technological breakthroughs are continuously broadening opportunities for mechanical engineering firms. The future of mechanical engineering includes nanotechnology, biotechnology, acoustic engineering, and more.

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Obtaining a Mechanical Engineering License

Every state has its own licensing board, so there is significant variation in obtaining a mechanical engineering license. In most states, applying for a mechanical engineering firm license involves the following steps:

  • Obtain a four-year degree
  • Take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Have four years of experience under a licensed mechanical engineer

Taking the FE exam can happen before or soon after you have obtained a bachelor’s degree. In terms of experience, states may require license applicants to have experience with the following design elements:

  • Using three of the four most common construction materials—steel, concrete, wood, and masonry
  • Determination of lateral forces
  • Selecting framing systems
  • Selecting foundation systems
  • Applying code requirements
  • Designing multi-story or multi-level structures

Note that dual credit is not often allowed, meaning that work experience is only accepted as satisfactory if each engagement is separate and distinct.

While some states have specific mechanical engineering licenses or permits, others only require a general engineering license. Check with your state board to learn more about the particular requirements that apply to your situation.

If you are struggling with obtaining mechanical engineering licensing for your firm, Harbor Compliance can help. We make preparing and filing licensing applications easy and we handle communication with government agencies on your behalf. With our compliance software, you can track your registration status, license numbers, filing history, fees, and renewals 24/7.

Starting or Expanding as a Mechanical Engineering Firm

Engineering professionals are charged with protecting the general public's safety, health, and welfare. Practicing mechanical engineering is inherently dangerous, so engineers need to ensure they abide by state and local requirements when registering and expanding their businesses. No matter where you are setting up your business, you will complete the following steps:

  • Research your state’s business registration and licensing requirements.
  • Choose your business name and entity structure.
  • Obtain a federal tax identification number from the Internal Revenue Service and register with the Secretary of State.
  • Obtain necessary types of insurance, including general liability, commercial auto, and workers’ compensation.
  • Research license and registration renewal requirements to keep your business compliant.

If the idea of business licensing is overwhelming, Harbor Compliance can help. Our professional licensing services explain all stages of business compliance and provide full-service support and expert software insights.

Maintenance and Renewal

You need to maintain the status of your license to ensure you can continue to operate. State requirements vary, but renewals are often required annually or biennially. You may need to submit a renewal application, pay a renewal fee, or pursue continuing education. Complying with renewal requirements will ensure you can continue to work without disruption.

Keeping on track with license renewals can be complicated. At Harbor Compliance, our managed annual reporting and registered agent services ensure accurate due date tracking and on-time filing. This way, your business will continue to be compliant with state and local requirements, and you will have the time you need to continue working and expanding your clientele.

If you are currently operating as a mechanical engineer and are looking to outsource your maintenance and renewal duties, Harbor Compliance can help. We are available to review your business status, ensure you are in good standing in the state(s) where you operate, and explain what steps you need to take to ensure you remain compliant with state and federal regulations.

Explore Licensing by State

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

Meeting the mechanical engineering license requirements is not always an easy process. Fortunately, Harbor Compliance License Manager helps construction professionals maintain their licenses by automating repetitive tasks such as tracking renewals. Through License Manager, you can also access Compliance Core™ - our extensive, proprietary database of nationwide licensing information - to research the requirements for the states in which you work. These tools reduce the time you spend researching state requirements and prepare your organization for success. Contact our licensing experts today to learn more.

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.