Frequently Asked Questions About the Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors

Find answers to your frequently asked questions.

Table of Contents

Who can certify[1] a site plan or an as-built plan?

Can a Professional Engineer (PE) certify[1] a site plan or an as-built plan which references and/or utilizes a property line determination that was previously completed by a Professional Land Surveyor (PLS)?

Answer:  No.

Although state law allows a PE qualified in civil engineering to perform land surveying work incidental to his or her engineering work, such as topographical measurements, the law clearly states that a PE cannot make property line determinations.  See M.G.L. c. 112, s. 81D.  As stated in Board regulation 250 CMR 5.01, “the delineation of existing or proposed structures, features or Boundaries relative to property lines requires the determination of property lines and therefore must be performed by a Professional Land Surveyor.”  When a PE obtains an electronic or hardcopy of a pre-existing survey plan and adds his or her engineering work to that plan, the PE is representing where the property line exists relative to his/her work for the purpose of the PE’s engineering project.  However, the PE cannot be certain that the pre-existing survey accurately reflects the current conditions of the property and is sufficiently reliable to be used for the PE’s current project.  For example, potential issues with the prior survey include:

  • Boundary lines have changed since date of survey;
  • A survey of adjacent property conflicts with prior survey;
  • Overburden of survey for different purpose (e.g. mortgage inspection survey);
  • Not in conformance with rules of evidence and 250 CMR;
  • Court decree overturning prior survey;
  • Legitimate claims of occupation and encroachments;
  • On-site construction after date of prior survey.

For this reason, except in the limited situations described below, a PE cannot certify a site plan showing property lines.

The only exceptions to the above-stated rule are when:

  1. the PLS is a member of a project development team, the survey was commissioned for the project, and the PE’s work is added to said survey.  A complete design package submitted by the project development team would include the survey stamped by the PLS and the engineering plan(s) stamped by the PE indicate the survey as “background” information.
  2. the PE consults with the PLS who performed the prior survey, the PLS confirms that the survey information on the filed plan reflects current conditions of the property and is sufficiently reliable to be used for the purpose of the PE’s project, and the PLS stamps the land surveying work.

[1] Use of the word “certify” includes the act of signing, sealing and/or stamping a plan by the Professional Engineer.

Are there specific requirements for comity licensure as a Structural Engineer?

At its September 30, 2010 meeting, the Board voted to continue granting comity registrations for Structural Engineers who became licensed in another state prior to the Board’s adoption of the NCEES  16 hour structural examination requirement, provided that the applicant met all other Massachusetts registration requirements at the time of their original registration.

How do I know if I meet the requirements to apply for a license as a Professional Land Surveyor?

To determine eligibility for licensure, applicants are strongly encouraged to consult the "Land Surveying Application Guidelines" prior to starting or submitting an application.

How do I obtain an application for licensure as a Professional Engineer, Professional Land Surveyor?

For all applications, please contact Professional Credential Services, Inc. (PCS) and click on "Applicants and Candidates."  You may also read more information on our licensing page.

How can I obtain study guides for the examinations?

To obtain an examination study guide, please visit the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) website.

Applicants should also be aware that NCEES and their partner, Pearson VUE, have developed computer-based practice examinations, which are also available online. These practice examinations simulate the format, style, and level of difficulty of an actual examination.

How often are examinations held?

The computer-based Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) examinations are administered during four two-month windows each year. To register for one of these examinations, please visit To learn more about computer-based testing administered by Pearson VUE, please visit

The Professional Engineering (PE) and Professional Surveying (PS) examinations are offered twice a year, usually in the spring and fall. To learn more about these examinations or to register, please visit

Is an EIT or SIT certification necessary for licensure?

No. Although pursuant to 250 CMR 3.10 obtaining a certification is the most favored path to licensure, it is not required. Pursuant to 250 CMR 3.04, applicants can become licensed with or without formal education, but EIT or SIT certificates are only awarded to applicants with formal education.

How do I renew my Professional Engineers or Professional Land Surveyor license(s)?

Licenses are renewable June 30th of every even-numbered year and are only conducted online.  Renewal notices are mailed out approximately six (6) weeks prior to the expiration date.  It is the responsibility of the licensee to update contact information with the Board through the licensee’s ePortal account and to renewal licenses in a timely manner.

How do I notify the Board of an address change or name change?

To change your name or address of record with the Board, please visit DOL's "Request a Duplicate License/Change of Address/Change of Name Requests: Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors" page.

Can I get a copy of the Mass. General Laws applicable to Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors?

An unofficial, electronic copy of the Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) applicable to licensed professional engineers and professional land surveyors is available on the “Statutes and Regulations” page of the Board’s website.  

Please note that this copy is not an official version of the MGL. While reasonable efforts have been made to assure the accuracy of the data provided, do not rely on this information without first checking an official edition of the MGL. If you are in need of legal advice or counsel, please consult a lawyer. Official copies of the MGL may be purchased from the Massachusetts State Bookstore.

How do I obtain verification of my examination and license?

Please find directions for applying for a verification on the Board’s verification page.

I would like to review my recent or previous examination. Can I request a copy from the Board?

Please be advised the Board has adopted the following policy: In order to protect the security of the examination questions, no review of the examinations will be allowed. This policy applies to all examinations required by the Board.

Exception: Applicants who have taken and failed the land surveyor’s jurisprudence examination may request a breakdown of their performance on each of the eleven question classifications. However, they will not be given access to the examination questions or answers.

How many times can I take the licensing examinations?

To check the status of your application, please contact Professional Credential Services, Inc. (PCS).

I would like to form a Professional/Foreign Corporation. What do I need to do?

To form a Professional Engineering and/or Professional Land Surveying corporation, you must contact the Secretary of State's Office.  Please call 617-727-2850 to request an application or for general information on this process.  Please also see the detailed instructions on the Board’s website.

How can I obtain information pertaining to Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Societies?

Please contact:

  • American Council of Engineering
    Companies of Massachusetts
    The Engineering Center
    One Walnut Street
    Boston, MA 02108-3616
    Tel: (617) 227-5551
    Email: acec/
  • Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section/ASCE
    The Engineering Center
    One Walnut Street
    Boston, MA 02108-3616
    Tel: (617) 227-5551
  • Massachusetts Society of
    Professional Engineers (MSPE)
    Ten Post Office Square
    8th Floor South
    Boston, MA 02109
    Tel: 617-692-2940
  • Massachusetts Association of Land Surveyors
    and Civil Engineers (MALSCE)
    The Engineering Center
    One Walnut Street
    Boston, MA 02108-3616
    Tel: (617) 227-5551

My license has been expired for more than two years. Can I still renew it?

No. If your license has been expired for more than two years you may not renew it. Instead, you must submit an application for reinstatement to the Board. Copies of the application for reinstatement are available on the “Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Reinstatement Applications” page of the Board’s website.

I have a foreign or unaccredited degree, what do I need to do?

I have obtained a foreign degree or U.S. college level education from an institution that is not accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET), but I think it should be considered acceptable. 

If you hold a foreign degree or have US based college level education that is not accredited by the ABET, then you may seek a credentials evaluation from National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). The Board will accept education deemed to meet the NCEES educational standards as equivalent to an ABET degree, for the purposes of determining if you meet the educational requirements for a given application classification, under which one may apply for licensure. For information on requesting a credentials evaluation from NCEES, please visit the Council’s website.

Can a PLS from out-of-state obtain temporary permits to practice in Massachusetts?

Technically, yes. However, it is more practical for an out-of-state applicant to become a registered professional land surveyor. Pursuant to MGL c. 112, § 81R(b) & (c) and 250 CMR 3.09, applicants must meet the current Massachusetts registration requirements in order to obtain a temporary permit. Such requirements include both an oral examination and a Massachusetts-specific examination. Therefore, an applicant who would qualify for a temporary permit would also qualify to become a professional land surveyor.

Where can I find the requirements for professional seals?

The requirements for professional seals are outlined in the Board’s regulations at 250 CMR 5.03(1).

Do I have to indicate my license branch on my professional seal?

No. Pursuant to 250 CMR 5.03, the identification of one’s licensed branch within their professional seal is optional.

Can the professional seal be rendered digitally?

Yes. Pursuant to 250 CMR 5.03(2), engineering and land surveying seals can now be computer generated images. Licensees may also continue to use the traditional rubber stamp and embossed seal.

What are the restrictions applicable to Professional Engineers practicing land surveying?

Land surveying can be performed by engineers to the extent that the land surveying work is incidental to a civil engineering project and does not involve property line determinations. Pursuant to 250 CMR 5.01(2)(b), the delineation of any existing or proposed structure, feature or boundary relative to a property line, requires the determination of a property line and therefore, must be performed by a licensed professional land surveyor.

If I submitted my application more than three (3) years ago, is it still considered to be active?

No. Pursuant to 250 CMR 3.03(7), after three (3) years of inactivity all applications automatically lapse. Candidates wishing to submit an application must submit a new, updated application.

If my application lapses after three years of inactivity, can it be reopened?

Yes. Pursuant to 250 CMR 3.07(3), an applicant with a lapsed application may request, in writing, that the Board reopen his or her application. At a minimum, the written request must state the reason the applicant is seeking to reopen the application, and must also include any documentation required to update the lapsed application.

Are there requirements for a temporary permit for out-of-state licensed PEs?

In Massachusetts there are 2 types of temporary permits available to practice engineering.

One is valid only for 30 days from the date of issue and then it expires.  If a Professional Engineer registered in his or her own state under equivalent qualifications, wishes to practice engineering in MA on a project lasting less than 30 days, that licensed engineer may be given a temporary permit to practice in Massachusetts for 30 days.  This temporary permit will not be valid for more than 30 days and an engineer can only request one permit in each calendar year.

The other type is a 30 day plus permit which is valid from the date of issue until such time that an application for licensure by comity has been determined by the Board.

In order to be eligible for this type of temporary permit, the applicant will need to submit (upload) both the application for licensure by comity (along with their complete and current NCEES record) and the application for temporary permit at the same time, to their PCS account. 

Please be advised that applicants who are residents or have a business address in the state of Massachusetts cannot obtain a temporary permit.  A temporary permit application must be completed and uploaded to Professional Credential Services (PCS).  The application may be found on PCS’ website,, in the Massachusetts PE by Comity section. Temporary Permits are usually processed within 3 business days of receipt of the application.

PLEASE NOTE: If a temporary permit application is received by itself, before or without a COMITY application, the temporary permit will be valid for 30 days only. Candidates who plan to also seek comity in MA should submit the temporary permit application either together with their COMITY application or after submission of the comity. The temporary permit may then be granted for as long as it takes the Board to decide upon the COMITY application (a period of not more than 12 months).

Contact   for Frequently Asked Questions About the Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors


To receive instructions on conducting common board transactions, email the address below. This is an unmonitored email address. Please do not send any documentation to this email address: Email Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and of Land Surveyors at


(617) 727-9932


1000 Washington Street, Suite 710, Boston, MA 02118

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