Montana Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors

FAQ's

  • Who sits on the Board of PELS?
    The Board currently has nine members: five licensed professional engineers, two licensed land surveyors and two public members. Each is appointed by the Governor for a four-year term. A Board member can serve a maximum of three terms (12 years.) Anyone interested in joining the Board should apply to the Governor’s office.

    When and where does the Board meet?
    The board holds four regularly-scheduled meetings per year, usually on the first Thursday in February, May, August and November. (Exact dates are subject to change.) The meetings typically start at 8 a.m. Meetings take place at the Business Standards Division offices at 301 South Park Ave. in Helena (the former federal building.)

    How can I participate in a meeting?
    All Board meetings are open for anyone to attend in person. For the convenience of people who live out of Helena, the Board also provides a conference call option for all meetings held at the Park Avenue Building.

    How can I get something on the meeting agenda?
    It’s easy. Just contact the Board’s Executive Officer with a written request to be placed on the agenda. The EO and Board chair will make the final determination as to what goes on a given meeting’s agenda.

  • How can I find out what the requirements are for becoming a Licensed Professional Engineer in Montana?
    The best way is to visit the "Forms" tab of this website and review (or download) a copy of the application form and the checklist of requirements for the PE license type.

    NOTE: There is only one P.E. application, but there are separate checklists and instructions for applications "by Exam" (applying to sit for the NCEES P.E. licensure exam) or "by Comity" (applying based on a current license in another jurisdiction.)  Those forms should answer all of your questions about the documents you need, about fees, and about timelines for application. If you are unsure of anything prior to submitting an application, contact the Board via e-mail at dlibsdpels@mt.gov or call the BSD office at 406-841-2300 and ask for the Board of PELS Executive Officer.

    I have a NCEES Record and I want to submit that with my application. What else do I need to submit along with the Record?
    First, the NCEES Record is not an application. You must complete a Department of Labor and Industry application--using either the traditional printed form or the online portal at https://ebiz.mt.gov/pol and pay the required application fee. You also must submit the Board's "PE/EI Experience Sheets," which accompany the printed application and are downloadable separately from the online application portal or from the "Forms" tab on this website. The Board will NOT review the experience information in the NCEES Record. Only experience reported on the Board's forms will be reviewed. You also must submit the Laws & Rules Questionnaire, that also accompanies the printed application or is available separately at the online application site or the Board's website in the "Forms" tab.

    Items the Board will accept from the NCEES Record are: educational information (such as transcripts or credential evaluations performed by NCEES on foreign degrees), examination verifications, character references, and license verifications from other jurisdictions that are less than 6 months old. Older license verifications must be updated before they will be accepted.                                                                                                                                                      

    I want to apply online--what do I need to know?
    The first thing you'll do when going to the online portal at https://ebiz.mt.gov/pol is register for an account. Once that's complete, you can enter the portal and begin an application. You'll first enter personal information and answer a series of questions. You also can download documents, including experience sheets and the Laws & Rules Questionnaire. From there, you have the option of uploading the completed experience sheets and questionnaire. However, waiting to complete your online application until those forms are ready will delay the delivery of your online application to the Department. The application will "open" only after you have paid the application fee, which is the last step in the process. You can skip through the document upload stages if you wish, proceed on to the payment portal, pay your fee by credit card, and then return to the application at your leisure to upload documents or information. You also can submit documents via e-mail or postal mail. Once they arrive, they'll be added to your application record.

    I'm self-employed but I see on the experience sheets a request for the PE who supervised my experience. What do I do?
    The Montana Board of PELS only requires PE-supervised experience prior to PE licensure. Once someone is licensed and can practice independently, supervision is no longer required. So just put "self-employed" in the appropriate place in the forms.

    What happens to my application once I've sent it?
    Your application is reviewed by a trained application specialist. For PE applications, the specialist may be able to issue the license without further review by other individuals. However, if that person notes that anything is missing, he or she will contact you about whatever you need to provide. Once an application is complete, the application specialist either will issue the license or advise the Board’s Executive Officer that it needs further review. If the application is determined to require review by the full Board, it will be placed on the agenda for the next available Board meeting. Be advised, however, that the Board has strict deadlines for applications that require its review. Currently, only completed applications received four weeks or more before a meeting will be allowed on the Board's agenda. This allows staff and Board members adequate time to prepare and review applications before the meeting.

    Once I'm Licensed, when do I renew my License?

    P.E. licenses must be renewed in each even-numbered year by June 30. This is true of both Active and Inactive licenses. The board will send a reminder notice in advance of that date.

    Do I need Continuing Education to Renew?
    No one is prohibited from renewing if the CE requirements haven't been completed. Active licensees must attest to knowledge of the Board's rule on continuing education/competency when they renew. And all Active licensees are expected to comply with the rule. (Inactive licensees also are expected to know the rule, even though they're exempt from it while Inactive.)

  • How can I find out what the requirements are for becoming a Licensed Professional Land Surveyor in Montana?
    The best way is to visit the "Forms" tab of this website and review (or download) a copy of the application form and the checklist of requirements for the PLS license type.

    NOTE: There is only one PLS application, but there are separate checklists and instructions for applications "by Exam" (applying to sit for the NCEES "P.S." licensure exam) or "by Comity" (applying based on a current license in another jurisdiction.)  Those forms should answer all of your questions about the documents you need, about fees, and about timelines for application. If you are unsure of anything prior to submitting an application, contact the Board via e-mail at dlibsdpels@mt.gov or call the BSD office at 406-841-2300 and ask for the Board of PELS Executive Officer.

    It also will be worth your while to look at the Board-approved Land Surveying curriculum as defined by ARM 24.183.303. (Look for it in "Administrative Rules" in the  "Regulations" tab.) This is the standard upon which Land Surveying education will be judged.

    I have a NCEES Record and I want to submit that with my application. What else do I need to submit along with the Record?
    First, the NCEES Record is not an application. You must complete a Department of Labor and Industry application--using either the traditional printed form or the online portal at https://ebiz.mt.gov/pol and pay the required application fee. You also must submit the Board's "PLS/LSI Experience Sheets," which accompany the printed application and are downloadable separately from the online application portal or from the "Forms" tab on this website. The Board will NOT review the experience information in the NCEES Record. Only experience reported on the Board's forms will be reviewed. You also must submit the PLS Laws & Rules Questionnaire, that also accompanies the printed application or is available separately at the online application site or the Board's website in the "Forms" tab.

    Items the Board will accept from the NCEES Record are: educational information (such as transcripts), examination verifications, character references, and license verifications from other jurisdictions that are less than 6 months old. Older license verifications must be updated before they will be accepted.

    I want to apply online--what do I need to know?
    The first thing you'll do when going to the online portal at https://ebiz.mt.gov/pol is register for an account. Once that's complete, you can enter the portal and begin an application. You'll first enter personal information and answer a series of questions. You also can download documents, including experience sheets and the Laws & Rules Questionnaire. From there, you have the option of uploading the completed experience sheets and questionnaire. However, waiting to complete your online application until those forms are ready will delay the delivery of your online application to the Department. The application will "open" only after you have paid the application fee, which is the last step in the process. You can skip through the document upload stages if you wish, proceed on to the payment portal, pay your fee by credit card, and then return to the application at your leisure to upload documents or information. You also can submit documents via e-mail or postal mail. Once they arrive, they'll be added to your application record.

    I'm self-employed but I see on the experience sheets a request for the PLS who supervised my experience. What do I do?
    The Montana Board of PELS only requires PLS-supervised experience prior to PLS licensure. Once someone is licensed and can practice independently, supervision is no longer required. So just put "self-employed" in the appropriate place in the forms.

    What happens to my application once I've sent it?
    Your application is reviewed by a trained application specialist. If that person notes that anything is missing, he or she will contact you about whatever you need to provide. Once an application is complete, the application specialist will advise the Board’s Executive Officer. In all cases, completed P.L.S. applications will be placed on the agenda for the next available Board meeting. Be advised, however, that the Board has strict deadlines for applications received prior to a meeting. Currently, only applications that are complete four weeks or more before a meeting will be considered. This allows staff and Board members adequate time to prepare and review applications before the meeting.
    NOTE: All applicants for a P.L.S. license must pass the Montana State-Specific Land Surveyor Exam before a license is issued. "Exam" applicants take this exam following passage of the NCEES "P.S." Exam. "Comity" applicants take it upon Board approval of the license application. The state exam is administered by a third-party vendor, ISO-Quality Testing, at its own test sites across the United States.

    I’m already Licensed in another State. Does the Board have to review my application?
    Yes.The Board reviews ALL applications for Professional Land Surveyor, whether the person wants to sit for the NCEES "P.S." exam or applies by Comity.

    Once I'm Licensed, when do I renew my License ?
    P.L.S. licenses must be renewed in each even-numbered year by June 30. This is true of both Active and Inactive licensees. The Board will send a reminder notice well in advance of that date.

    Do I need Continuing Education to Renew?
    No one is prohibited from renewing if the CE requirements haven't been completed. Active licensees must attest to knowledge of the Board's rule on continuing education/competency when they renew. And all Active licensees are expected to comply with the rule. (Inactive licensees also are expected to know the rule, even though they're exempt from it while Inactive.)

  • How can I find out what the requirements are for becoming an Engineer Intern in Montana?
    The best way is to visit the "Forms" tab of this website and review (or download) a copy of the application form and the checklist of requirements for the EI certificate.
    If you already have passed the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering exam (the F.E.), you will need to send the Board the application for Engineer Intern Certification.
    If you are unsure of anything prior to applying, contact the Board via e-mail at dlibsdpels@mt.gov or call the BSD office at 406-841-2300 and ask for the PELS Executive Officer. If you've already submitted an application and want to ask about its status, ask for the licensing unit that handles Engineer Intern applications.

    I want to apply online--what do I need to know?
    The first thing you'll do when going to the online portal at https://ebiz.mt.gov/pol is register for an account. Once that's complete, you can enter the portal and begin an application. You'll first enter personal information and answer a series of questions. You also can download documents or upload information. However, waiting to complete your online application until those forms are ready will delay the delivery of your online application to the Department. The application will "open" only after you have paid the application fee, which is the last step in the process. You can skip through the document upload stages if you wish, proceed on to the payment portal, pay your fee by credit card, and then return to the application at your leisure to upload documents or information. You also can submit documents via e-mail or postal mail. Once they arrive, they'll be added to your application record.

    What happens to my Application once I've sent it?
    Your application is reviewed by a trained application specialist. If that person notes that anything is missing, he or she will contact you about whatever you need to provide. Once an application is complete, the application specialist can approve the application or advise the Board’s Executive Officer if anything requires further review. "Non-routine" EI applications will be placed on the agenda for the next Board meeting. Be advised that the Board has strict deadlines for applications. Currently, only applications that are complete four weeks or more before a meeting will be considered. This allows staff and Board members adequate time to prepare and review applications before the meeting.

    How long will my Engineer Intern Certificate Last?
    Two years. This is the final step in the evolution of the EI certificate. Prior to 2012, the certificate was perpetual, with no expiration date. Then, in January of 2012, a new Board rule went into effect shortening the life of the EI certificate to 6 years. The rule was retroactive, which means any EI certificate more than six years old automatically became “Closed” in the licensing database. (Meaning the life of the certificate had ended.) In November of 2014, the Board adopted a rule change making the EI certificate valid for two years with a renewal process and a renewal fee of $25.

    Can I renew my E.I. Certificate?
    Yes. Renewals of EI certificates take place each year with a renewal deadline of June 30. The Department will notify EI holders when renewal is approaching. Be sure to inform the Department if your mailing address changes.

    Will I need an E.I. to apply for a Professional Engineer License?
    Yes, especially if you plan to apply to sit for the NCEES PE exam in Montana. MCA 37-67-323 requires applicants to have received an E.I. certificate (from any state) in order to sit for the NCEES PE exam. (The only exception is for applicants with a Ph.D. degree in engineering who never passed the FE exam.)

    Will a "closed," "expired" or "terminated" E.I. certificate affect my ability to apply for a Professional Engineer License?
    No, the Board has determined that if an applicant for PE has held an EI certificate, even if it was terminated by an action of the Board, that former certificate can be considered during the application review. The Board has granted its staff permission to be “liberal” in its interpretation of how the E.I. requirement is met, and to alert the Board if someone has a questionable E.I.

  • How can I find out what the requirements are for becoming a Land Surveyor Intern in Montana?
    The best way is to visit the "Forms" tab of this website and review (or download) a copy of the application form and the checklist of requirements for the LSI certificate.
    If you are unsure of anything prior to applying, contact the Board via e-mail at dlibsdpels@mt.gov or call the BSD office at 406-841-2300 and ask for the PELS Executive Officer. If you've already submitted an application and want to ask about its status, ask for the licensing unit that handles Engineer Intern applications.

    I want to apply online--what do I need to know?
    The first thing you'll do when going to the online portal at https://ebiz.mt.gov/pol is register for an account. Once that's complete, you can enter the portal and begin an application. You'll first enter personal information and answer a series of questions. You also can download documents, including experience sheets. From there, you have the option of uploading the completed experience sheets or other information. However, waiting to complete your online application until those forms are ready will delay the delivery of your online application to the Department. The application will "open" only after you have paid the application fee, which is the last step in the process. You can skip through the document upload stages if you wish, proceed on to the payment portal, pay your fee by credit card, and then return to the application at your leisure to upload documents or information. You also can submit documents via e-mail or postal mail. Once they arrive, they'll be added to your application record.

    What happens to my Application once I've sent it?
    Your application is reviewed by a trained application specialist. If that person notes that anything is missing, he or she will contact you about whatever you need to provide. Once an application is complete, the application specialist will advise the Board’s Executive Officer, who will determine whether it must be placed on the agenda for the next available Board meeting. Most applications for LSI go before the Board. Only those in which the applicant received land surveyor education at approved Montana institutions of higher learning may avoid Board review. Be advised that the Board has strict deadlines for applications. Currently, only applications that are complete four weeks or more before a meeting will be considered. This allows staff and Board members adequate time to prepare and review applications before the meeting.

    How long will my Land Surveyor Intern Certificate last?
    In November of 2014, the Board adopted a rule change that makes the Land Surveyor Intern certificate valid for two years. (Before that, LSI certificates had no expiration date.) The Board also established a renewal deadline of June 30 and a renewal fee of $25. Renewals will occur in both odd-numbered and even-numbered years. The Department will notify LSI certificate holders when the renewal period is approaching. Be sure to notify the Department if your mailing address changes.

  • What is a Certificate of Authorization? Do I need one to Practice in Montana?

    A “COA” is required for any business entity that:

    1. offers engineering or land surveying services in Montana, and
    2. is required to register with the Montana Secretary of State.
    1. NOTE: A sole proprietor may be required to register with the Montana Secretary of State. If you have questions about this, please contact the Secretary of State’s office. The Board office cannot speak for the Secretary of State.

    To apply for a COA, please submit the completed application form, the application fee, and the additional information required--notably proof of Secretary of State registration (if it’s required for your firm by the SOS) and information about the Montana-licensed professional(s) in responsible charge for your firm.

    How often must I renew the COA?

    Every year by October 1.

  • What makes for a valid Seal or Stamp in Montana?
    To meet Board requirements, a seal or stamp must contain the words “Licensed Professional Engineer” or “Licensed Professional Land Surveyor” as well as the word “Montana” and the number of your license, usually shown as “#####PE” or “#####PLS.”  This is a different arrangement than the “PEL-PE-LIC-#####” (or similar) you will see on your official license certificate issued by the Department, but is appropriate for a seal.

    For a dual Engineer/Surveyor licensee, one seal showing “Licensed Professional Engineer and Professional Land Surveyor” with “Montana” and the number (example: “####ES”) is OK.

    Please visit ARM 24.183.511 regarding the form and use of seals.

  • I need a Verification of my License sent to another State (or Canadian Province.) How do I do that?
    The Department will provide your license information to another state for a fee of $20.00. The Board suggests you send payment along with the official “License Verification Request” form found on this website inside the “Services/Links” tab. That form includes the address where the form and the payment should be sent.
    If you also have a form provided to you by the other state/province, please send that along with the Montana form and the payment.

    I sat for my NCEES Exams in Montana? How do I get those Exam results to another Jurisdiction?
    Follow the same steps noted above for license verifications, including payment of the $20 fee. This will work, whether you are an Engineer Intern or Land Surveyor Intern and need only to have exam scores sent, or you are a licensed Professional Land Surveyor or Professional Engineer and need both exam scores and license information sent somewhere else.

    I think the other State already sent a request to the Board for Verification. Do I still need to make my own request?
    Yes. Because the license/exam verification is a service with a fee attached to it, the Department will need both your request and your payment before it can process a verification. This includes verifications you wish to send to NCEES.

    1. How do I know if the Board is making a change to its rules?

    Under the Montana Administrative Procedure Act, any state entity must issue a public notice that it is about to change its administrative rules. There are three ways to make a rules change:

    1. propose new rules
    2. amend existing rules
    3. repeal (eliminate) existing rules

    Public notices about rulemaking are posted on the Board’s website and are mailed to interested parties who have identified themselves as such to the Board. Rulemaking notices also are available through the Montana Administrative Register at the Montana Secretary of State’s office, where all administrative rules for the state are housed. The Secretary of State’s website for administrative rules is www.mtrules.org. You can use that website to view rules and subscribe to the Montana Administrative Register, among other things.

    If the Board wishes to undertake a rules change, it first must post a Notice of Proposed Amendment/Adoption/Repeal, or Proposal Notice. This notice will show the existing rule language and note text to be deleted as stricken and new text as underlined. The Board is not allowed to simply show the amended rule in its final form.

    Then, following a public comment period, which usually includes a public rules hearing held by the Department, the Board must post a Notice of Adoption that notes the Board’s responses to public comments and includes any changes to the original proposal, using the same stricken and underlined format.

    2. How can I express my opinion about a rule change?
    Each Proposal Notice must contain information about how to submit a comment on the rules change proposal. In addition, a public hearing is held at the Business Standards Division where individuals can make oral presentations and submit written comment.   
    Written comments are accepted in any form until a deadline date established in the Notice.

    All public comments are presented to the Board at a public meeting, at which time the Board responds to the substance of all comments received.

    3. How will I know when a new or amended rule is in effect?
    Once the Board votes to adopt a rules change, the Notice of Adoption is prepared and filed with the Secretary of State. The rule changes are effective the day after the final Notice of Adoption is published by the Secretary of State, unless an alternative effective date is provided specifically by statute or stated in a rule.  At that point, the rule is in place and enforceable. This also is when the Notice of Adoption is posted on the Board website and sent to licensees and interested parties. 

    4. When can I see the actual new rule(s) in new, amended form?
    Not until the Secretary of State updates and publishes the ARM (Administrative Rules of Montana) with the amended rule(s) on its website and in hard copy. The SoS published rule changes quarterly but, because of the volume of work at the SoS and the nature of the rule publishing calendar, it may be several months between the Board’s adoption of new rules and their publication on the web.

    Until that point, the only way to assess any new rule is to compare the former version with the Notice of Proposal and Notice of Adoption. Board members, Board staff and other Department of Labor and Industry employees are prohibited from providing the public with a “clean” and official version of the new rule and must, instead, refer individuals to the Secretary of State website and the rule notices. 

    5. Can I be held accountable for violating a new rule before it’s available in its final form?
    Yes. Once the Notice of Adoption has been published by the Secretary of State, the rule is enforceable, even though it is not yet published in its final form in the ARM.

    6. Let’s say there’s a new or amended rule that’s critical to my practice as a professional. If I must follow it—or hold others accountable to it—but it’s not yet published on the Secretary of State’s website, can I take the rule notices and make my own “clean” version of the amended rule and rely on that until the official version is published?
    The Board understands that licensees or other interested parties may be keenly interested in the final language of a new rule for multiple reasons, including their desire to comply with it or hold others to it. And while it discourages individuals from creating their own unofficial “clean copies” from the parts provided by existing rules and rule notices, it cannot prohibit individuals from doing so.

    Just be aware that no rule is truly “official” unless it is published by the Secretary of State. It is possible, if unlikely, that a rule might undergo a change during SoS review to correct typographical errors or resolve small deviations from standard rulemaking structure and language. Nobody should rely on an unofficial rule or distribute it to others.

    NOTE: Board members and Department employees may not distribute any unofficial versions of rules to the public and must—emphasize MUST—refer the public to the Secretary of State website for the official versions of rules.

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