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Here is the link to the current CA PE Exam application:

http://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/pubs/forms/ceapp.pdf

Page 2, which is the list of engagements/references, states:

For each engagement claimed as qualifying experience, list the name of the person who will serve as your reference. Individuals serving as references must be licensed as Professional Engineers in California in the discipline of licensure for which you are applying or legally exempt from licensure. Individuals serving as references must have been appropriately licensed, or exempt from licensure, during the period of the engagement. YOU MUST LIST A MINIMUM OF FOUR REFERENCES. At least one of the applicants licensed references must be from someone who is or was in a supervisory capacity over the applicant, for each engagement for which the applicant desires credit. References must be from individual legally authorized to practice civil engineering in the state or country where the projects are located.

This statement is very confusing. First it says:

Individuals serving as references must be licensed as Professional Engineers in California in the discipline of licensure for which you are applying or legally exempt from licensure.

Then later on it says:

References must be from individual legally authorized to practice civil engineering in the state or country where the projects are located.

So, which is it: do the references have to be CA PE's, or not? Can someone tell me for sure?

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The California FAQ (see page 41 of the PDF) does a better job of explaining this.

In general, civil engineer applicants are required to provide references from licensed civil engineers or from persons otherwise authorized to practice civil engineering. ... [A]ll civil engineer applicants verifying California work experience must provide references from persons who are licensed as civil engineers in California. ... If a civil engineer applicant has had qualifying work experience outside of the United States, the references for that experience must be from persons authorized to practice civil engineering in accordance with the laws of the country in which the experience took place. ... For civil engineering work experience which was gained in California or any other place where such work is required to be under the jurisdiction of a licensed civil engineer, at least one of the applicants licensed references must be from someone who is or was in a supervisory capacity over the applicant, for each engagement for which the applicant desires credit.

Also on the instruction form for the Reference Form:

For work in California, references must be California Civil Engineers. For work out of state/country, references must be licensed in that state/country.

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  • $\begingroup$ Any idea why the application specifically says references must be licensed as a civil engineer in CA..? $\endgroup$ – Rick supports Monica Apr 30 '15 at 2:33
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    $\begingroup$ @rickteachey My guess would be that it assumes that most people applying for the exam are located in California and have California experience. $\endgroup$ – hazzey Apr 30 '15 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ I suppose that would make sense, but it is still really confusing for us non Californians. $\endgroup$ – Rick supports Monica Apr 30 '15 at 11:53
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As it turns out, I have been approved to sit for the Civil PE exam in California this fall even though none of my references were CA PEs. So I suppose that answers my question.

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As a side note (and to add to the confusion) if you are NOT a civil engineer, you can use any state for your reference, so long as you have at least one California reference. I think that has to do with the seismic activity - since civil engineers deal with it more, they want to make sure your work has been reviewed by someone who has to deal with the seismic code. I happen to have a Mechanical California license - and while some of my references were from California, several were not.

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