National Association of Stationary Operating Engineers License License: General Info
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Licensure: General InformationNASOE

Professional licensing of operators is a well recognized established practice for over a century to develop competency in the profession and trade while maintaining core knowledge.

Have a general question, then please select one of the links to develop a better understanding of licensing and some of the processes that are not easily understood. Should you need further clarification then contact us.


Agency Status to Process Your License and Renewals

What is an Agency? An Agency does not examine or grade a test taker or an examinee, for only National and the exam taker have privilege to see the exams. The Agency examines applications, renewals and documents all the while promoting licensing and process license applications as well as assist National.

In general, an Agency is determined based on criteria including the organizations commitment to licensure, abilities to maintain a social network, while committed to promoting licensure.

An Agency does not have to be an Accredited School or Accredited College. It can be a small business to a large organization.

There are three-types of agencies: 1) Students-Only Agency, 2) Enterprise Agency, and Jurisdictional Agency. The differences are a Students-Only means only students of the educational institution can belong to that agency, where as a Enterprise Agency has full privileges, and a Jurisdictional Agency is a vetted Test Center to host examinations.

License applications are available from Agencies and Accredited Schools. Applications can be found at here --> Applications.


Accreditation of a School or College

What is an Accredited School or College? These are schools provide training using National's strict protocols for educational and industrial training programs, course content, technical competency, and use only Certified Instructors.

To be accredited requires an application, and a site visit with fees.

Accredited school has an advantage of full-filling continuing educational requirements to the benefit of the license-holder.


Continuing Educational Requirements

What is required for Continuing Education? To maintain your core competency National requires continuing educational contact-hours (CEH) or (PHD) in-between renewals. Below is a proposed contact-hour schedule. Educational Contact hours are time spent in-front of the Presenter or lecturer. Presenters, lecturers, instructors, trainers can be from an accredited institution, a school, or corporation, seminar or a manufacturer's technical representative presentation or your employer, but the topics must be applicable to the a license they hold.

I highly recommend writing exam questions for the NATIONAL to anyone not only interested in an alternative to maintain their CEH's, but also to help keep field knowledge up to date in one's mind. While challenging, writing such questions is a rewardable experience and extremely helpful for operators who wish to stay at the forefront of a constantly advancing field. Matt G., IL

The purpose of Continuing Educational Contact Hours (CEH) or (PDH) is to edify knowledge and minimize the effects of cognitive decay. Cognitive decay occurs when a person stops learning. Consequently, they have a tendency not to remember the WHY or WHEN that may foster further decline. Therefore, re-learning what they think they know edifies. They benefit personally and professionally.

Presently, National will accept Webinars from:

    2. TCP Training
    9. Energy-Tech University (Magazine Sponsored)
    10. (search using term: steam, or...)
    11. Your Employer: Qualification Training, Related Safety Training,...
    12. Volunteers that belong to the EXAM WRITERS GUILD are exempt from CEH. To volunteer then contact us that you want to volunteer.

Not all Presentations, lectures, training, webinars or seminars are equal; therefore, Continuing Education Certificates will be categorized as Approved (Accredited by National) or Non-Approved (Non-Accredited by National). Non-Approved Continuing Educational Hours will be accepted including your employers training. They are divided in two (2) groups:

    1. Non-Accredited Continuing Education, or
    2. Approved (Accredited) Continuing Education*
License Program Accredited CEH's Non-Accredited** CEH's
Stationary HP Steam Engineer
Stm T/G Power Endorsement
Power Engineer
Combined Cycle with CT
Gas Turbine (Simple Cycle)
Chiller Engineer
HTHW Engineer
Low-Pressure Boiler Engineer
Combustion Specialists

*Technology, Technical and Engineering College Course count as contact hours with proof of of attendance in course by college transcript; **Mandatory non-accredited contact hours in 2020; *** Either license specific or instructional based.

Accredited Programs are Agencies with a gold seal and they can be found at

1.) Enrolled Students at an Accredited College
2.) Retirees
3.) Professional Engineers
4.) Honorary Life-Time Licenses
5.) Educational Instructors (Full and Part Time
6.) Exam Writers Guild Members
7.) Active Duty Military

If you hold more than one-license then you must have accumulated enough hours for those licenses. Your continuing educational hours must be applicable to your license and there over-lapping applications. Here is an example:

License-holder has a 3rd Class Stationary High-Pressure Steam Engineer's license, which requires 4-hrs per year, and a 2nd Class Chiller license, which requires 3-hrs per year; therefore, the licenseholder only needs 4-CEHs.

What Must a Continuing Education (CEH's) for Contact Hours have on the certificate:

  1. Sponsor or Issuing Authority,
  2. Name of Instructor or Speaker,
  3. Date of the Contact-Hours,
  4. Number of Contact-Hours, and
  5. Title

National's records and tracks all continuing educational contact hours to keep your license certificate in good standing and current. Your continuing education hours are record on your certificate in the lower left-hand corner.


Examination Sites

Where can you take an Examination? Location of every examination site is determined by National. As a rule National uses (NTCA) National College Testing Association for Testing Centers in North America. NTCA has accredited testing centers and nonaccredited test centers, with this said, not all Universities or College Testing Centers will accept independent agencies like National.

Military exam sites have not been considered.

All of National's Agencies (Student Only and Enterprise) must host exams and are vetted. However, National does not permit exam takers to be proctored by their Instructor or Professor. This prevents exam questions from being compromised and stops the practice of teaching to the exam.

In some cases the test centers (exam sites) are about a one (1) hour drive from the exam taker. However, on average drive time will be under two-hours. In metropolitan areas test centers are difficult to vet for staffing at these test centers generally fail to follow instructions; therefore, test centers are generally chosen around the outskirts of the metropolitan area. In rural or mountainous regions the drive time or transportation time maybe up to three (3) hours drive.

All exams are secure and traceable by methods similar to a change of custody.

An exam is nullified when the examinee does not follow instructions at the Test Center.

National reserves the right to revoke any test center.

Exam fees are based on test center fees, exam packet shipping fees, preparing exam packet, and scoring the exam.



Who makes up the questions on the exams? Exam questions are made up by knowledgable be industry and educational experts as well as from the Commission of Examiners. The question must be derived from the reference material listed to study from.

Questions are measured for effectiveness and appropriateness for the desired license exam by using indices that are available to the accredited colleges and school to measure their lessons to question verses students effectiveness.

No exam is alike. The exams are similar to SAT exam in this manner.

Veterans: Veterans receive a credit of 7-points on their exam. Documentation needed for credit is a copy of your DD214.


Master Chief

A Master Chief must hold at least one-chief’s designation as well as hold another first-class license. The exception is the first-class low-pressure boiler license. Finally, a Master Chief must have an Technical Instructor Certificate/Endorsement.

A Master Chief is eligible for a Lifetime License as an honorary license that is achieved by the license-holder's advancement in promoting professional licensure by exhibiting good Leadership through education, training, knowledge and experience in our fields with consistency and dedicated to the efforts of National’s licensure programming. Master Chief Lifetime Licensure is exempt from Continuing Educational Contact Hour requirements.


Fees: Application, Examination, License, Late Fee, Dropped Fee

What Kind of Fees Are Involved? First, there are standardized Application and Exam Fees. Application fees are just as it implies, a one-time fee: a fee associated with assessment and administrative work.

Exam Fees pay for the testing site, proctor, and courier expenses (security of exams). Exam fee are not refundable regardless of the circumstances, so keep your appointment at the test site, and the examinee must take the exam within a short period of time; otherwise, the exam is returned and the exam fee is forfeited.

After a 100-days an Exam can be taken over again, but will require another exam fee.

Once the examinee passes the exam, then a License Fee is required. Licenses intervals are either one (1) year or two (2) years.

Renewal fee is done through your Agency. There is no on-line application or on-line renewal form. Forms are downloadable.

Payments must be made out to your Agency, and not National.


Granting A License Based on Your Jurisdictional Licence

Granting a License? A license from a jurisdiction cannot be readily applied, but will be honored, for not all jurisdictions have equal licensure grades or classes that fit to National's job task orientated classes. However, a jurisdictional license guarantees a license. National will select the a license that best fits the license-holder's experience.

Third-party licenses do not have the same privilege as a jurisdictional license, because of exam site security. However, credit is given to the applicant for holding a third-party license, but an exam will be required.

National does not honor reciprocal licensure.

What is a reciprocal license: A reciprocal license is when an jurisdiction or organization accepts another's license of equal status regardless of experience.


Probationary Licensure

What is Probationary License? A probationary license is a great way to enter the workforce as an operator, or basically a starter license when there is little or no experience, but they must graduated from an accredited school/college program. An exception to the probationary component is the 2nd Class Low-Pressure Boiler Operator which is limited to no greater than 1.7MMBtu per hour input unsupervised, but they still must graduate from an accredited school/college.

Probie restrictions are the Probie must be supervised directly by a license-holder and not hold a watch unsupervised, and they must accumulate time to qualify to write an exam for the class of license they hold; however, since they passed the exam the employer and supervisor must attest their that the Probie has meet the time requirements to be released from the Probie License certificate.

Probie license can be granted in other circumstances such as: 1) Challenge an Exam and Pass, 2) Re-Establish a Dropped License.


Hardships in Maintaining Your License

Got Your Back Program

National supports thoses that are in financial hardship. In recognition of these unfortunate situations, National has a program called 'Got Your Back'.

Our 'Got Your Back Program' is a NO-CHARGE (free) licensure renewal. The program benefits those who are 'out of work' or for justifiable reasons they cannot afford to renew their license such as on active duty pay. We exist to serve you in your profession, not hinder you.


Interested in becoming an Enterprise Agency or Student-Only Agency, or be part of our Exam Witers Guild then contact us.

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