3 Easy Steps for Choosing Your PE Stamp: A Buyer’s Guide

A professional engineer (PE) stamp is a symbol of your professional qualifications. It serves as a signature on documents that shows that a licensed engineer has done the following for their public or private clients:

  • Prepared engineering plans and drawings
  • Signed engineering plans and drawings
  • Sealed engineering plans and drawings

Indeed, only a licensed engineer can carry out these activities in addition to submitting plans and drawings to public authorities for approval.

When engineers sign and seal documents, they're taking legal responsibility for them. Affixing a PE stamp means the engineer affirms that:

  • They've completed the design themselves or directly supervised it.
  • They're considered competent (by education or experience) to draw the documents.
  • The documents are correct and engineered to current codes and standards.

For these reasons, PE stamps are required in many states for engineers to sign and seal certain engineering documents. These documents can include plans, drawings, maps, reports, or project requirements.

Remember, PE licenses have expiration dates and must be renewed every year or two. As such, some states, like Nevada, require that PE stamps indicate an engineer’s license expiration date.

Additionally, a considerable number of states, like Alabama, Delaware, and Idaho, require engineers to take continuing education courses to keep their PE license current.

After you pass the PE exam and are licensed in your state, you can purchase your PE stamp. The size and type of PE stamp you’ll need will depend on your state.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right PE stamp:

1 - Determine the Size of PE Stamp You Need

variety of Trodat Printy and Professional stamps
Source: Unsplash

Just as states have laws that regulate the practice of engineering, they also have a say in the size of the PE stamp their engineers can use.

Usually, PE stamp sizes range from 1 1/2” to 2” in diameter. For instance, the California PE Stamp cannot be less than 1 1/2” in diameter. Meanwhile, the Maryland Professional Engineer Stamp is 1 5/8” in diameter, as per the specifications dictated by the Maryland Board for Professional Engineers.

If you want a PE stamp right now, you can choose a professional engineer stamp and seal that exactly fits your state’s requirements. But if you’d like to see the different PE stamp size requirements per state across the country, the table below provides a summary.

PE Stamp Size (Diameter) State
1 1/2” Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, Vermont
1 9/16” Idaho, New Hampshire
1 5/8” Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin
1 3/4" District of Columbia, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wyoming
1 7/8” Florida
2” Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia

While the PE stamps in the table above are circular, there are two states that require rectangular and square stamps.

The Minnesota PE stamp is rectangular, with its length by width dimensions measuring 2” by 1.5”. Meanwhile, the Rhode Island PE stamp is square with sides that measure 1 15/16”.

2 - Ensure the Required Features Are Present

person applies self-inking stamp on document
Self-inking Stamp

Due to the significance attached to a PE stamp, states are very particular about the details that appear on them. As such, it’s crucial to ensure that your PE stamp meets state board specifications. The requirements for a physical PE stamp typically include:

  • An impression area’s diameter of 1 1/2” to 2”, depending on the state
  • The engineer’s license number and, where applicable, their discipline and firm name
  • A date and signature that’s placed across, beneath, or adjacent to the stamp
  • The name of the state

Some states permit engineers to append digital PE stamps to documents. However, the requirements for these stamps vary across different states. For this reason, it’s paramount to work with professionals, such as Pro Stamps, who are aware of such minor differences.

For instance, the District of Columbia permits the use of a digital stamp provided that it:

  • Contains a unique signature
  • Provides a way to verify the source
  • Is under the sole control of the individual using it
  • Can be invalidated if any data in the document is changed

Meanwhile, Florida allows the use of digitally created seals on electronically transmitted documents. When digital stamps are used, however, the documents must:

  • Include the date of signing and sealing
  • Not include a scanned image of the licensee’s signature
  • Include a statement saying they’ve been electronically signed and sealed
  • State that printed copies of the documents aren’t considered signed and sealed

In Illinois, engineers can opt to use an original signature in their handwriting or a signature that’s generated by a computer. They may also use a scanned copy of their technical submission which bears their original signature.

As demonstrated, states vary slightly in terms of the features they demand on their PE stamps and in the documents bearing them. You want to ensure complete adherence to your state’s engineering board to avoid finding yourself in legal trouble.

3 - Decide What Type of PE Stamp You Need

wood rubber stamp with walnut stained wooden handle
Wood Rubber Stamp

There are several types of stamps available, including self-inking stamps, digital stamps, and traditional wood rubber stamps.

Self-inking PE stamps have an internal stamp pad that gets inked each time you use the stamp. This type of PE stamp is ideal for those who need to use their PE stamp frequently, especially since it’s good for 5,000 impressions.

Self-inking stamps include an ink pad that can be replaced or re-inked for continual use. Additionally, different models are available depending on the stamp’s diameter as shown in the table below.

Self-Inking Stamp Model Stamp Size (Diameter)
Trodat Printy 4642 Stamps less than or equal to 1 5/8”
Trodat Printy 46050 Stamps larger than or equal to 1 5/8”

If you’re more inclined towards specialty inks, traditional wooden handle rubber stamps might just be the thing for you. They come with a separate ink pad which allows you to use different colors of ink for the same stamp.

Wood rubber stamps typically feature natural wood bases and may come with stained wood handles, depending on the vendor. Ultimately, they’re meant to deliver a classic feel while giving you more ink and stamp size options than any other type of stamp.

You can also get your stamp in a digital file format. Digital stamps can come in the following formats:

  • TIF
  • PDF
  • JPG
  • PNG
  • AutoCAD files such as DXF or DWG

You’ll receive a free digital stamp in JPG format from Pro Stamps when you order a wood rubber or a self-inking stamp.

The best part? You’re sent the image in advance so you can confirm your license number and the spelling of your name. This way, Pro Stamps can facilitate in catching any errors or omissions before you receive your physical stamp.

Bonus Tip: Always consider state requirements regarding the type of PE stamp they recognize before ordering. For instance, New Jersey doesn’t permit the use of rubber stamps. It does, however, accept digital and embossed stamps. On the other hand, Hawaii and Guam don’t accept digital or computer-generated dates and signatures.

Choosing the Right PE Stamp Is Important

Choosing the right PE stamp is important because it symbolizes your professional qualifications. Your PE stamp serves as a signature that verifies a licensed engineer has prepared, signed, and sealed a document.

Remember, when you use your PE stamp, you're taking legal responsibility for the documents you stamp.

When professional engineers seal a document, they may use a wet seal (a stamp that uses ink) or an embossing stamp. Whichever option is used, it must be clear and legible.

Therefore, you want a PE stamp that’s not only superior in quality, but that is also state board compliant.

With our accurate and high-quality stamps, as well as continued monitoring of state requirements, we’ve successfully stamped our authority on stamp production. Order your PE Stamp today and enjoy a complimentary digital proof within 24 hours, plus free shipping.