Steam Engineer & Boiler Operator Licensing

Refresher training courses are not available during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, refresher training that was due in 2020 and is due in 2021 will be pushed out to 2022. Licensees who were due for refresher training in 2020 and 2021 will be due again in 2025 and 2026, respectively.

What Is It?

A steam engineer and boiler operator license allows you to operate a boiler or steam engine.

When you get your license, remember that:

  • You must renew your license each year. You can renew and pay for trade licenses online.
  • You have up to one year after your license expires to renew your license. After one year you will need to retake the exam to reinstate your license.
  • You must obtain your license within 90 days of passing the test.
  • You need to show proof of completing an approved boiler "refresher course" once every 5 years. Your refresher course due dates are listed on license renewal forms every year. You may also check boiler operator records online.

How Much Does it Cost?

For licensing and exam fees, see our fee subtitle.

The Exam

Our written exam helps make sure you know how to safely operate boilers and steam engines. Grades I, II, and III boiler operators and supervisors also must take an oral exam. Our examiners will determine the license for which you are qualified. To pass the exam, you must get a 70% or better, and be able to:

  • Explain what all controls do on a typical boiler and/or steam engine
  • Demonstrate you can properly react to an emergency, such as a low or high water condition
  • Blow down a boiler in a safe manner
  • Explain how to start, stop, and put a boiler and/or engine on line in a safe manner
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of the steam engineer and boiler fireman license law

Tip: You have up to 90 days after passing your exam for the first time to pay for your license. If you don’t pay within 90 days, you will have to be retested and you will have to pay the testing fee again.

If you need help in your native language to complete the exam, you can bring an interpreter or translation device with you.

Training & Classes

You can get training to prepare you for your exam through the following approved locations.

Steps to Get Your License

  1. Read the law and learn the requirements for prequalification.
  2. Review the trade license requirements in the code.
  3. Submit an application, school certification of completion, and an affidavit. To ensure accuracy of our records, we encourage you to submit your application through the Seattle Services portal. If you are unable to apply online, download the application below and mail it to ATTN: Trade Licensing Program.
  4. Schedule and complete a written exam, and an oral exam for grades I, II, and III boiler operators and supervisors. Please notify us no less than two business days if you're unable to meet your scheduled exam appointment.
  5. Pay for your license.

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