Steam Engineer & Boiler Operator Licensing

Refresher that were due in 2020–2023 have been extended until September 30, 2024.

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 online 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 license application, school certificate of completion, and/or an affidavit through the Seattle Services Portal. 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. Once your application is approved, SDCI will send you an email with a link and instructions for how to take an online written exam. Complete the exam.
  5. After you have completed the written exam, contact SDCI at (206) 684-5174 or to schedule an oral exam for grades I, II, and III Steam Engineers and Boiler Supervisors. If you cannot attend your scheduled oral exam appointment, please notify us at least two business days before your appointment.  
  6. Pay for your license.

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Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.