TBPE Logo Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions
Regarding the Criminal History Record Check

Basic Questions
Fees
Out of State
New Applicants
PE Renewals
Exceptions
Results

Basic Questions

Who is required to have a Criminal History Record Check?

All new applicants and all active license holders.


I am in Texas, how do I get my fingerprint check performed?

The requirement for submitting fingerprints for the criminal history record check is the same for all applicants and licensees. Inside of Texas, the process involves electronic submittal of fingerprints to MorphoTrust USA at one of its Texas locations. Obtain your FAST form and instructions here: http://engineers.texas.gov/recordcheck.


I had a criminal background check performed recently for other purposes (Concealed Handgun License, other state licenses, security clearance, etc. ) Can I have that information submitted for the professional engineer license application/license renewal?

No. All criminal history record checks are considered to be separate to meet specific statutory requirements. There is a specific code set up for the TBPE which must be used for fingerprint submission. For security reasons, requesting agencies are prohibited by law from sharing this information with each other. If you had your fingerprints done for any other reason, you will need to have them re-done using the TBPE code.


I've already had my criminal background check performed by MorphoTrust for another type of license. Do I need to have it done again?

Yes. There is a specific code set up for the TBPE which must be used for fingerprint submission. For security reasons, requesting agencies are prohibited by law from sharing this information with each other. If you had your fingerprints done for any other reason, you will need to have them re-done using the TBPE code.


I had my fingerprints done and I got a notice from MorphoTrust that they were rejected. What does that mean and will I be able to renew my PE license?

When fingerprints are processed by MorphoTrust, they could be rejected by either DPS or FBI for various reasons. Please follow the MorphoTrust instructions to have the fingerprints re-done. A rejected set of fingerprints will not hold up the renewal of your license. You will be allowed to renew even if the fingerprints are rejected. If you submit a second set and both are rejected, you don't have to do more. We are allowed to request a name-based search after that. Why are engineers being asked to get a criminal history record check?


When do I need to submit fingerprints to get my criminal history record check performed?

Fingerprints must be submitted to MorphoTrust USA for the criminal history record check prior to application for a new license or prior to renewal of an existing active license. Get it done as soon as possible. It takes time to schedule the appointment and to process the fingerprint cards for out of state engineers and applicants.


What other professions are required to have a criminal history record check?

According to the February 2012 Sunset report to the Texas Legislature, at least 51 other state agencies in Texas use fingerprint-based criminal history record checks including those that regulate attorneys, dentists, insurance professionals, accountants, nurses, realtors, and physicians.


Didn't you previously do some kind of background checks?

Yes. TBPE has performed a different type of criminal background check through the Texas Department of Public Safety on new applicants based only on name and date of birth. The information available to TBPE was only for incidents that occurred in Texas. This new process provides information for incidents in all states, providing a more thorough and equitable search for Texas residents as well as out-of-state applicants and PEs.


What are the security requirements for the CHRC?

All data collected by the CHRC is required to be secure. The CHRC system is administered through DPS, and its vendor, MorphoTrust. There is a contract agreement between these organizations, which requires the implementation of the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy put in place by the Department of Justice and the FBI. More information can be found here: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/pages/applicantfingerprintservices.htm.


 

Return to Top of Page

 


Fees

How much does the criminal history record check cost?

The fee for the required criminal history record check is $37 to be paid directly to MorphoTrust USA by the applicant or licensee at the time of submission. You will not pay the fee to TBPE. This is paid by the applicant or PE and is separate from your application fee or your renewal fee.


How do I submit my fingerprints? Who do I pay?

The collection and submission of fingerprints will be handled by a third-party vendor (MorphoTrust USA) under contract with the Texas Department of Public Safety, not by TBPE or any TBPE vendor. Payment for the service will be made directly to the vendor. TBPE will not collect any payment for the fingerprinting service.


 

 


Out of State

I am from out of state/out of the country, how do I get my fingerprint check performed? What options do I have?

The requirement for submitting fingerprints for the criminal history record check is the same for all applicants and licensees. Outside of Texas, the process involves submitting fingerprints to MorphoTrust USA using a standard ink card called the FD-258. The ink cards will be obtained from local law enforcement agencies and when completed, will be mailed to MorphoTrust USA for processing. Obtain your FAST form and instructions here: http://engineers.texas.gov/fastout.

If you are unable to obtain the FD-258 fingerprint card from a local law enforcement agency, contact the TBPE at Licensing@engineers.texas.gov and request a copy to be mailed to you. If you are not currently practicing in Texas, you want to consider putting it into Inactive status. You can do so in the ECHO system on our website. You will be required to obtain a Criminal History Records Check, including fingerprint submittal when you apply to reactivate an inactive license.
NOTE: Changing to inactive status means a PE may not offer or practice engineering in Texas.


 

Return to Top of Page

 


New Applicants

I'm applying for a license. What happens if I do not get my criminal history record check performed? Will my application be denied? Will I lose the $80 application fee?

Criminal history record checks are required for all new applications after January 1, 2014. If  fingerprints are not submitted to the Texas Department of Public Safety through its vendor, MorphoTrust USA, for a criminal history record check, the application will not be processed. If an application is submitted and the fingerprint submittal is not done, the application will be denied. License application fees are not refundable.


I had my Criminal History Record check done. How do I submit proof?

Keep a copy of the Tracking Control Number (TCN) and receipts given by MorphoTrust USA and the Texas Department of Public Safety for your records. Provide that information on the application as proof that you satisfied the requirement, if necessary.


Do I have to wait to the results back before I can apply for a license?

No. TBPE will get a report from MorphoTrust USA and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) that the fingerprints were submitted as well as the results of the record check. Keep a copy of the Tracking Control Number (TCN) and receipts given by MorphoTrust USA and the Texas Department of Public Safety for your records. Provide that information on the application as proof that you satisfied the requirement, if necessary.


I do not want to have criminal history record check performed for my application. I want my money back for the application fee. How do I get a refund?

Application fees are not refundable. Criminal history record checks are required for all applications, so if you do not want to do one, you cannot apply for a PE license in Texas.


 

Return to Top of Page

 


PE License Renewals

I'm renewing my PE license. What happens if I do not get my criminal history record check performed?  Will my renewal be rejected?  Will I lose my renewal payment?

Criminal history record checks are required for the first renewal of any active license after January 1, 2014. If fingerprints are not submitted to the Texas Department of Public Safety through its vendor, MorphoTrust USA, for a criminal history record check, the renewal will not be processed. If the renewal payment is submitted, but the fingerprints are not submitted, the payment will be rejected and the license will not be renewed.


Do I have to wait to the results back before I can apply for a license or before I renew?

No. TBPE will get a report from MorphoTrust USA and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) that the fingerprints were submitted as well as the results of the record check. Keep a copy of the Tracking Control Number (TCN) and receipts given by MorphoTrust USA and the Texas Department of Public Safety for your records. Provide that information at the time of renewal as proof that you satisfied the requirement, if necessary.


I had my Criminal History Record check done. How do I submit proof?

Keep a copy of the Tracking Control Number (TCN) and receipts given by MorphoTrust USA and the Texas Department of Public Safety for your records. Provide that information on the application or renewal form as proof that you satisfied the requirement, if necessary.


I went to MorphoTrust USA and submitted my fingerprints, but they did not give me any documentation to submit with my application. What do I do now?

Contact MorphoTrust USA as soon as possible. You need documentation of fingerprint submission (the Tracking Control Number)to complete your application or your renewal.


This is my first renewal. Do I have to get a criminal history record check performed?

Yes, if you did not have a fingerprint-based criminal history record check during your application process you will need to have one done for your license renewal. You only have to submit fingerprints for the criminal history record check for your engineering license one time.


Will I have to get a criminal history record check for my renewal EVERY year?

No. You only have to submit fingerprints for the criminal history record check for your engineering license one time.


 

Return to Top of Page

 


Exceptions to the Requirement

If I put my license into Inactive status, am I required to submit fingerprints?

No. A renewal of a license in Inactive status does not require fingerprint submission. If your license is in Active status, but you want to put it into Inactive status, you can do so in the ECHO system on our website. You will be required to obtain a Criminal History Records Check, including fingerprint submittal when you apply to reactivate an inactive license. NOTE: Changing to inactive status means a PE may not offer or practice engineering in Texas.


I am retired/over 65/disabled. Do I have to have criminal history record check performed? Is there an exemption from the criminal history record check fee if I am retired/over 65/disabled?

Inactive status is the only exemption from the criminal history record check requirement. There are no other exemptions.


I do not want to have a criminal history record check for my renewal. I want to go inactive/drop my license. How do I do that?

If you are not practicing engineering and do not wish to renew the license in Active status, you may put it into Inactive status. The fingerprint submission would not be required until you reactivate the license later. The easiest way to put a license into Inactive status is in the ECHO system on our website.
NOTE: Changing to inactive status means a PE may not practice or offer to practice engineering in Texas.


I am a volunteer fireman / I am in the National Guard / I am in the military / I am in the military reserves / I have a security clearance. Do I need to have the criminal history record check performed?

Yes. All active license holders are required to have a criminal history record check. There are no other exemptions.


I have an engineering firm in Texas. Do all staff need to have criminal history record check including technicians, scientists, geologists, etc. or just the engineers? Why or why not?

The changes to the Engineering Practice Act apply only to the engineering profession. All other professionals must comply with their particular licensing laws and requirements.


I had a criminal background check performed recently for other purposes (Concealed Handgun License, other state licenses, security clearance, etc. ) Can I have that information submitted for the professional engineer license application/license renewal?

No. All criminal history record checks are considered to be separate to meet specific statutory requirements. There is a specific code set up for the TBPE which must be used for fingerprint submission. For security reasons, requesting agencies are prohibited by law from sharing this information with each other. Even if you had your fingerprints done for any other reason, you will need to have them re-done using the TBPE code.


I just got my Texas professional engineer license within the last few years and I understand that a Texas Department of Public Safety background check was performed for my application. Do I have to get the new criminal history record check performed?

Yes. This criminal history record check is required regardless of any previous background checks performed.


 

Return to Top of Page

 


Results

Q: How do I get a copy of the criminal history records check report that TBPE gets from DPS?

A: There's actually no physical or paper report received by TBPE. Our staff has access to the DPS system to review an electronic version of the existing records. TBPE does not receive a paper report of criminal history records for licensees or applicants, nor can we print one out. We only download and maintain the date that the fingerprinting was performed. This is done for data security and privacy reasons. You have the option of obtaining a copy of your Texas record for an additional fee ($25) by requesting it during the MorphoTrust registration process. Please be aware that this report does not include records from outside of Texas and you will not be able to request a copy at the fingerprinting location. If you decide to request the report later, you may be required to submit a separate set of fingerprints. Please contact MorphoTrust directly for more information on how to receive a copy of your records. For information on receiving a copy of federal records, please see this webpage: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks (requires an additional fee).


Q: If results are found, when will I be notified?

A: The CHRC results are reviewed by the Compliance & Enforcement Division within 45 days of fingerprint completion. As determined by the Criminal History Policy for Licensees each licensee will be notified within 10 days of that review if an inquiry is opened to gather additional information.


Q: Will I get a notification that my CHRC is complete?

A: Yes, TBPE will send out emails every 2 weeks to engineers letting them know that their CHRC requirement has been met. Additionally, when a P.E. license is up for renewal, additional email updates will be sent.


Q: I had my fingerprints done and I got a notice from MorphoTrust that they were rejected. What does that mean and will I be able to renew my PE license?

A: When fingerprints are processed by MorphoTrust, they could be rejected by either DPS or FBI for various reasons. Please follow the MorphoTrust instructions to have the fingerprints re-done. A rejected set of fingerprints will not hold up the renewal of your license. You will be allowed to renew even if the fingerprints are rejected. If you submit a second set and both are rejected, you don't have to do more. We are allowed to request a name-based search after that. Why are engineers being asked to get a criminal history record check?


Who keeps the fingerprints? Will they be public information?

The collection and submission of fingerprints will be handled by a third-party vendor (MorphoTrust USA) under contract with the Texas Department of Public Safety, not by TBPE or any TBPE vendor. TBPE will not receive or keep any fingerprints in our records. Information regarding criminal records may be kept in agency records, as necessary.


What happens if the criminal history record check shows a criminal incident or violation? Will my application be denied? Will my license renewal be denied?

• Under current TBPE policy, applicants for licensure with criminal backgrounds are required to submit additional documentation and may be required to make a personal appearance with the Licensing Committee prior to approval depending on the type of incident and the time elapsed since it occurred.

• License renewals will be processed after the fingerprints are submitted. Criminal incidents found as part of the criminal history record check will be considered in accordance with rule 139.43 and be handled by the TBPE Compliance & Enforcement Division.

 

Resources

Disciplinary Actions
Download Forms
Exam Information
Fees
Law and Board Rules
NCEES
Outreach Scheduling
PE/EIT Address Changes
Policy Advisories
Public Information Requests