Engineering Licensing Compliance Guide

Engineering Licensing Compliance

Geology Firm Licensing

A Plan for Compliance: The map below illustrates nationwide licensing requirements for geology firms.

Click on a state to read about detailed license requirements in that state.
41 States (and D.C.) Do Not Require Firm Licensure
9 States Require Firm Licensure

Overview of Geology Firm Licensing Requirements

Before providing geologic services in a state, firms are required to meet a number of licensing and registration requirements. Although relatively few states issue geology licenses to firms, business entities offering geologic services may be subject to ownership and individual licensing requirements.

In states where a firm license is required, firms must typically designate an employee as the geologist in responsible charge of all geological activities. The geologist in charge is generally required to have an active professional geologist license in the state where the firm license is being issued.

License application requirements vary by state, but many applications ask for:

  • Business entity information
  • A list of officers or owners of the firm
  • Geologist-in-charge information
  • A certificate of authority (if a foreign entity)
  • A certificate of good standing from the secretary of state
  • Application fees

Firms operating in more than one location within the same state will likely also need to provide geologist-in-charge and contact information for each of their branch office locations. In some states, each branch office must obtain its own firm registration or license.

Entities that offer engineering or land surveying services in addition to geologic services will typically need a separate license for each professional service they provide. A few states do, however, issue design firm licenses that cover a multitude of engineering disciplines, as well as architecture and land surveying, under a single license.

Multi-State Licensure

Geology firms pursuing projects outside of their home state should expect to have to register with the board of geologists, secretary of state, and sometimes the department of revenue before providing services in a new state. In states with no licensing requirement for businesses, firms should still make sure that they are clear to operate in the jurisdiction under their entity type and that there is a licensed professional geologist in charge of all geology-related services for the firm.

For states with a licensing requirement for firms, the order of the licensing process varies. Some states require firms to foreign qualify their business entity with the secretary of state before applying for a geology firm license, while others give firms the flexibility to complete these registrations in the order they choose.

Firms should also apply for any necessary tax-related registrations before providing geologic services in a state. Corporate income tax, withholding tax, and unemployment insurance tax registrations are commonly required when doing business in a new state.

Maintaining Compliance

After licenses and registrations are obtained, firms must file renewals to remain in good standing. Geology firm licenses renew on an annual or biennial basis in every state except for New York, which requires firms to renew their license every three years. Along with license renewal, firms may also need to submit annual reports to maintain their entity registration with the secretary of state.

In addition to these structured renewal events, firms must also report address, contact information, qualifying individual, and ownership changes as they occur. States typically require these types of changes to be reported within 10 or 20 days of their occurrence.

Firms should also track continuing education requirements to ensure that their qualifying individuals meet their individual license renewal requirements. Geologists in charge who fail to meet renewal requirements will jeopardize the good standing of the firm license.

A loss of good standing with the board of geologists or secretary of state typically results in the payment of penalty fees to reinstate, and registrations left delinquent for long enough can become dissolved entirely. Maintaining compliance in these areas is the key to avoiding unnecessary penalties and preventing costly delays caused by delinquent registrations.

Keeping up with each state’s requirements, tracking renewals, and submitting the applications on time are critical to avoiding penalties. Our compliance software and services can help you keep track of varying jurisdiction requirements and relevant updates to state laws.

50-State Chart of Geology Firm License Requirements

Alabama

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Not required

Alaska

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Not required

Arizona

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Agency

Arizona State Board of Technical Registration

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Form:

Annual Firm Registration (Renewal)

Due:

Annually by the initial registration anniversary date.

Arkansas

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California

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Not required

Colorado

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Not required

Connecticut

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Not required

Delaware

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Not required

District of Columbia

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Not required

Florida

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Agency

Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation: Board of Professional Geologists

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$350

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

By July 31 of even-numbered years.

Georgia

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Not required

Hawaii

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Not required

Idaho

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Not required

Illinois

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Not required

Indiana

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Not required

Iowa

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Not required

Kansas

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Agency

Kansas State Board of Technical Professions

License Renewal

Fee:

$95

Form:

Business Entity Renewal Form

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Due:

Business entities with names beginning with A-L renew by December 31 in even numbered years; M-Z renew by December 31 in odd numbered years.

Kentucky

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Not required

Louisiana

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Not required

Maine

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Not required

Maryland

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Not required

Massachusetts

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Not required

Michigan

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Not required

Minnesota

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Agency

Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$25

Form:

Professional Firm Registration Renewal

Due:

Annually by December 31.

Mississippi

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Not required

Missouri

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Not required

Montana

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Not required

Nebraska

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Agency

Nebraska Board of Geologists

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$100

Form:

Renewal form is mailed to the firm 30-60 days before the renewal is due.

Filing Method:

Mail

Due:

Biennially by the date of issuance.

Nevada

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Not required

New Hampshire

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Not required

New Jersey

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Not required

New Mexico

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Not required

New York

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Agency

New York State Education Department - Office of the Professions - State Board for Engineering, Land Surveying, and Geology

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$75

Form:

Renewal applications are sent in the mail.

Due:

Triennially

North Carolina

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Agency

North Carolina Board for the Licensing of Geologists

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$25

Form:

Renewal Form

Due:

Annually by June 30.

North Dakota

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Not required

Ohio

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Not required

Oklahoma

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Not required

Oregon

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Pennsylvania

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Not required

Rhode Island

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Not required

South Carolina

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South Dakota

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Not required

Tennessee

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Not required

Texas

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Agency

Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$300

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

Annually

Utah

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Not required

Vermont

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Not required

Virginia

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Not required

Washington

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Not required

West Virginia

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Not required

Wisconsin

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Agency

Wisconsin Examining Board of Professional Geologists, Hydrologists and Soil Scientists

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$56

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

By July 31 of even-numbered years.

Wyoming

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More Info

Not required

Design Firm - Engineering firm registration is sometimes grouped with architecture and land surveying on a single “design firm” application form.

EI (Engineering Intern) - A term also used to describe an Engineer in Training.

EIT (Engineer in Training) - A professional designation granted upon having completed at least 3 years of school at an ABET-accredited university and having passed the FE exam.

FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) - An exam testing on basic engineering principles that is required to become an engineer in training.

PE (Professional Engineer or 'Principles and Practice in Engineering') - Means either Professional Engineer or refers to the Principles and Practice in Engineering exam that is a prerequisite for an engineering license.

Reciprocity - When a licensed engineer in one state can provide documentation (often an NCEES Record) to more easily apply for a license in another jurisdiction.

Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
Accrediting board that sets standards for university programs in a variety of applied science disciplines.

American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
Engineering, architecture, and land surveying advocacy group.

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Organization that provides continuing education, professional conferences, and advocacy efforts to the civil engineering community.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Mechanical engineering organization that focuses on education and professional development.

Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)
Reviews accreditation requirements and makes final decisions regarding the accreditation process.

National Council of Examiners for Engineering & Surveying (NCEES)
Develops, administers, and scores the exams used for engineering licenses.

National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
NSPE is an advocacy group for professional engineers.

A Better Way to Achieve Compliance

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