Professional Geologist Licensing
In 32 states, individuals that prepare plans, reports, or documents of a geological nature may be required to obtain a state-issued geologist license. Each state board has its own professional standards for engineering licenses.
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- Additional Requirements
- Initial Application Fees
- Reciprocal Registration
- Renewal Requirements
Explore licensing in your state:
While each state board for geologists has its own requirements for licensure, potential licensees will follow a similar path of prerequisites to obtain a license in any state. Prerequisites typically include:
- A bachelor’s or advanced degree in geology or a related geological science from an accredited school.
- Successful completion of the Fundamentals of Geology (FG) or another similar examination.
- Successful completion of the Practice of Geology (PG) or another similar examination.
- A requisite amount of geologic experience, which for most states is five years and is usually under the supervision of a professional geologist.
After passing the Fundamentals of Geology exam, most states issue or allow individuals to apply for a geologist-in-training (GIT) certificate. Although in many states GIT certificates are valid perpetually, some states require certificates to be renewed periodically. Click on a state page link below for more information about geologist-in-training certificates in your state.
In addition to the standard licensing requirements mentioned above, some states have requirements that go beyond what is required in other states. Additional requirements often include:
- A reference from licensed engineer
- A duration of internship or training
- Additional experience
- Jurisdiction-specific exams (beyond the FG and PG)
Initial Application Process
After meeting the prerequisites for licensure, applicants can begin the license application process. Depending on the state, applicants may need to file an application with the board prior to taking the FG exam, after passing the FG exam, or both prior to taking and after passing the FG exam.
Like the application process, application fees also vary by state. Some states charge separate fees for exam applications, license applications, and the issuance of the license, while other states charge a single flat fee. In many states, applicants must wait until their license application is approved before submitting the license fee and then receiving their license from the board.
Thanks to reciprocity, geologists who perform services in more than one jurisdiction can apply for additional licenses using a streamlined process. Most states allow for reciprocal registration as long as the jurisdiction that issued the original license has substantially similar licensing requirements for geologists. While the majority of states require only proof of education, experience, and passage of exams for reciprocity, some states may require applicants to obtain more experience or to pass additional exams before a license is issued.
Professional geologist licenses typically need to be renewed on an annual or biennial basis. In addition to filing a renewal application and paying the license renewal fee, geologists in many states must complete continuing education hours before renewing their license. While not every state requires geologists to meet a continuing education requirement, those that do usually require between 24 and 30 hours per biennial license period.
Keeping up with each state’s requirements, tracking renewals, and submitting the applications on time is critical to avoiding penalties. A dedicated compliance expert can help you keep track of varying jurisdiction requirements and updated laws.
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.