Frequently asked questions: Geologists

Applying for a license

Can I download the application from the Geologist website to my computer, fill it out electronically, and save what I typed?
You can download and save the blank application (in PDF format), fill it out electronically, and print it. However, you cannot save the information to a file on your computer. You can also print a blank application form and fill out the application by writing legibly in black ink or typing your information onto the copy.
May I use another version of the application forms than what you supplied, if the headings are all similar?
You must use the forms provided by the board. You may use additional white sheets of paper to supplement your remarks in certain sections. When doing so, please identify each item by reference to the original form.
Do I need to verify all of my years of experience?
It isn’t necessary to verify all of your years of experience. You only need to verify you meet the minimum experience requirements.
Do continuing education classes qualify as experience in the same way graduate school qualifies?
No, continuing education classes don’t count toward the experience requirements.
Does the board accept the research, teaching, or fieldwork I did in graduate school as qualifying experience?
The years you were in graduate school may be used to meet up to 2 years’ credit towards the experience requirement.
How do I become a geologist-in-training?
You may use the title “geologist-in-training” (GT) if you have met all the educational requirements outlined in WAC 308-15-040(2), and have passed the ASBOG Fundamentals of Geology examination. For the GT, you do not need to meet the experience requirements outlined in WAC 308-15-040(3).
I want to apply for a specialty license. I’ve done hundreds of short-term projects during my career. Do I need to list them all on the List of Projects form?
You must list enough projects to document 5 years or 8,000 hours of project experience for each specialty.
What does the board look for when evaluating educational equivalents?
See Educational Equivalents.
How do I verify my experience if I am self-employed?
You can verify self-employment in a number of ways, including, but not limited to:
  • A copy of your business license.
  • Tax records.
  • Corporate payroll check stubs.
  • A client list that includes names, addresses and telephone numbers.
How can I qualify for the required 3 years of experience under the supervision of a licensed geologist if I didn’t work for a geologist?
We recognize that some geologists have worked under the supervision of non-geologists, so we added language in the rules to allow for this. WAC 308-15-040(3)(b) recognizes experience supervised by “…others who, in the opinion of the Board, are qualified to have responsible charge.” This allows applicants to submit their applications for the board’s review and determination of eligibility.
I can’t locate my previous supervisor, so how will I verify my experience?
We prefer verification from a supervisor, but realize that sometimes verifying experience is difficult because circumstances change. You may verify your experience in one or more of these ways:
  • Ask a qualified former co-worker who has knowledge of your knowledge, skills and abilities, and project history to provide verification.
  • Talk to someone at your previous job, and perhaps find out where your previous supervisor is now.
  • Contact the Personnel Department for your prior employer, which may be able to verify your employment.
  • Provide old tax records or copies of corporate payroll check stubs to verify you were an employee during a given time.
  • Provide résumés or have one of your former colleagues verify your employment
  • There may be other methods as well.
Can I submit my foreign degree transcripts for verification of education?
If you received your degree outside of the United States or Canada, your transcripts must undergo a course-by-course evaluation by a board-approved evaluation service. A translation of your transcript or a general evaluation isn’t adequate. An official copy of the evaluation must be sent directly to the board office by the evaluation service. You may choose from the following approved evaluation services:

Applying for specialty endorsements

If I’m applying for a geologist license and 2 specialties, how many years of experience do I need to verify?
If applying for 2 specialties, you’ll need to verify a minimum of 5 years’ experience in each specialty.
I have a practice that overlaps the 2 specialties of engineering geology and hydrogeology. Do I need both licenses?
If you call yourself an engineering geologist and a hydrogeologist, you need both licenses.
I want to apply for a specialty license. I’ve done hundreds of short-term projects during my career. Do I need to list them all on the List of Projects form?
You must list enough projects to document 5 years or 8,000 hours of project experience for each specialty.
I’ve never worked in the state of Washington. Do I need to show that I have knowledge of the geology and hydrogeology of the state of Washington to get the engineering geologist and hydrogeologist specialties? If so, how can I get this knowledge?
You’ll be required to show knowledge of the geology of the state of Washington to be licensed as an engineering geologist, and knowledge of the hydrogeology of the state of Washington to be licensed as a hydrogeologist. You may demonstrate this knowledge by showing you have worked on projects in the state of Washington, have taken courses or seminars specific to the geology and hydrogeology of the state of Washington, attended various geologic society meetings in the state, participated in field trips or studies in Washington state, conducted self-study on these subjects, or other methods.
Can I use my full-time graduate study to count toward my professional experience when applying for a specialty?
Each year of full-time graduate study in a specialty of geology qualifies as 1 year of professional experience in the applicable specialty of geology up to a maximum of 2 years.
If I don’t have a degree in geology, hydrogeology or engineering geology, how can I demonstrate to the board that I have completed the educational equivalents?
You may submit a course syllabus or outline documenting the completion of 30 semester/45 quarter hours, or graded course work that covers materials equivalent in content and rigor to the core classes described in WAC 308-15-040. In the absence of these materials, copies of the text and table of contents or copies of the study materials used in the course of study may be submitted to assist the board’s review. These materials should demonstrate to the board that your course study covered the range of topics in each area where educational equivalents have been established.
What type of advanced study, seminars, workshops, or on-the-job training is required for an Engineering Geologist License?
Advanced study may include a combination of courses, seminars, workshops, and on-the-job training. Examples of subjects acceptable to the board include engineering geology, environmental geology, rock and soil mechanics, geomorphology, volcanology and seismology, engineering geophysics, slope stability, rock slope engineering, tunneling, blast design, shoreline processes, and engineering geologic field methods.
What type of advanced study, seminars, workshops, or on-the-job training is required for a Hydrogeologist License?
Advanced study may include a combination of courses, seminars, workshops, and on-the-job training. Examples of subjects acceptable to the board include hydrogeology, groundwater hydrology, aquifer mechanics, flow through porous media, vadose zone hydrology, chemical transport, fluid mechanics, hydraulics, flow and chemical transport computer modeling, advanced geochemistry, geochemical forensics, groundwater law and regulations, well and monitoring well design and construction, site characterization and assessment, and groundwater remediation.

Licenses and seals

What professional designation do I use now that I am a licensed geologist?
The law doesn’t address the issue of professional designations. The Geologist Licensing Board recommends the use of LG (Licensed Geologist), LHG (Licensed Hydrogeologist), and LEG (Licensed Engineering Geologist). These designations are consistent with the wording on geologist stamps. This is a recommendation, however, not a requirement.
Are rubber stamps required, or may I use embossed or digitally produced stamps?
Embossed and digitally produced stamps are permitted.
What is the difference between an engineering geologist and a geotechnical engineer?
An engineering geologist is an earth scientist who has specialized in the application of geologic principles to civil works. A geotechnical engineer is a civil engineer who has specialized in the design and construction aspects of earth materials. Both professions share many of the same knowledge, skills and abilities. Each field, however, has particular strengths. Engineering geologists typically have greater skills in characterization of geologic conditions and processes, and in evaluation of how processes will be affected or will affect a specific development activity. Geotechnical engineers will typically have greater skill in development of site-specific geotechnical design recommendations and criteria.
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