Education requirements: Geologists

Find out what degrees and courses meet the education requirements for getting a geologist license.


Before you apply for a geologist license, you must graduate from an accredited college or university with a degree in geological sciences or a related degree approved by the board. In addition, you must also meet one of the sets of requirements below.

Standard education requirements

Take 24 semester or 36 quarter hours of upper-division geology courses, including 14 semester or 21 quarter credits (unduplicated) from the following list:

  • Earth materials (combination of mineralogy and petrology)
  • Economic geology
  • Engineering geology (or geomechanics)
  • Field camp
  • Geomorphology
  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry
  • Hydrogeology (or groundwater hydrology)
  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology
  • Sedimentology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Structural geology

Alternative education requirements

If don't meet the standard requirements, you may be able to qualify under alternative requirements if you've completed coursework that's educationally equivalent to the classes listed above, as determined by the board.

We review and approve educational equivalents according to WAC 308-15-040.

Transcripts from schools outside of the United States or Canada

A board-approved evaluation service must review your transcript on a course-by-course basis. We won't accept a translation or general evaluation of your transcript. You must have an official copy of the evaluation sent directly to the board office by one of these approved evaluation services:


Work experience

After finishing your education, you must complete at least 5 years of documented, verifiable professional geological experience.*

  • At least 3 years must be supervised by a licensed geologist
  • If your supervisor isn't a licensed geologist, the person verifying the experience must provide their resume to the Board for evaluation and approval
  • 1 year of full-time graduate study in geology or a qualified related area counts as one year of experience (up to a maximum of 2 years)
  • Geological research or teaching at a university or college is credited year-for-year if the Board decides it's comparable to experience

Professional references

You must provide at least 2 professional references when you apply. Each experience verifier counts as a professional reference.


You must pass the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG®) Fundamentals of Geology and Practice of Geology* exams, or other Board-approved equivalent examinations. 

*Please note: You can't take the Practice of Geology exam until you've completed 5 years of required experience.

Out-of-state exams

If you passed the Fundamentals of Geology exam in another state, complete the Applicant section of the Geologist Licensing and/or Exam History Certification. Send the form to the state where you passed your exams to have them complete the Certification section of the form and return it to the address at the top of the form.

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