Get your license: Geologists

Find out how to become a licensed geologist by exam or by reciprocity.

If you're looking for information about engineering geologist or hydrogeologist licenses, read our guide on getting a specialty license.

License requirements

Before you apply for a geologist license, make sure you've completed the education and experience requirements.

Education requirements

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:

Experience requirements

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

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

Professional references

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

Reciprocity requirements

To apply for a Washington geologist license by reciprocity, you must be currently licensed, registered, or certified in good standing in a state or jurisdiction approved by the Board.

How to apply

Follow these steps to get your geologist license.

1. Submit your work experience

Complete section 1 of an Employment and Experience Verification form for each work experience you're having verified. Have the work verifier complete section 2 and return the form to the address shown at the top of the form.

If you're only requesting one experience verification, you must also complete one Personal Reference form and have the reference return the form to the address shown at the top of the form.

2. Submit your proof of education

If you haven't passed the Fundamentals of Geology exam, you must show that you've met either the standard or alternative education requirements for a geologist license. Choose one of the options below.

Request your college transcript

If you're applying under the standard education requirements, have your college or university mail your official transcript to:

Geologist Licensing Board
Department of Licensing
PO Box 9012
Olympia, WA 98507-9012

Submit educational equivalents

If you're applying under the alternative education requirements, include any or all of the following documentation with your online or mail application:

  • Course syllabi or class outlines
  • Copies of study materials
  • Tables of contents of books used in the courses
  • Certificate of completion for non-academic courses

3. Submit your application

You must pay the geologist license fee when you apply. Choose the method that works best for you.

Apply for your license online

You'll receive your license faster by applying and paying online.

Log into SecureAccess Washington (SAW)

Don't have a SAW account? Learn how to create a SAW account.

Apply for your license by mail

Complete a Geologist and/or Specialty License Application form and mail it with a check or money order for the license fee (payable to the Department of Licensing) to:

Geologist Licensing Board
Department of Licensing
PO Box 3777
Seattle, WA 98124-3777

4. Pass the exam(s)

After the board approves you to take the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG®) Practice of Geology exam (and the Fundamentals of Geology exam, if needed), we'll send you an ASBOG® National Examination Candidate Request form. Complete the lower section of the form and send it with the exam fees directly to ASBOG®. After ASBOG® receives your payment, they'll send you an exam admission letter about one month before the exam date.

Once we receive the passing exam score(s) from ASBOG®, we'll issue your license. For more information, read about geologist licensing exams.

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

If you fail the exam(s)

You can take the exam(s) as many times as needed to pass, but you must submit a Geologist and/or Specialty License Re-exam Registration and pay the re-exam administration and vendor fees for each re-exam.

If you passed the exams in another state (Reciprocity)

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.

After we've reviewed your required documents, we'll issue your license.

For veterans, military personnel, and partners

Your military experience or training might help you meet licensing requirements. You may also be able to get a temporary license if you're moving here with a current license from another state. Learn more about using your military training to meet professional license requirements.

If you're a U.S. veteran, you may be eligible for partial reimbursement of your fees. Learn more about getting reimbursed for fees.

Need additional help? Here's how to contact us:

call Phone: 360-664-1497
(TTY: Call 711)
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