November, 2000

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Licensure of Geoscientists by APEGGA: What's the Process?


As part of an ongoing communications initiative on geoscience issues, the purpose of this article is to clarify the criteria required to become registered as a professional geologist or geophysicist with APEGGA.

Role of APEGGA
Within the geoscience community, there is a misconception that APEGGA's registration process favours the engineering community, and sets out registration parameters that make it more difficult for geologists and geophysicists to obtain professional status. The association's Board of Examiners is flexible in its approach to registering geoscientists and engineers. The board follows the same policies for both geoscience and engineering applications, and recognizes that academic and experience qualifications in total can be used to qualify an applicant for registration as a professional geologist, geophysicist or engineer.
All applicants, whether geologists, geophysicists or engineers, must satisfy the same five registration criteria.

To become registered as professional members, all applicants must meet stipulated academic, experience, good character and reputation requirements, demonstrate knowledge of professional law and ethics by passing the National Professional Practice Exam, and meet the English language competency requirement.

Academic Requirement
Since the 1930s, the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers has provided national coordination for the engineering professions. The Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board, a committee of the CCPE, has the task of reviewing and accrediting engineering programs across Canada. Engineering graduates of these accredited programs automatically meet APEGGA's academic qualifications when applying for professional membership.
At this time, there is no similar national accreditation process in place for geoscience programs in Canada. As a result, having a degree in geology or geophysics does not mean an applicant automatically meets APEGGA's academic requirements. As there is no national geoscience accreditation program, geoscientists seeking professional membership have their academic qualifications reviewed by APEGGA's Board of Examiners. The Board of Examiners includes professional geoscientists.

Review Process
The review of a geoscience applicant's academic qualifications by the Board of Examiners is a two-stage process. The first stage involves a review of the applicant's academic qualifications against the APEGGA syllabus. If the applicant does not meet the syllabus stated requirements, examinations may be assessed.

The second stage of the process involves a review of the applicant's demonstrated work experience to determine whether the applicant possesses sufficient experience for the Board of Examiners to waive some or all of the examinations assessed.

It is the policy of the Board of Examiners to consider waiving up to a maximum of five examinations for applicants demonstrating six to 12 years of acceptable geology or geophysics work experience, and to consider waiving up to a maximum of 10 exams for applicants demonstrating over 12 years of acceptable work experience. In exceptional circumstances, the Board of Examiners may elect to waive more than this maximum number of exams. The number of examinations that are waived in any particular case will depend on each applicant's demonstrated work experience.

The APEGGA Board of Examiners also assesses the applicant's experience qualifications as part of the review process to determine if the applicant has met the experience requirements necessary for registration. If the Board of Examiners has waived examinations on the basis of experience, and has thereby found the applicant to be academically qualified, the applicant's experience will be sufficient for registration as a professional geologist or geophysicist, so long as the experience includes at least one year of equivalent North American experience.

Licensure and Registration
Licensure and registration by APEGGA distinguishes geologists and geophysicists as professionals. Registration in a professional association, namely APEGGA, demonstrates to the business community and others that the individual has the required academic and experience qualifications, adheres to a professional code of ethics and is committed to personal and professional growth. Licensure also generates respect and credibility for geology, geophysics and engineering as professions within society.

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