Licensure of Geoscientists by APEGGA: What's the Process?
BY TRACY SOPKOW
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.
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.
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
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.