The California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists recently recognized graduation from a program (with a major in geological sciences or any other discipline relevant to geology) accredited by the Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission (ANSAC) of ABET as one of two pathways toward eligibility for Professional Geologist (PG) and Geologist in Training (GIT) licensure. The new regulation also grants two years of professional geologist experience credit for those with a degree from an ABET-accredited geology program. 

geologists in the field
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Keaton, Ph.D.

Each state board has its own professional standards for geology licensure, and the California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists is the first to include graduation from an ABET-accredited program as qualification for automatic eligibility toward it. Graduates of ABET-accredited programs can seek professional recognition by enhancing their credentials through licensure, registration and certification programs where appropriate. Learn more about ABET’s role in licensure, registration and certification.

“The opportunity for geology degree programs to be accredited by the Applied and Natural Science Commission of ABET is a great stride of progress,” said C. Dale Elifrits, Ph.D., representative for the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME-AIME) on the ABET Board of Delegates. “The recently established program criteria for geology and geoscience programs set a standard for geology degree programs upon which the public may rely for assurance of a quality educational experience for students graduating from an ANSAC/ABET-accredited program. Geology program faculty and administrators can now benefit from ABET standards and guidance in establishing the quality of their programs and maintaining this quality.”

The program-specific criteria for Geology, Geological Science and Similarly Named Programs were developed by geologists from ABET member society SME-AIME in consultation with other professional geologists. Substantial input was also provided by the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) — the organization that curates and administers the Geologist in Training and Professional Geologist examinations. 

The criteria were approved at the Fall 2019 ABET Board of Delegates meeting in Baltimore. Prior to this approval, geology programs seeking ABET accreditation would do so under the ANSAC General Criteria. General Criteria apply to all programs accredited by an ABET Commission, while Program Criteria provide discipline-specific accreditation criteria. Programs must show that they satisfy all program criteria implied by the program title.

When geology programs already accredited under the ANSAC General Criteria are up for their next accreditation review, they will be reviewed under the Program Criteria for Geology, Geological Science and Similarly Named Programs. The lead society responsible for these criteria is SME/AIME.

Read the full 2020 Regulations Relating to the Practices of Geology and Geophysics in the California Code of Regulations here.