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Telephone: (803) 896-4800
Fax: (803) 896-4424

Molly Price
Administrator

Theresa Garner
Program Assistant

Georgia Lewis
Advice Attorney




South Carolina Board of Registration for Geologists

Frequently Asked Questions

The below list are links to questions on this page. They are not conclusive answers to all requirements that may apply to obtaining a license. Please refer to the Laws and Regulation web pages located on the home page.

What are the requirements to become licensed?

Are examinations required?

Can I practice Geology without a license?

Does your state have a temporary permit for geology work?

What is the law on reciprocity?

Am I required to renewal my license?

Do you have continuing education requirements?

Does your state require a Seal?

SECTION 40-77-230. Eligibility for registration; qualifications; certificate of registration.

(A) An applicant is eligible for registration as a registered professional geologist if the applicant:

(1) graduated in an approved geologic curriculum of four or more years with a minimum of thirty semester hours or forty-five quarter hours in geology or geophysics from a school or college approved by the board and furnishes a specific record of an additional five years or more of full-time experience as a geologist-in-training in geologic work or at least five years of geologic work germane to public practice satisfactory to the board indicating that the applicant is competent to practice geology and has passed written examinations required by the board. In counting years of experience the board may give credit, not in excess of one year, for each graduate degree in geology; or

(2) graduated in geology or a related science curriculum approved by the board of four years or more with a minimum of thirty semester hours or forty-five quarter hours in geology or geophysics in a school or college other than those approved by the board, furnishes a specific record of eight years or more of experience on geologic work of a character satisfactory to the board indicating that the applicant is competent to practice geology and has passed a written examination designed to measure knowledge and skill approximating that attained through graduation in an approved four-year geologic curriculum, and passes the examinations required of applicants in item (1).

(B) The minimum evidence that an applicant is qualified for registration as a geologist-in-training is proof that the applicant:

(1) graduated in an accredited geologic curriculum of four scholastic years or more with a minimum of thirty semester hours or forty-five quarter hours in geology or geophysics from a school or college approved by the board and passing a written examination required by the board; or

(2) graduated in a geologic or a related science curriculum of four scholastic years or more with a minimum of thirty semester hours or forty-five quarter hours in geology or geophysics from a school or college other than those approved by the board in item (1) with a specific record of five years or more of experience in geological work of a character satisfactory to the board or passing written examinations in geologic subjects designed to measure knowledge and skill approximating that attained through graduation in an approved geologic curriculum and passing the written examinations as required in item (1).

(C) The board shall issue a certificate of registration, upon payment of the registration fee, to an applicant who satisfactorily has met the requirements of this chapter. For a registered professional geologist, the certificate must authorize the practice of geology. For a geologist-in-training the registration card must be issued as the certificate of registration and must state that the applicant has been enrolled as a geologist-in-training. The registration cards must show the full name of the registrant, the board assigned serial number, and must be signed by the chairman of the board bearing the seal of the board.

131-05. General Registration Provisions for Professional Geologists.

An applicant for initial registration as a professional geologist must:

(A) be a graduate of a geologic curriculum of a minimum of thirty (30) semester hours or forty-five (45) quarter hours of geology approved by the Board, including an earned bachelor's degree or advanced degree from an accredited college or university; and

(B) submit an application on forms approved by the Board and the required fees, and have certified transcripts of all undergraduate or postgraduate college credits supplied directly to the Board from the school(s) or college(s). A geologist-in-training applying for registration as a professional geologist is not required to submit additional copies of college transcripts; and

(C) pass a fundamentals and practical examination approved by the Board. The Board may authorize an applicant to take both the fundamentals and practical examination on the same day. The applicant must receive passing scores on both examinations taken to qualify for registration; and

(D) submit evidence of at least five (5) years of full-time professional geological work satisfactory to the Board, either as a geologist-in-training or in geologic work germane to the public practice of geology. For persons who have graduated in geology or a related science curriculum of at least four (4) years but not from a school or college approved by the Board, the work experience must consist of eight (8) years. In counting years of experience the Board may give credit, not in excess of one (1) year, for graduate degrees in geology provided such graduate degrees are not the initial degree in geology; and

(E) be of good ethical character.

131-04. General Registration Provisions for Geologists-in-Training. [S.C. ADC 131-04]

An applicant for initial registration as a geologist-in-training must:

(A) be a graduate of a geologic curriculum of a minimum of thirty (30) semester hours or forty-five (45) quarter hours of geology approved by the Board, including an earned bachelor's degree or advanced degree from an accredited college or university; and

(B) submit an application on forms approved by the Board and the required fees, and have certified transcripts of all undergraduate or postgraduate college credits supplied directly to the Board from the school(s) or college(s); and

(C) pass a fundamentals examination approved by the Board; and

(D) be of good ethical character.

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SECTION 40-77-240. Establishment of fees; examinations.

(A) The board in regulation shall establish application, examination, reexamination, registration, and reregistration fees which must be paid at the time of each application or reapplication.

(B) If the board denies the issuance of a certificate of registration to an applicant the initial fee deposited must be retained as an application fee. A registration fee must be collected before issuance of a certificate of registration to a qualified applicant and a reregistration fee is due and payable in accordance with Section 40-1-50.

(C) When examinations are required on fundamental geological subjects ordinarily given in college curricula, the applicant may take that part of the examination before completing the requisite years of scholastic studies in geology. The examination must be prepared and conducted as prescribed by the board with special reference to the applicant's ability to ensure the safety of life, health, and property.

(D) When written examinations are required to practice geology in this State, the examinations must be held at a time and place determined by the board. Examinations must be held at least annually.

131-06. Examinations. [S.C. ADC 131-06]

(A) Examinations shall be held at least annually provided there are qualified applicants.

(B) Applicants must be approved by the Board and notified in writing for authorization to take the examination. Each qualified applicant must provide written authorization from the Board to take the examination and provide picture identification prior to entering the examination room.

(C) Applicants are required to take examinations designed to test the applicant's general geological education and to measure the applicant's practical experience and knowledge in the application of geology and the code of professional ethics.

(D) Applicants taking an examination must receive a scaled score of seventy (70) or higher to pass the examination.

(E) An examination candidate who has failed an examination may, within thirty (30) days after the date of notice of the results of the examination, appeal the results of the examination to the Board. The petition for appeal must be in writing and must state the basis upon which the appeal is made. The examination candidate may be required to pay the required fee and costs of processing the appeal to the Board and/or testing organization.

(F) The Board, in its discretion, may adjust the scoring based on the outcome of an appeal by the candidate.

(G) An applicant may apply for re-examination twice without filing a new application and shall be re-examined upon payment of the required fee. An applicant who fails the same examination for a third time shall file a new application before being re-examined. A new application may not be filed sooner than one (1) year following the date of the last re-examination.

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SECTION 40-77-200. Unlicensed practice of geology; submission of false information; offense; punishment.

A person who engages in or offers to engage in the practice or public practice of geology in this State without being licensed or who knowingly submits false information for the purpose of obtaining a license is in violation of this chapter and is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not more than three months or fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars.

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131-07. Temporary Registration. [S.C. ADC 131-07]

(A) An applicant for a temporary registration to engage in the practice of geology must:

(1) present evidence that the applicant's residence is in another state, or that the applicant has been a resident of South Carolina for six (6) months or less; and

(2) possess an active, current, and unrestricted registration under the laws of another state or territory that had requirements that were, at the date of registration, equivalent to the requirements in effect at the time of the application in South Carolina or meet the academic and experience requirements to become a professional geologist; and

(3) submit an application on a form approved by the Board, along with the required fee.

(B) The Board shall specify the duration of any temporary registrations. The term of any temporary registration may not exceed six (6) months. An applicant shall not receive more than one (1) issuance of a temporary registration to practice geology in South Carolina.

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SECTION 40-77-280. Persons licensed in other states or countries; authority to license without examination.

A person holding a license to practice geology, based on comparable licensing requirements by a state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or of any foreign country and who, in the opinion of the board, otherwise meets the requirements of this chapter may, upon application, and payment of applicable fees be licensed without further examination.

131-08. Registration by Endorsement or Reciprocity. [S.C. ADC 131-08]

(A) An applicant for registration as a professional geologist by endorsement must:

(1) hold a current, active, and unrestricted license under the laws of another state or territory that had requirements that were, at the date of licensure, equivalent to the requirements in effect at the time of the application in South Carolina; and

(2) submit an application on a form approved by the Board, along with the required fees.

(B) An applicant for registration as a professional geologist by reciprocity must:

(1) hold a current, active, and unrestricted license under the laws of another state or territory with which South Carolina has entered into an agreement regarding reciprocity; and

(2) submit an application on a form approved by the Board, along with the required fees.

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SECTION 40-77-300. Reinstatement of expired or suspended certificate; replacement certificates.

The board may reinstate a certificate of registration to a person whose registration has expired or has been suspended if three or more members of the board vote in favor of reinstatement. A new certificate of registration to replace a certificate revoked, lost, destroyed, or mutilated may be issued, subject to the regulations of the board, and payment of a fee determined by the board in regulation.

131-10. Requirements for Renewal/Reactivation of Expired or Lapsed Registrations. [S.C. ADC 131-10]

(A) All applications for renewal shall be filed with the Board prior to June thirtieth (30th) each year. Renewal applications must be accompanied by the appropriate fee and a statement attesting to the required number of continuing education credits (CEC) per biennium. Registered professional geologists who have not properly renewed their registration for failure to complete the required CEC and/or failure to submit the appropriate renewal fee must apply for late renewal during a six (6) month penalty period following the expiration date. Late renewal applications must be accompanied by documentation, if applicable, indicating completion of the required CEC's as specified in Regulation 131-11 and a fee equal to the annual renewal fee plus fifty percent (50%) penalty fee. Registrants undergoing late renewal are not authorized to conduct the public practice of geology until their renewal is completed and the registrant receives written notice from the Board that their registration is renewed.

(B) A registrant whose registration has been expired or lapsed for five (5) years or less may reactivate the registration upon submission of an application on a form approved by the Board, along with the required fee and evidence of CEC for each biennium during which the registration was expired, not to exceed thirty-two (32) hours and the submission of a notarized statement that the registrant has not engaged in the practice of geology in this State during the time the registration was expired or lapsed.

C) The Board may require a registrant whose registration has been expired or lapsed for more than five (5) years to apply and qualify as if never registered in this State.

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131-12. Continuing Professional Competency. [S.C. ADC 131-12]

(A) Professionals licensed to practice geology are required to demonstrate a continuing development of professional competency. Each registrant shall submit a continuing education report on a form approved by the Board as a condition of renewal.

(B) Continuing Education Requirements.

(1) Every registrant is required to obtain thirty-two (32) contact hours for each biennium of registration.

(2) If a registrant exceeds the biennial requirements in any renewal period, a maximum of eight (8) contact hours may be carried forward into the ensuing renewal period.

(C) Determination of Credit.

(1) Continuing education credit shall be in accordance with Continuing Education Guidelines as approved by the Board.

(2) Upon request, the Board may require proof of attendance of successful completion of continuing education credits. Final approval of continuing education credits shall be at the discretion of the Board.

(D) Record Keeping.

(1) The responsibility for maintaining records used to support credits claimed is that of the registrant. Records required to substantiate continuing education activities may include, but are not limited to:

(a) dates of attendance; and

(b) number of actual contact hours certified by the registrant; and

(c) copies of registration receipts attached to continuing education submission form; and/or

(d) appropriate proof of course completion.

(2) For additional credit as course instructor or trip leader, written proof that the event was conducted as described must be provided. Each continuing education event must have separate documentation.

(E) Exceptions.

(1) A registrant may apply for an exemption from or reduction of the continuing education requirement by submitting a request in writing to the Board, including a statement of the grounds upon which a reduction or exemption should be granted, along with the requested reduction or exemption. The Board may grant exemptions or reductions in the following cases:

(a) if the registrant is serving on temporary active duty in the armed forces of the United States for a period of time exceeding one hundred twenty (120) consecutive days in a year, in which case the registrant shall be required to present evidence of sixteen (16) hours of continuing education; or

(b) if the registrant is experiencing illness, physical disability, or other extenuating circumstances.

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SECTION 40-77-70. Official seal.

In addition to those powers and duties provided for in this chapter and in Section 40-1-70, the board shall adopt an official seal.

131-11. Seals. [S.C. ADC 131-11]

(A) Each registered professional geologist shall obtain a seal, which may be an embosser or a rubber stamp bearing the registrant's name, registration number, and the legend "Registered Professional Geologist." The seal of the registrant shall be used in accordance with this section.

(B) The seal and signature of a registrant on a document constitutes a certification that the document was prepared by the registrant or under his direct supervision, and that the registrant has reviewed the document in sufficient depth to fully coordinate and assume responsibility for materials prepared by another registrant.

(C) When sealing of documents is required by statute, other authority or contract, an imprint of the registrant's valid seal shall appear, along with his signature and date, on the cover page of geologic reports or other geologic documents bound in book form as well as on each sheet of unbound geologic drawings, cross sections, or maps prepared by or under the responsible charge or direct supervision of the registrant whenever these documents are relevant to public welfare or the safeguard of life, health, property and the environment, pursuant to Section 40-77-290, South Carolina Code of Laws 1976, as amended.

(D) Additions, deletions, or other revisions to sealed documents shall not be made unless such changes are sealed, dated, and signed by the registrant who made the revisions or under whose direction and control said revisions were made.

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