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Potsdam Prepared: Spring 2022 Updates

The Bachelor of Science degree in Geology at SUNY Potsdam is registered as a Licensure-Qualifying Geology Program with the New York State Education Department and is designed for those who wish to earn a graduate degree in geology or to immediately pursue a career in geology.  Although the Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology is not registered as a Licensure-Qualifying Geology Program with the New York State Education Department, it contains all of the same  and contains the same core classes as the Geology B.S. degree.  The B.A. degree could be a better fit for students who are pursuing a double major with another B.A. degree field because it requires fewer cognates and does not require a capstone experience.  Should a student with a B.A. decide to pursue a professional geologist license, they could meet the educational requirements by taking an additional three credits of college-level math (beyond college algebra) and three additional credits in college-level chemistry, biology, or physics (note: B.A. education requirements will need to be verified by NYSED).

The Mandatory Professional Licensure Disclosure provided below contains information that we are legally required to share to provide “transparent disclosure about the utility of [our] programs and the practicality of whether they will lead directly to licensure or whether there will be more steps to get their after completing a particular program”.  The frequently asked questions section (below) should help you understand some of the terminology in the accompanying document and to help you understand how licensure could impact your career.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to your academic advisor and/or the chair or the Geology Department if you have any questions.


Why do some geologists need a license?

In 2016, legislation was passed and signed by Governor Cuomo making NYS the 32nd state to allow for the licensure of professional geologists (see Article 145).   Geologists play an important role in protecting public health, the environment, and natural resources and this law makes sure that the geologists who make the most important decisions and oversee significant projects have the necessary knowledge and experience.  

What are the requirements for getting a license?

You will need to do the following:

  1. Get a bachelor's degree in geology that meets or exceeds the minimum standards outlined by NYSED (see details here)
  2. Pass the ASBOG Fundamentals of Geology Exam (given twice per year in March and October).  You can apply to take the test through the NYS Office of Professions once you get within 20 credits of completing a degree at a registered licensure-qualifying geology programs (which the B.S. degree at SUNY Potsdam is!) or after you graduate from a non-registered program (you will have to send in a transcript and have it evaluated before you can sit for the exam).
  3. Get five years of practical geological work experience under the supervision of a professional geologist.
  4. After you get the experience, you must pass the ASBOG Practice of Geology Exam.
  5. Apply for your license through the NYS Office of Professions. 

Do I have to get my professional license to get a job as a geologist?

No.  You will need a license if you want to be an owner/officer of a company that that offers geological services, an individual providing professional geological services, or become a NYS officer/employee of a certain grade.  You will not need to get your license if you are an employee that works under another Professional Geologist or if you are working for a company that does not offer professional geologic services. 

Where can I find more information about careers in geology and/or geologic licensure?

Mandatory Professional Licensure Disclosure

New York State prides itself in the high quality of its licensed and certified professionals.  For the protection of its citizens, each license and certificate has requirements that individuals must meet in order to be licensed or certified in New York State.  SUNY’s academic programs leading to licensure or certification are carefully designed to meet and exceed these State requirements. This is a role SUNY plays in protecting the public.  Other states frequently have their own requirements, so if your goal is to practice in another state, this disclosure will help you check to see what that state requires.

Per U.S. Federal Regulations, §668.43 (2019 Rule), and in compliance with the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) Manual version 19.2, SUNY Potsdam provides the following disclosure related to the educational requirements for professional licensure and certification.

This disclosure is strictly limited to the SUNY Potsdam’s determination of whether its educational program, the Bachelor of Science in Geology- that if successfully completed, would be sufficient to meet the educational licensure or certification requirements in New York State for the title of Professional Geologist.  SUNY Potsdam cannot provide verification of an individual’s ability to meet licensure or certification requirements unrelated to its educational programming.  Such individual determinations are made by state licensing boards, and are fact-specific determinations.

This disclosure does not provide any guarantee that any particular state licensure or certification entity will approve or deny your application. Furthermore, this disclosure does not account for changes in state law or regulation that may affect your application for licensure and occur after this disclosure has been made. Enrolled students and prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact their State’s licensure entity using the links provided to review all licensure and certification requirements imposed by their state(s) of choice.

SUNY Potsdam has designed an educational program curriculum for a Bachelors of Science in Geology - that if successfully completed is sufficient to meet the licensure and certification requirements for an advanced practice license in the following states:

State Professional Geologist Licensure Contact
New York


After making all reasonable efforts, SUNY Potsdam cannot determine whether its educational program curriculum for a Bachelors of Science in Geology - that if successfully completed, is sufficient to meet the licensure and certification requirements for advanced practice of geology in the following states:

State Professional Geologist Licensure Contact
American Samoa N/A
District of Columbia N/A
Guam N/A
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands N/A
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Virgin Islands N/A
West Virginia