FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A 19-year effort to include geology among the licensed professions came to an end when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Chapter 475 of the Laws of 2014 into law on November 21, 2014. The law, which had a 2-year effective date, became effective on November 21, 2016. Following enactment of the licensing law, NYSCPG introduced additional legislation to convert geologists’ business corporations and limited liability companies into professional corporations (P.C.) and professional limited liability companies (PLLC). This included the requirement for Professional Geologists to form or be added as a corporate officer of these professional entities.
The NYSCPG then turned its attention to continuing education. Our efforts were complicated by the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) request that our legislation be tied to NYSED’s efforts to modernize existing continuing education requirements for professional engineers and land surveyors. It was not until March 2020 that this combined bill was introduced in the New York State Legislature. It became law on November 11, 2020 as Chapter 260 of the Laws of 2020 and the new continuing education requirements become effective on January 1, 2022.
On April 1, 2021, The NYSCPG, with the technical help of Alpha Analytical, hosted a webinar summarizing the new continuing education law. This webinar was immediately followed by numerous question and answers. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) sheet summarize the questions and responses asked following the webinar. If something remains unclear regarding this subject matter, please contact us at nyscouncilpg.gmail.com.
GENERAL / LICENSURE / BUSINESS CERTIFICATION
With the closure of the grandparent provision period on November 21, 2017, and the expiration of the March 1, 2019 deadline for firms to apply for their Certificate of Authorization to offer/practice geological services in New York, this list of Frequently Asked Questions is provided to supplement those on the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Professions Website (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/geo/):
Yes, the one-year grandparent provision period began on November 21, 2016, and ended at midnight on November 20, 2017. Now, in order to obtain licensure, you must qualify for licensure in New York and pass the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) exam.
The ASBOG exam is a two-part exam: Fundamentals of Geology (FG) and Practice of Geology (PG). The FG exam is 140 multiple choice questions, and the PG exam is 110 multiple choice questions. You are allowed 4 hours to complete each exam. The exams are offered by the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) (http://asbog.org/state_boards.html) in each of its 32 member states. The exam is offered twice per year, on the third Friday in March and the first Friday in October. You can take just the FG, or just the PG, or both on the same day, depending upon your qualifications for the exam.
In New York, the exam is administered by Castle Worldwide, Inc. (a private testing firm), and application forms can be found on the New York State Education Department Office of Professions website (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/geo/). More details about the exam can be found on the ASBOG website http://asbog.org/. If you are a student enrolled in a geosciences program and want to know more about the ASBOG exam or licensure in general, NYSCPG representatives are willing to visit your university/college and give a presentation. Please check with your department chair or geology club president and contact NYSCPG at email@example.com.
The education requirements to be eligible for a PG license or to qualify for the ASBOG exam can be found at http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/geo/part52-46.htm. Individual’s transcripts, and in some cases, class descriptions/syllabi, are reviewed by SED’s Bureau of Comparative Education on a case-by-case basis. If your education is declared insufficient, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. You may be put in touch with an Education Credential Specialist to discuss your case. In some instances we have seen transfer credits from junior or community college not included with your primary college transcripts, in which case you may resubmit information, at SED’s discretion. In some cases of specialized education, there have been problems with the workflow between SED units causing denial or delay of approval. Regardless of the situation, contact email@example.com to discuss your case.
If you are an individual offering geological services, you can do so as long as you have a New York State Professional Geology License in good standing. However, companies must receive a Certificate of Authority from New York State to advertise/practice geological services. There are multiple options for your company to choose from and each structure has specific requirements; therefore, you should consult legal and/or tax professionals for specific advice to evaluate your individual practice or your company’s options. Information regarding the different corporate structures can be found at http://www.op.nysed.gov/corp/.
If you want to check the status of your Certificate of Authority, or review other companies that are currently registered in New York State, use the link http://www.op.nysed.gov/opsearches.htm and do the following:
· Scroll to the bottom of the page to “Search for Professional Business Entity by Name”;
· In the “Profession” box, select “Professional Geologist”;
· Under “Professional Business Entity Name” enter a company name or three wildcards “***”;
· Click “Search”.
You can also email the P.C. Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org to check on the progress of your company’s application.
The State Education Department has issued a determination regarding individuals and corporations offering geological services. It can be found at http://www.op.nysed.gov/news/home.html#geoinfo and states the following:
“Should you have a business entity seeking approval from the department, but the business entity is similarly awaiting the approval of individuals, as noted above, and has submitted an application within the same time period, the department will exercise similar discretion, and those corporations may continue to provide restricted geological services. However, similarly, should the department inform the business entity that the application is unacceptable for any reason, the entity should cease providing restricted geological services. The number of businesses (and applicants) awaiting our approval is quite small, and we are processing them rapidly, but we do understand the need for continuity as this new law becomes effective.”
A firm that is currently offering geologic services as a General Business Corporation in New York State was originally required to have the necessary paperwork to become a Professional Corporation approved by the State Education Department and submitted to the Department of State by February 28, 2018. However, the window to transition these companies into compliance with the law has been extended until March 1, 2019. Thus, companies that did not make the March 1, 2018 deadline are encouraged to submit their applications to the State Education Department for approval prior to the new submittal deadline. After March 1, 2019, existing companies will not be able to apply for a Certificate of Authority to practice Geology in New York State.
Section 7204-B of State Education Law states, “Only a person licensed or otherwise authorized under this article shall practice geology or use the title ‘professional geologist’”. If the address on a business card is in NYS, and the person is not licensed in NYS, then the use of “PG” needs to be qualified by indicating that it is in another jurisdiction (e.g. Pennsylvania). Failure to make these adjustments in a timely fashion may subject the person to disciplinary action in both NYS and the other state(s) in which they are licensed.
You can contact local print shops. The print shop must follow the guidelines set forth at http://www.op.nysed.gov/designseals.htm. In some cases, the print shop will only need your name and license number (as it appears on your license), and the print shop will research the appropriate format. The seal should not include the trailing “-1” (or other number) found on your registration certificate, which is a record of how many times the license was issued/renewed. Either a rubber ink stamp or embossed stamp is acceptable, as long as it meets the requirements found at the above link.
No. NYSED counsel indicated that since the NYS PG license was granted under the grandparent provision, which did not require passing the ASBOG exams, an individual would not be at risk of losing his or her NYS PG license under this scenario.