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Effective 8/20/00

Professional Geologists

310-A:118 Definitions. In this subdivision:

I. "Board" means the board of professional geologists.

II. "Business organization" means any enterprise, whether corporation, partnership, limited liability company, proprietorship, association, business trust, real estate trust, or other form of organization; organized for gain or profit, carrying on any business activity within the state.

III. "Geology" means the science dealing with the study of the earth, its origin, history, physical features and content; the investigation and interpretation of the earth's constituents including, but not limited to, its rocks, unconsolidated materials, minerals, solids, fluids, and gases, and of the natural and induced processes and forces acting on the earth; the geologic mapping of the earth's constituents and features, and the results of various processes and forces that have acted on the earth; and the geological application of the information derived from such study in the furtherance of the health, safety and welfare of the public and the environment.

IV. "Licensed professional geologist" means a person who, by reason of advanced knowledge of geology and the supporting physical and life sciences, acquired by education and experience, is technically and legally qualified to engage in the practice of geology as defined in this section and has successfully passed the examination as may be required in this subdivision and who is licensed by the board or otherwise authorized by this subdivision to engage in the practice of the profession of geology.

V. "Practice of the profession of geology" or "practice of geology" means the performance of work defined as geology in this subdivision including, but not limited to researching, investigating, consulting, geological mapping, describing the natural processes that act upon the earth's materials, predicting the probable occurrence of natural resources, predicting and locating natural or man-induced phenomena which may be useful or hazardous to mankind recognizing, determining and evaluating geological factors, and the inspection and performance of geological work and the responsible supervision thereof in furtherance of the health, safety, and welfare of the public and the environment. The term shall not include the application of geologic information in the identification or determination of engineered solutions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public and the environment. The term shall not include the practice of engineering, land surveying, architecture, soil science or wetland science for which separate licensure or certification is required.

VI. "Responsible charge of work" means the independent control, supervision and direction of work requiring the use of initiative, skill, and judgment.

310-A:119 Purpose. In order to safeguard life, health, property, and the environment and to promote public welfare, the practice of geology in this state shall be regulated by the board of professional geologists.

310-A:120 Board of Professional Geologists.

I. A board of professional geologists is established to administer the provisions of this subdivision. The board shall consist of 6 persons. Five persons shall be appointed by the governor and council, 4 of whom shall be professional geologists and one of whom shall be a public member. The sixth member shall be the state geologist. The public member of the board shall be a person who is not, and never was, a geologist or the spouse of any such person, and who does not have and never has had, a material financial interest in either the provision of geologic services or an activity directly related to geology, including the representation of the board or profession for a fee at any time during the 5 years preceding appointment.

II. Each member of the board shall be a citizen of the United States and a resident of this state. Each member except the public member and the state geologist shall have been a professional geologist for at least l0 years prior to appointment and shall have held a responsible position in charge of such work, which may include the teaching of geology, for at least 5 years prior to appointment. Experience in providing geological services for a fee, or being in responsible charge of geological work, obtained before the expiration of the period described in RSA 310-A:125, II, may count towards the requirements of this section if the member would have been eligible for licensure under RSA 310-A:125, II at the time of the relevant experience.

III. Members, except the state geologist, shall be appointed for 5-year terms, except that no more than one appointed member's term may expire in any one calendar year. Original appointments for terms of less than 5 years may be made in order to comply with this limitation. No appointed member shall be eligible to serve more than 2 full consecutive terms, provided that for this purpose only a period actually served which exceeds 1/2 of the 5-year term shall be deemed a full term. Upon expiration of an appointed member's term, the member shall serve until a successor is qualified and appointed. The successor's term shall be 5 years from the date of expiration of the predecessor's appointment, regardless of the date of the successor's appointment. Vacancies of appointed positions occurring prior to the expiration of a specific term shall be filled by appointment for the unexpired term. A board member may be removed for cause by the governor and council under RSA 4:1.

IV. Members of the board shall be reimbursed for all actual travel, incidental, and clerical expenses necessarily incurred in carrying out the provisions of this subdivision.

V. The board shall hold at least 3 regular meetings each year and special meetings at such times as it may deem necessary. Notice of all meetings shall be given in such a manner as rules adopted by the board may provide. The board shall biennially elect a chairperson, vice-chairperson, and secretary. Three members shall constitute a quorum.

VI. The board shall keep a record of its proceedings and a register of all applications for licensure, which shall show:

(a) The name, age, and residence of each applicant.

(b) The date of application.

(c) The place of business of such applicant.

(d) The applicant's educational and other qualifications.

(e) Whether or not an examination was required.

(f) Whether the applicant was rejected and the reasons for such rejection.

(g) Whether a license or permit was granted.

(h) The date of the action of the board.

(i) Such other information as may be deemed necessary by the board.

VII. The records of the board shall be prima facie evidence of the proceedings of the board, and a transcript of such records certified by the secretary of the board under seal shall be admissible in evidence with the same force and effect as if the original were produced. Biennially, as of December 31, the board shall submit to the governor a report of the transactions of the preceding biennium, and a complete statement of the receipts and expenditures of the board.

VIII. The secretary of the board shall publish a roster listing the names and places of business of all professional geologists licensed under this subdivision by the board during February of each even-numbered year. Copies of this roster shall be made available upon request to any person so licensed and will be placed on file with the secretary of state, and furnished to the public upon request at a fee to be established by the board. The board may include in such roster any other information it deems appropriate.

310-A:121 Rulemaking; Fees.

I. The board shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to:

(a) The application procedure for a license to practice under this subdivision;

(b) The qualifications of applicants in accordance with applicable statutes, and the ethical standards required for licensure;

(c) The examination procedures in accordance with applicable statutes;

(d) License renewal, including requirements for continuing education;

(e) Ethical and professional standards required to be met by each holder of a license under this subdivision and how disciplinary actions by the board shall be implemented for violations of these standards;

(f) Procedures for the conduct of hearings consistent with the requirements of due process;

(g) The design of an official seal;

(h) What constitutes geology experience for the purposes of RSA 310-A:125;

(i) Procedures for a waiver of the fundamentals of geology examination under RSA 310-A:129; and

(j) Interstate licensure and temporary permits under RSA 310-A:131.

II. The board shall adopt rules under RSA 541-A which shall establish all fees required under this subdivision including the following:

(a) Examinations.

(b) Application for licensure upon passing the examination.

(c) Application for a certificate, temporary permit, or license.

(d) Biennial renewal for licensed professional geologists.

(e) Late reinstatement for a late renewal of license.

(f) Replacement of lost or mutilated license.

(g) Transcribing and transferring records and other services.

III. The fees established by the board shall be sufficient to produce estimated revenues equal to 125 percent of the direct operating expenses of the board budgeted for the biennium in which they apply.

310-A:122 Immunity From Civil Liability. No action or other legal proceedings for damages shall be instituted against the board or any member or employee of the board for any act done in good faith or for any neglect or default in the performance or exercise in good faith of any such duty or power.

310-A:123 Receipts and Disbursements. The board may employ such investigators as are necessary for the proper performance of its work retained by the office of professional licensure and certification and may make expenditures through the office of professional licensure and certification for any purpose which is reasonably necessary for the proper performance of its duties under this subdivision, including the reasonable expenses of the board’s delegate to meetings and membership dues. The board may, with the approval of the attorney general, hire counsel and through the office of professional licensure and certification and pay the reasonable expenses of such counsel and investigators for the investigation and prosecution of any violation of this subdivision.

310-A:124 Licensure. No person shall practice professional geology or represent oneself as a professional geologist who is not licensed by the board or whose license expired, or was canceled, suspended, or revoked, except as otherwise provided in this subdivision. Licensure to practice geology shall not be required until after the one-year period set forth in RSA 310-A:125, II has ended.

310-A:125 Requirements for Licensure as a Professional Geologist.

I.(a) Applicants for licensure as a professional geologist shall meet the ethical standards set forth in this subdivision and shall have committed no misconduct as set forth in RSA 310-A:133, II. In addition, each applicant shall have a bachelor's degree in geology or a bachelor's degree in a related field which included 30 credit hours or 45 quarter hours in geology from an accredited 4-year college, or a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited graduate program in geology, including but not limited to degrees or credit hours in geochemistry, geohydrology, geomorphology, geophysics, groundwater geology, hydrogeology, hydrology, marine geology, mineralogy, mining geology, paleontology, petrography/petrology, sedimentology/stratigraphy/historical geology, or water resources studies; and shall present evidence suitable to the board of at least 5 years of experience in the practice of geology, of which at least 3 years must have been under the supervision of a licensed professional geologist or a geologist who otherwise meets the requirements of a licensed professional geologist as determined by the board. Applicants meeting these ethics, education and experience requirements shall be eligible to sit for an examination to be administered by the board. Unless otherwise provided, applicants shall take the examination and receive a passing score.

(b) Experience in the practice of geology, obtained before the expiration of the period described in paragraph II of this section, may count towards the experience in the practice of geology under the supervision of a professional geologist required in subparagraph I(a) of this section if the supervising geologist met the education and experience qualifications of paragraph II at the time of the relevant experience. For purposes of this section, experience in the practice of geology does not include routine sampling, laboratory work or geological drafting.

(c) A completed academic year of graduate study in geology may be applied either towards a year of the experience requirement of this section up to a total maximum of 2 years, or to the education requirement of this section, but not both.

(d) A completed academic year of college or graduate level teaching in geology may be applied towards a year of the experience requirement of this section.

II. Following the effective date of the initial adoption by the board of rules under RSA 541-A, the board may issue licenses without examination to applicants whose applications for licensure have been received during a one-year period following the effective date of adoption of rules and who either meet the education and experience requirements of subparagraph I(a) of this section, or who provide evidence satisfactory to the board of knowledge and experience equivalent to such requirements.

III. Whenever information presented in an application for licensure or renewal is determined by the board to be incomplete or insufficient, the board may require additional information as necessary to determine if the application requirements of this section have been met.

310-A:126 Ethical Standards. No person shall be eligible for licensure as a professional geologist who does not meet the ethical standards of the profession as set forth in the Code of Ethics of the American Institute of Professional Geologists, or other standards adopted by the board.

310-A:127 Continuing Education. Evidence satisfactory to the board of the completion in each biennial renewal period of a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education shall be required for license renewal. The board shall identify the types of educational courses and activities that would further the professional competence of licensees. In general, the continuing education credits shall be determined on the basis of one credit for each contact hour of course instruction or professional development activity actually attended by a licensee.

310-A:128 Applications

I. Applications for licensure shall be on forms prescribed and furnished by the board, shall contain statements made under oath, showing the applicant's education and a detailed summary of the applicant's technical work, and shall contain not less than 5 references, of whom at least 3 shall be professional geologists having personal knowledge of the applicant's professional experience.

II. References relating to experience in the practice of geology performed prior to the effective date of this subdivision may be provided by either a professional geologist or a person determined by the board to be of equivalent ethical standards, education, and experience who may or may not have been licensed.

III. If the board denies the issuance of a license or a temporary permit to any applicant, any initial fee deposited shall be retained as an application fee.

310-A:129 Examinations. Written technical examinations in geology shall be held at least annually. The scope of the technical and professional examination and the methods of procedure shall be prescribed by the board. A candidate failing an examination may apply for reexamination upon payment of an additional fee determined by the board and shall be reexamined on the next regularly scheduled examination date. A candidate failing the examination 3 consecutive times shall be required to furnish evidence of additional experience, study, or education credits acceptable to the board before being allowed to proceed with the examination.

310-A:130 Certificates; Seals. The board shall issue a license, upon payment of the licensing fee established by the board, to any applicant who has satisfactorily met all the requirements of this subdivision. Licenses shall show the full name of the licensee, have a serial number, and be signed by the chairperson and the secretary of the board under seal of the board. The issuance of a license by the board shall be prima facie evidence that the person named in the license is entitled to all the rights and privileges of a licensed professional geologist while the license remains valid. Each licensee shall upon licensure obtain a seal of the design authorized by the board, bearing the registrant's name and the legend, "Licensed Professional Geologist." All papers or documents involving the practice of geology affecting public health, safety, and welfare, under this subdivision, when issued or filed for public record, shall be dated and bear the signature and seal of the licensed professional geologist who prepared or had responsibility for and approved them.


310-A:131 Interstate Licensure; Temporary Permit.

I. Applicants who are licensed, certified, or registered in another state, provided the other state's licensing, certification, or registration requirements are substantially equivalent to or more stringent than those of this state, may be granted a license without examination upon application to the board, submission of a copy of such license, certification or registration, payment of an application fee, and submission of evidence suitable to the board of good professional standing in the other state.

II. A person having no established place of business in this state who wishes to practice or to offer to practice geology in this state may make application to the board for a temporary permit. A temporary permit may be issued which is limited to practice on a specific project in this state for a period not to exceed an aggregate of 30 days in any calendar year, provided such person is a licensed professional geologist in a state or country where the requirements and qualifications for obtaining a certificate of licensure are substantially equivalent to or more stringent than those specified in this subdivision.

310-A:132 License Expiration and Renewals.

I. All licenses issued by the board shall expire on the last day of the licensee's month of birth the second year following the year of issuance, or upon such other biennial date as the board may adopt. The board shall cause notification of the impending license expiration to be sent to each licensee at least one month prior to the expiration of the license, along with a request for payment of a renewal fee. Licensees in good standing may renew their licenses by paying the renewal fee prior to the expiration date of the license, and by presenting evidence satisfactory to the board of completion of the continuing education requirements. If properly renewed, a license shall remain in effect continuously from the date of issuance, unless suspended or revoked by the board for just cause.

II. Failure to remit the renewal fee when due shall automatically suspend the license. A person whose license is canceled for such failure may reinstate the license by paying, within one year of suspension, all fees due, plus a late fee as established by the board.

III. If the renewal fee is not submitted within one year of the expiration date, an application for reinstatement shall be required and approved by the board to reinstate the license.

310-A:133 Investigations and Disciplinary Proceedings.

I. The board may undertake investigations or disciplinary proceedings:

(a) Upon its own initiative; or

(b) Upon complaint of any person which charges that a person licensed by the board has committed misconduct under paragraphs II or III and which specifies the grounds therefor.

II. A finding by the board of any of the following types of misconduct will be grounds for the revocation of a license:

(a) The practice of fraud or deceit in procuring or attempting to procure or renew a license to practice under this subdivision;

(b) Conviction of a felony or any offense involving moral turpitude;

(c) Unfitness or incompetency by reason of negligent habits or other causes, or negligent or willful acts performed in a manner inconsistent with the interests of persons relying on the expertise of the licensee;

(d) Addiction to the use of alcohol or other habit-forming drugs to a degree which renders the licensee unfit to practice under this subdivision;

(e) Mental or physical incompetency to practice under this subdivision;

(f) Willful or repeated violation of the provisions of this subdivision;

(g) Providing false testimony before the board; or

(h) Knowingly making or signing any false statement, certificate, or affidavit in connection with the practice of geology.

III. A finding by the board of any of the following types of misconduct may be sufficient to support revocation or suspension of a license:

(a) Unprofessional, unethical, or dishonorable conduct unworthy of, and affecting the practice of geology;

(b) Suspension or revocation of a license, similar to one issued under this subdivision, in another jurisdiction and not reinstated;

(c) Violations of the rules of the ethical standards of the profession; or,

(d) Failure to provide, within 30 calendar days of receipt of notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, information requested by the board as a result of any formal complaint to the board alleging a violation of this subdivision.

310-A:134 Investigations; Enforcement.

I. Any employee of the board engaged in making any investigation shall have the power to administer oaths to persons pertaining to any investigation. All files of an investigation in progress shall be confidential and exempt from the provisions of RSA 91-A.

II. The superior court, upon application by the attorney general, shall have jurisdiction to issue such person an order requiring such person to appear before the board, its members or agents, and to produce evidence, if so ordered, or to give testimony. Any failure to obey such order of the court may be punishable by the court as contempt.

III. The board is hereby authorized to apply through the attorney general for relief by injunction to the superior court, to enforce the provisions of this subdivision or to restrain any violation of the provisions of this subdivision. In such proceedings, it shall be unnecessary to allege or to prove that either an adequate remedy at law does not exist or that substantial or irreparable damage would result from any continued violation. The members of the board shall not be personally liable under these proceedings.

IV. The actions by the board shall be binding upon applicants for licensure and all persons licensed under this subdivision, and shall be applicable to any business organization which shall hold a certificate or registration under this subdivision.

V. Following an investigation of any complaint relating to a violation of any provision of this subdivision by a nonregistrant, and dependent on the result of such investigation, the board may present its findings to the attorney general, who shall enforce the provisions of this subdivision.

310-A:135 Hearings; Appeals; Penalties.

I. The board shall take no disciplinary action without a hearing. At least 14 days prior to hearing, all parties to a disciplinary proceeding shall be served, either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, with a written copy of the complaint filed and notice of the time and place for hearing. All complaints shall be objectively received and appropriately pursued by the board. Written complaints received by the board shall be acknowledged within 3 months of the date of notice to the board. Written notice of all disciplinary decisions made by the board shall be given to both parties to the proceeding upon their issuance.

II. The attorney general, or a designee, shall act as legal advisor to the board if the board so requests, and render such legal assistance as deemed necessary by the board in carrying out the provisions of this subdivision. With the approval of the attorney general, the board may employ counsel and necessary assistance retained by the office of professional licensure and certification in carrying out the provisions of this subdivision. Reasonable compensation and expenses for counsel and legal assistance shall be paid from the funds of the board allocated for such purpose.

III. At any hearing, the named person or licensee shall have the right to:

(a) Appear in person, by counsel, or both.

(b) Produce evidence and witnesses.

(c) Cross-examine witnesses.

IV. If the named person fails or refuses to appear, the board may proceed to hear and determine the validity of the charges.

V. If, after such hearing, the board finds that a violation has occurred, the board may:

(a) Reprimand, suspend, refuse to renew, or revoke any license or authorization to practice granted under this subdivision.

(b) Require a person to participate in a program of continuing education in the area or areas in which the person has been found deficient.

(c) Require a person to practice under direct supervision of a licensed professional geologist for a period of time specified by the board.

(d) Levy civil penalties for violations.

VI. Any applicant or licensee aggrieved by an action of the board denying, suspending, refusing to renew, or revoking its license may appeal the decision in accordance with RSA 541.

VII. Any disciplinary action by the board shall be published in the report of the board and shall be a public record in accordance with RSA 91-A.

310-A:136 Reissuance of Licenses. The board, for reasons it deems sufficient, may reissue a license to any person whose license has been revoked for more than one year, or suspended, provided 3 or more members of the board vote in favor of such reissuance.

310-A:137 Violations. The remedies and procedures provided in this subdivision are in addition to and not in substitution for other available remedies, procedures, or penalties.

310-A:138 Restraint of Violations. The superior court shall have jurisdiction in equity to restrain violations of RSA 310-A:124 on proceedings brought by the attorney general.

310-A:139 Exemptions; Practice of Professional Engineering.

I. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prevent or affect:

(a) The practice of officers and employees of the government of the United States or the state while engaged within this state in the practice of geology for the federal government or the state.

(b) Work customarily performed by archeologists, chemists, geographers, or oceanographers, providing such work does not include the design and execution of geological investigation, being in responsible charge of geological work, or the drawing of geological conclusions and recommendations.

(c) The practice of engineering by a licensed engineer, the practice of architecture by a licensed architect, the practice of forestry by a licensed forester, the practice of land surveying by a licensed land surveyor, the practice of soil science by a certified soil scientist, or the practice of wetland science by a certified wetland scientist.

(d) The practice of geology by any person under the direct supervision and control of a professional geologist, provided such work does not include being in responsible charge of final geological reports or decisions.

(e) The practice of geology by any person in the employ of academic or research institutions, agencies of federal or state government, and not-for-profit research institutions.

II. Professional engineers, when engaged in the lawful practice of professional engineering under RSA 310-A, shall not be precluded from performing work which is defined in this subdivision as within the practice of the profession of geology, nor by a requirement that such work be performed by a professional geologist.

Updated 10/7/15

This law is made available to the public by the:

New Hampshire Office of Professional Licensure and Certifictaion
121 South Fruit Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
(603) 271-2219



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