Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
Board for Professional Soil Scientists, Wetland Professionals, and Geologists
Regulations for the Geology Certification Program [18 VAC 145 ‑ 40]
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8/13/23  4:46 pm
Commenter: Bruce Mills

Benefits of Professional Geologists to Virginia

Professional Geologists serve the public and society by applying their knowledge toward the responsible use and management of the earth’s resources.  This is true whether they are employed by a government agency or a private firm.  


To have qualified individuals whose work and knowledge involves the practice in the field of Geology is important, in many ways, to the wellbeing of the general public in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  I will cite several examples of where this is true: in the field of mineral exploration and management  Virginia Energy - Geology and Mineral Resources - Mineral Resources; consultation related to earth events such as the 5.8 earthquake in Mineral, Virginia on August 23, 2011; the prevention and/or remediation of rock slides, which are periodic and reoccurring throughout the Piedmont and mountainous regions in Virginia; contributions to environmental studies of groundwater resources and pollution.  All of these examples involve areas of critical importance to the wellbeing and safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth.  We must have QUALIFIED individuals who know how to investigate the aforementioned, and who will study and provide answers to questions and solutions to problems that are earth related.  We must have qualified individuals in whom we can have confidence.


In numerous ways, the certification/registration/licensing of geologists is a means of contributing to the economy of Virginia.  A number of Virginia universities have excellent geology programs that educate in-state and out-of-state students who aspire to gain certification/registration/license as a Professional Geologist.  Additionally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals who have professional registration are more engaged in the work force and achieve higher earnings (thus providing more tax contribution) than those not having professional registration Professional certifications and occupational licenses: evidence from the Current Population Survey : Monthly Labor Review: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (


Professional Geologist certification/registration/licensing adds to the status of the Commonwealth in that it shows that we have high standards in our expectations of those who are practicing in this discipline.  I believe the National Society of Professional Engineers puts it well when they say, in part, “Licensed engineers also achieve an enhanced status in the eyes of the public, which equates the engineer with professionals licensed in other fields.


Licensure is an indicator of dedication to integrity, hard work, and creativity, and an assurance that the individual engineer has passed at least a minimum screen of competence. Of course, licensure is just a starting point for professional growth and development, and participation in professional activities is part of the ongoing activities of a true professional.”  Advantages of Licensure | National Society of Professional Engineers (  These statements apply to Professional Geologists, as well.


As a former state employee, I have seen that the government in our Commonwealth has made many efforts to keep Virginia high on the list of states that provide for the safety, prosperity, and advancement of its citizens.  Let us move forward with maintaining high standards for those who practice in the field of geology.

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