Firm Registration FAQs

When was firm registration adopted and when does it go into effect? Board Rule §851.30 Firm Registration was adopted at the March 17, 2006 Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (TBPG) Board meeting and became effective on September 1, 2006.

TBPG Rule 851.30 (b): Unless registered by the TBPG or exempt from registration under Texas Occupations Code §1002.351 or elsewhere in this section, an individual or firm may not represent to the public that the individual or firm is a Professional Geoscientist or is able to perform geoscientific services or prepare a geoscientific report, document, or other record that requires the signature and seal of a license holder under Texas Occupations Code §1002.263(b).

What constitutes a “firm” under this rule? In Board rules, a “Geoscience Firm” is defined as “…any entity that engages in or offers to engage in the practice of professional geoscience before the public in the State of Texas. This term includes a sole practitioner registered with TBPG as a Geoscience Firm, a sole proprietor registered as a Geoscience Firm, co-partnership, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, joint stock association, or other business organization.”

Please see Rule §851.30 for more specific information regarding individuals or entities that are required to register as a Geoscience Firm.

If I do not work for a firm and only practice as an individual consultant, am I required to register as a firm? Whether an individual currently licensed as a P.G. who practices as an individual consultant offering or providing non-exempt public geosciences services is required to register with the TBPG as a Geoscience Firm depends on whether the individual consultant is offering services as an unincorporated sole proprietor or some other entity described in Board rules as a Geoscience Firm (see previous FAQ).

Rule §851.30 (c): A currently licensed P.G. who offers services as an unincorporated sole proprietor is exempt from the firm registration requirements in this section. A P.G. who is exempt from the firm registration requirements under this paragraph and who offers services under an assumed name must report the assumed name to the TBPG. A P.G. who is otherwise exempt from the firm registration requirements under this paragraph may choose to register as a Geoscience Firm and pay the current Geoscience Firm registration fee.

What are the registration and renewal fees for this requirement?  Fees for firm registration and renewal can be found under the Fees link (see also TBPG Rule 851.80).

Where do I obtain the necessary forms to register and when can I begin the application process?  The necessary forms are available on this website under the Forms link or by contacting our office at 512-936-4400.

Are there rules specific to the requirements of a registered Geoscience Firm? A registered Geoscience Firm, just like a P.G. or a Geoscientist-in-Training (GIT), is responsible for reading and understanding all of the rules of the Board.  The Code of Professional Conduct, for example applies to a Geoscience Firm (as well as P.G.s and GITs).  In addition to the full set of Board Rules, TBPG Rule §851.152 (Firm Compliance) and TBPG Rule §851.30 (Firm Registration) contain rules that registered Geoscience Firms will want to be very familiar with.

If my firm has branch offices, is a Professional Geoscientist (P.G.) required to be staffed in each branch office? No.  A P.G. or an individual working under the responsible charge of a P.G. must perform the professional geoscience services provided by the branch.  The P.G. performing the services may work full or part time at the branch office.  The services may also be provided from another location by the P.G. (other than the actual branch office) as long as the professional geoscience services rendered are rendered competently and ethically and in compliance with all Board rules.

Is a list of all the registered Geoscience Firms in Texas available?  Yes. By clicking the drop-down menu labeled “Online Services” on the TBPG website, a person may search for all registered Geoscience Firms in Texas.  The search may also be narrowed by using filters (e.g. only Geoscience Firms in a certain city or county).  For a printable list of registered Geoscience Firms, please contact TBPG for an electronic copy in spreadsheet format.

My firm performs environmental work, but contracts out to properly registered firms when the work involves the non-exempt public practice of geoscience.  How can we ensure that we do not violate the Texas Geoscience Practice Act or TBPG rules in our advertisements?  You may avoid violating the Texas Geoscience Practice Act or TBPG rules by inserting the following disclaimer in your public advertisements, brochures, and on the firm’s website:

“(Insert name of company) will retain the services of a properly registered firm to perform any work which involves the non-exempt public practice of geoscience in Texas.”

It is also important to communicate the distinction that you will sub-contract out the geoscience portions of a project to your clients.  Your firm will want to avoid violating the following Act and rule citations:

Texas Occupations Code §1002.251.  LICENSE REQUIRED:
(a)  Unless exempted by this chapter, a person may not engage in the public practice of geoscience unless the person holds a license issued under this chapter.
(b)  Unless the person is licensed under this chapter, a person may not:

  1. Use the term “Licensed Professional Geoscientist” or the initials “P.G.” as part of a professional, business, or commercial identification or title;  or
  2. Otherwise represent to the public that the person is qualified to:
    1. Practice as a geoscientist;  or
    2. Engage in the public practice of geoscience.

(c)  A person may not take responsible charge of a geoscientific report or a geoscientific portion of a report required by municipal or county ordinance, state or federal law, state agency rule, or federal regulation that incorporates or is based on a geoscientific study or geoscientific data unless the person is licensed under this chapter.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1276, Sec. 14A.004(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Texas Occupations Code §1002.351.  PUBLIC PRACTICE OF GEOSCIENCE BY FIRM OR CORPORATION:
(a)  A firm or corporation may engage in the public practice of geoscience only if:

  1. The geoscientific work is performed by, or under the supervision of, a licensed geoscientist who is in responsible charge of the work and who signs and seals all geoscientific reports, documents, and other records as required by this chapter;  or
  2. The principal business of the firm or corporation is the public practice of geoscience as determined by board rule and a principal of the firm or an officer or director of the corporation is a licensed geoscientist and has overall supervision and control of the geoscientific work performed in this state.

(b)  The board may adopt rules relating to the public practice of geoscience by a firm or corporation.  Rules adopted under this section must recognize that this chapter does not apply to an engineer or engineering firm that performs service or work that is both engineering and geoscience.  A firm that engages in the practice of both engineering and geoscience is exempt from any firm registration requirements created under this subsection.
(c)  Except as provided by this section, an individual, firm, or corporation may not represent to the public that the individual, firm, or corporation is a licensed geoscientist or able to perform geoscientific services or prepare a geoscientific report, document, or other record that requires the signature and seal of a license holder under Section 1002.263(b).

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1276, Sec. 14A.004(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

TBPG Rule §851.30 (b) Unless registered by the TBPG or exempt from registration under Texas Occupations Code §1002.351 or elsewhere in this section, an individual or firm may not represent to the public that the individual or firm is a Professional Geoscientist or is able to perform geoscientific services or prepare a geoscientific report, document, or other record that requires the signature and seal of a license holder under Texas Occupations Code §1002.263(b).

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