Licensing Information

The Texas Geoscience Practice Act was established in 2001, and authorized the creation of the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (TBPG). TBPG is responsible for protecting the public through licensure of individuals and firms that perform certain geoscience services in Texas.  The licensing process ensures the public that those performing geoscience work for the public in Texas have met defined levels of education and experience.

A professional code of conduct is outlined in the rules for licensure.

TBPG currently licenses approximately 4,000 Professional Geoscientists, 339 Geoscience Firms, and 137 Geoscientists-in-Training.

The Board also regulates the practice of geoscience through its enforcement program, and it provides information and outreach to the public.

Do I need to be licensed?

The Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (TBPG) was established by the Texas Legislature to regulate the non-exempt public practice of geoscience.  With the passage of the Texas Geoscience Practice Act (the Act/ Texas Occupations Code/ TOC, Chapter 1002), beginning September 1, 2003, unless exempted by the Act, a person may not engage in the non-exempt public practice of geoscience unless the person holds a license issued by the TBPG.  According to the Act, unless licensed by the TBPG, a person may not use the term, “Licensed Professional Geoscientist” or the initials “P.G.” as part of a professional, business, or commercial identification or title or otherwise present to the public that the person is qualified to practice as a geoscientist or engage in the public practice of geoscience.  The Act also provides that 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 by the TBPG.

Exempt activities:  Whereas the Act and/or TBPG rules specify the requirement of individual licensure/registration for an individual/firm to engage in the public practice of geoscience (or to use the “Professional Geoscientist” license title or the initials P.G. in a professional, business or commercial identification or title or otherwise represent to the public that the individual or firm is  qualified to engage in the public practice of geoscience), certain geoscience activities are specifically exempted from the requirement of licensure or registration.  Those activities are listed in TOC §1002.252.  In addition, an individual/firm currently licensed/registered by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE) is not required to be licensed/registered by the TBPG to offer non-exempt geoscience services; however, any non-exempt geoscience work performed by a Professional Engineer or an Engineering Firm is regulated by the TBPE.

One of TBPG’s key responsibilities is enforcement of the Act and TBPG’s rules.  This includes enforcing the requirement of licensure to offer or engage in activities which require a license and enforcing the TBPG’s Code of Professional Conduct, which is applicable to all licensed Professional Geoscientists, registered Geoscience Firms, and certified Geoscientists-in-Training (GIT).  A GIT is not qualified to engage in the non-exempt public practice of geoscience, but is certified to use the GIT certification title/initials and, like any other person, perform non-exempt geoscience activities under the supervision of a licensed Professional Geoscientist, who is responsible for the work performed.

Links to the Texas Geoscience Practice Act (Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1002) and TBPG’s rules (Texas Administrative Code, TITLE 22, Part 39, Chapters 850 and 851) are available on the TBPG’s website at www.tbpg.state.tx.us.

Who May File a Complaint?

Any person may file a complaint against an individual or entity (firm) who is not licensed by or registered with the TBPG, but is engaged in the non-exempt public practice of geoscience (or is using the “Professional Geoscientist” license title or the initials P.G. in a professional, business or commercial identification or title or otherwise represent to the public that the individual or firm is qualified to engage in the public practice of geoscience).  However, TBPG dismisses complaints alleging unlicensed or unregistered practice by a TBPE licensed or registered Professional Engineer or Engineering Firm are dismissed.  If the subject of a complaint is a Professional Engineer or an Engineering Firm and the allegations involve practice concerns, TBPG dismisses the complaint and the complaint is referred to the TBPE.

Any person may also file a complaint against a licensed Professional Geoscientist, a registered Geoscience Firm, or a certified Geoscientist-in-Training alleging practice concerns or violation of the TBPG’s Code of Professional Conduct or other provisions of the Act or TBPG rules.

How do I file a complaint?

Per TOC §1002.202, a complaint must be in writing, sworn to by the person making the complaint and filed with the TBPG’s secretary-treasurer or electronically through the TBPG’s website. Complaints submitted to the Secretary-Treasurer are received by the TBPG Enforcement Coordinator, who has been identified as an authorized deputy to the Secretary-Treasurer to receive complaints.  TBPG provides a complaint form which should be used to submit a complaint.  TBPG also provides an online complaint form that allows a person to submit a complaint directly to the agency electronically

TBPG staff or Board Members who become aware of potential violations may also submit a complaint in writing.

In addition, a state agency that becomes aware of a potential violation is required by TOC §1002.207 to forward information relating to the potential violation and any subsequently obtained information to the TBPG.  A state agency that becomes aware of a potential violation may also submit a formal complaint instead of simply forwarding information to TBPG.

  1. In order for TBPG to evaluate and investigate a complaint, it is recommended that complainants describe the complaint in detail, including dates, times, locations, and names involved. Complainants should attach additional documentation that supports your complaint. Please do not submit original documents.
  2. If a complainant chooses to submit a hard copy of a complaint, it may be mailed/e-mailed/faxed to:

Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists
ATTN: T. Wesley McCoy, P.G., Enforcement Coordinator
P.O. Box 13225
Austin, Texas 78711
E-mail: wmccoy@tbpg.texas.gov
Fax:  (512) 936-4409

How will I know the status of my complaint?

  1. At the beginning of the process, TBPG will send a letter to the Complainant and (usually) the Respondent (subject of the complaint) when a complaint is received.
  2. TBPG will communicate with a Complainant or Respondent by letter periodically as certain activities in the complaint process occur. TBPG will also send an update letter at least quarterly to the Complainant and Respondent.
  3. A Complainant or Respondent may contact the agency office in writing using the contacts provided for filing a complaint. A Complainant or Respondent may also call TBPG’s Enforcement Coordinator at (512) 936-4410.

What are the grounds on which the TBPG may take disciplinary action?

  1. The practice of fraud or deceit in obtaining a license as a geoscientist.
  2. Incompetence, misconduct, fraud, gross negligence, or repeated incidents of negligence in the public practice of geoscience.
  3. Conviction of a license holder of a crime involving moral turpitude or a felony; probation instead of a fine, for a misdemeanor relating to or arising out of the public practice of geoscience.
  4. The issuance of a cease and desist Order or a similar sanction relating to or arising out of the public practice of geoscience.
  5. The imposition of an administrative or civil penalty or a criminal fine or imprisonment or probation instead of a fine, for a misdemeanor relating to or arising out of the public practice of geoscience.
  6. Using the seal of another license holder or using or allowing the use of the license holder’s seal on geoscientific work not performed by or under the supervision of the license holder.
  7. Aiding or abetting a person in violation of this Act.
  8. The revocation or suspension of a license, the denial of renewal of a license, or other disciplinary action taken by a state agency board of registration, or similar licensing agency of geoscientists or a profession or occupation related to the public practice of geoscience.
  9. Practicing or offering to practice geoscience or representing to the public that the person or the person’s firm or corporation is licensed or qualified to practice geoscience if the person is not licensed under this Act or the person’s firm or corporation does not employ a licensed geoscientist as required under this Act.
  10. Violating this act, a rule adopted under this Act, including the code of professional conduct, or a comparable provision of the laws or rules regulating the practice of geoscience in another state or country.

What disciplinary actions may be taken by the TBPG?

The Board may take the following disciplinary actions:

  1. refuse to issue or renew a license;
  2. permanently revoke a license;
  3. suspend a license for a specified time, not to exceed three years, to take effect immediately notwithstanding an appeal if the board determines that the license holder’s continued practice constitutes an imminent danger to the public health, safety, or welfare;
  4. issue a public or private reprimand to an applicant, a license holder, or an individual, firm, or corporation practicing geoscience under this chapter;
  5. impose limitations, conditions, or restrictions on the practice of an applicant, a license holder, or an individual, firm, or corporation practicing geoscience under this chapter;
  6. require that a license holder participate in a peer review program under rules adopted by the board;
  7. require that a license holder obtain remedial education and training prescribed by the board;
  8. impose probation on a license holder requiring regular reporting to the board;
  9. require restitution, in whole or in part, of compensation or fees earned by a license holder, individual, firm, or corporation practicing geoscience under this chapter;
  10. impose an appropriate administrative penalty as provided by Subchapter J for a violation of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter on a license holder or a person who is not licensed and is not exempt from licensure under this chapter;  or
  11. issue a cease and desist order.

What is the Complaint Process?

Please see “How TBPG Resolves a Complaint” for a description of the steps involved in the complaint process.

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