For Scientists and Engineers




The candidate applying for certification will need to include the following information with their application:

  • Information about their formal education related to groundwater (minimum of a bachelor's degree in a groundwater-related, applied science)
  • Professional experience related to groundwater (minimum of one year of full-time employment)
  • A short statement (300 words) as to why they want to obtain the designation and what they hope to achieve in doing so
  • A notarized affidavit including their commitment to the Canons of Professional Practice
  • Three references supporting the applicant’s candidacy
  • College transcripts
  • An application fee of $200 will also be due at the time of application.

Proof of Experience 

  • The candidate’s professional experience in the groundwater industry at the time of application determines the next course of action.
  • Those with eight or more years of experience are required to submit evidence that they have completed sufficient continuing education coursework outside of their regular degree curriculum to fulfill the diverse core competencies required.
  • The continuing education must be completed within the previous eight years prior to application.  This applicant may proceed directly to finalizing their application, described below.
  • Candidates with less than eight years of experience will be enlisted in a structured program to aid their professional development, allowing them to earn the designation faster than an individual who did not apply sooner in their career. Courses outside of a regular degree curriculum may also be reported if completed in the previous eight years.
  • The additional professional experience required following application would be determined based on the academic degree earned at the time of application.


During the candidate’s continued professional experience, they would complete the core competency requirements for continuing education, in the order they choose.

While working toward earning the CGWP designation, the individual would report their progress toward the core competency requirements annually to NGWA, using a continuing education form to designate what category/categories their coursework from that year would apply toward. NGWA will maintain these records toward the paperwork for the candidate’s final designation as a CGWP. A fee of $30 is included as part of the renewal requirement, due to be received at NGWA by December 31 each year, beginning the first full year after acceptance into the program. There is no maximum time frame in which to earn the CGWP designation, as long as renewals are maintained.

Core competencies

All candidates for the CGWP designation will be required to submit evidence of completion of courses meeting the following competency requirements. Coursework could be offerings from professional associations, accredited institutions not part of the candidate’s regular degree curriculum, or other professional continuing education sources.


Core competency areas

Geology and geomorphology

20 contact hours

NGWA or comparable courses

Groundwater geochemistry

20 contact hours

NGWA or comparable courses

Groundwater hydrogeology and hydraulics

20 contact hours

NGWA or comparable courses

Groundwater modeling

20 contact hours

NGWA or comparable courses

Groundwater remediation

20 contact hours

NGWA or comparable courses

Scientific writing and presentation

7 contact hours

NGWA or comparable courses


3 contact hours

NGWA or comparable courses


Coursework areas may be granted a reduction in hours given sufficient evidence of proficiency in a particular subject. For example, if groundwater modeling were the individual’s focus in his/her academic or professional career, he/she would be given a reduced number of hours or the requirement would be waived. This does not apply for the ethics portion of the coursework. Additionally, advanced degrees in a topic related to a core competency may qualify for a reduction or waiver of the core competency related. For example, one with a master's degree in geochemistry would not be required to obtain coursework in this core competency.


Completed application 

Once the candidate has met the required experience and core competency requirements, their application would be completed by submitting any outstanding evidence of coursework completed, a personal statement of professional growth (guidelines in development), and a recommitment to the Canons of Professional Practice.


The application materials will be reviewed by NGWA staff for completeness and forwarded to a panel of current CGWPs who will review the professional growth statement and determine eligibility based on sufficient evidence provided.


Upon entry to the program, the renewal requirements are the same as the previous CGWP program — 36 professional development credits reported on a triennial basis (once every three years), with a certification renewal fee. The first renewal for a new CGWP would start in the next whole year, i.e., if they were certified in June 2014, their first renewal cycle is from 01-01-2015 to 12-31-2017, giving the individual all of 2015, 2016, and 2017 to earn the required professional development credits or PDCs for short.