I was previously certified as a CGWP but I did not maintain my certification with NGWA; what do I do?

You must enter the program the same as a new applicant. Your professional and academic experience will have the same benefit to you as it would to any other applicant. There is no grandfathering for those who did not maintain their status.

What fees are required?

An application fee of $200 is required at the time of submittal. An annual renewal fee of $30 is then required to be submitted with check-in by December 31 each year, until the designation of CGWP is earned. The renewal cycle then follows a three-year pattern wherein renewal fees are $150 for NGWA members and $275 for nonmembers. These fees are all payable by credit card or by check payable to NGWA.

What is the overall process like?

Applicants submit evidence of their qualifying academic degree, professional experience, and any professional development courses completed within the previous eight years. The application is then reviewed by staff for completeness and assessed to determine how many core competency credits are outstanding based on what was submitted. Candidates are considered accepted if they meet the minimum requirements listed, but have not yet earned the CGWP designation. Individuals will submit records of courses applicable to the core competencies on an annual basis until all competency requirements are fulfilled. A final statement is then submitted to NGWA for a blind review by a panel of current CGWPs. Once approved, renewal is on a three-year basis thereafter.

What do I get for applying earlier in my career vs. waiting until I have the eight years of experience and applying directly to the CGWP?

Candidates who apply to be on the pathway to earn the CGWP not only have the ability to earn the CGWP faster in their careers, they will receive continuing input from NGWA as to which course topics are outstanding and what types of courses will best suit their needs for progress toward earning the CGWP designation. There is no designation awarded until the CGWP is earned and entry is complete.

Do my professional references need to be members of NGWA?

No. References should be individuals who can attest to your professional experience in the groundwater industry, but are not required to be members of NGWA.

What type of bachelor’s degree is required?

A groundwater-related, applied science must be the major course of study. Coursework must include at least introductory geology, an intermediate geology course, a techniques or modeling course, and a field methods component. Course descriptions may be required to determine applicability. A committee review may be required.

Are courses in CEUs? How is classroom time measured?

The hours required are recorded in 60-minute hours of education time. CEUs (continuing education units), professional development credits (PDCs), and credit hours are different measures, and, for consistency, will not be used for the entry requirements.

Do I have to complete the additional experience after applying if I already have a certain number of years as a groundwater professional?

If you have more than eight years of experience, you will not be required to complete additional professional experience before earning the designation. If you have less than eight years of experience, you will be required to obtain additional experience before being considered for the designation — the number of years is based on the academic degree completed at the time of application.

I have several more years of experience than the minimum of eight required for expedited application. Can I use this as credit toward the core competency requirements?

A maximum of 20 hours of core competency credit will be given for those with eight or more years of professional experience. Additional points may be given for advanced degrees and/or coursework completed within the previous eight years, as described in other FAQs.

Can professional experience be substituted for the required bachelor’s degree?

No. While it is appreciated that individuals may acquire a vast knowledge in their professional experience, the requirement of a bachelor’s degree in a groundwater-related, applied science is a requirement for the CGWP.

What if I have a master’s degree in geochemistry; am I still required to take 20 hours of geochemistry courses to apply?

No. Those with specialized degrees will be excused from the requirement relating to their degree, provided the degree is in a groundwater-related science and degree courses relate to the core competency requested.

What if I have been working as a groundwater modeler; do I still need to take courses in groundwater modeling?

In this situation, core competency hours would be reduced. If you have at least eight years of experience in groundwater modeling, you will not be required to take groundwater modeling courses.

I took several courses in college; how do these apply to my application for the CGWP designation?

Courses completed for academic degree requirements are not the intent of the core competency requirement. College courses taken outside of a degree program may apply.

How can previous courses help my application?

Courses completed within the previous eight years, outside of the curriculum to obtain the major degree, are applicable toward the core competency hours required.

I received a letter stating that my application was reviewed and there is outstanding coursework that must be completed. What do I do now?

Applicants who have been accepted and have outstanding coursework will be required to report their progress annually until the core competency requirements are complete. The annual report will include which core competency the education relates to and is due each year on December 31. Courses must be reported in the year they were completed for those who have been accepted into the program. If no courses were completed that year, applicants must submit a letter of explanation along with the required renewal fee.

Is it advisable to submit an outline or syllabus prior to taking a course for core competency credit?

To be sure that a course will meet the core competencies you are seeking, it is advisable to check with NGWA ahead of time for verification.

Does NGWA plan to offer a variety of courses specifically to meet the core competency requirements? Are those already in place?

Yes, NGWA plans to continue to offer courses that will meet these requirements. Courses from other providers may also be used.

What if I am between employers for a year during my progress toward earning the CGWP designation?

The professional experience requirement extends; the minimum number of years of professional employment must still be completed. Your year of unemployment would not count toward professional experience, and your minimum entry date would be a year later than originally projected.

How is certification determined?

The primary qualifier for certification is evidence of the required core competency hours, the professional employment history, academic degree(s) required, and completion of application paperwork on file at NGWA. Candidates will be notified on completion of their application which categories of core competency hours are outstanding, or notified that they should submit their statement of professional growth for final review. To finalize the process, applications and statements undergo a blind review by a panel of current CGWPs to determine approval or denial of Certification as a Groundwater Professional.