Maintaining Your CGWP Certification

A Certified Groundwater Professional (CGWP) is required to renew their certification every three years. A renewal fee of $150 for NGWA members or $275 for nonmembers is charged at the time of approval of the professional development credit (PDC) points earned during the three-year certification period.

The renewal process includes submission of a renewal form, paying renewal fees, and submitting evidence of earning 36 PDCs during each three-year renewal period.



Individuals who fail to submit renewal fees and evidence of the required PDCs by the December 31 deadline will be considered as “nonrenewing” and will be notified accordingly and advised to cease using the CGWP designation after their names. (Materials must be received by NGWA by the deadline.) Nonrenewing CGWPs’ names will be removed from the active list at this time.

Nonrenewing CGWPs may be reinstated by submitting the renewal fee, a reinstatement fee, and required PDCs by December 31 of the year following their active CGWP status. After December 31, the nonrenewing CGWP shall forfeit the reinstatement option. Those who wish to reapply for the CGWP status in the future shall follow the same application process as those initially applying for the designation.

Extenuating circumstance situations and/or questions concerning applicable PDCs will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Professional Designations Oversight Subcommittee. These requests must be received in writing by March 31 following the end of the active status of the CGWP. Nonrenewing CGWPs with such circumstances who fail to submit written requests by the deadline are subject to loss of their certified status.

PDCs are given for: 

  1. Attendance at local, regional, national, and international technical meetings (NGWA, GSA, AGU, etc.) — three (3) credits per day attended, or appropriate fraction thereof; documentation of meeting must be supplied for approval 

  2. Participation in, or teaching of, short courses and workshops (NGWA, GSA, universities, government training, etc.) — four (4) credits per day of participation or appropriate fraction thereof 

  3. Publication in refereed journals (Groundwater®, GSA Bulletin, Water Resources Research, etc.) — eight (8) credits per published article 

  4. Teaching at universities, colleges, junior colleges where not normally employed — two (2) credits per one semester or quarter hour 

  5. Oral presentation of papers at technical society meetings — four (4) credits per paper presented 

  6. Enrollment and attendance at university or college courses in relevant subjects — seven (7) credits per semester credit unit earned/five (5) credits per quarter credit unit earned 

  7. Participation in, or presenting of, an NGWA webinar — two(2) credits per webinar presented or one (1) for participation.

Click here to view a listing of NGWA-preapproved educational offerings.

Watch this video to learn about reporting your continuing education credits for NGWA's Voluntary Certification Program. 

Medical leave

Certified individuals who are in good standing may be placed on an “inactive” status for up to 12 consecutive months due to injury or long-term illness. During this inactive time, the individual may not engage in any groundwater industry activity that is covered by the Voluntary Certification Program. Once the individual comes off of medical leave, he or she will have an additional 12 months after being reinstated as “active” to fulfill all certification requirements such as fees and PDCs. The certified individual will also be responsible for the current renewal requirements during this same time period. If such requirements are not fulfilled during the 12-month period, then the individual will be decertified and will be required to start the program all over again. 

Download the medical leave form.

Military leave status

Certified individuals who are in good standing may be placed on an inactive status for the duration of their deployment. During this inactive time, the individual may NOT engage in any groundwater industry activity that is covered by the Voluntary Certification Program. Once the individual comes off military leave, the individual has 12 months to fulfill the previous year’s continuing education requirements along with all current year’s requirements (fees, CEPs, and affidavit) to retain the certified status. If such requirements are not fulfilled during the 12-month period, then the individual will be decertified and will be required to start the program all over again.

Download the military leave form.

Retirement status

NGWA’s Code of Regulations defines retirement as “...those who have been active and who, as a result of retirement, disability, or other good cause, are no longer active in the groundwater industry....” NGWA realizes that certified individuals have made a long-term commitment to continuing education, personal achievement, and industry professionalism and may not want to “give up” the designation.

Below you will find a list of common questions, with answers, surrounding this topic. If you have other questions that are not listed, please contact NGWA at (800) 551-7379 or (614) 898-7791 outside the United States.

Q: What will retired individuals be responsible for submitting?
A: Initially, the retired person will be expected to provide a signed declaration form stating that he/she is indeed retired from the industry. No fees or PDCs will be required. After this first year, those who have stated they are retired will no longer pay fees or fulfill continuing education.

Q: What will the record state after the person has made a retired declaration
A: All individuals who declare themselves retired will be listed as “Retired in Good Standing” with the year of retirement printed afterward. 

Q: Can retired individuals continue to use the certified logo designation?
A: No. Once a person has elected the retired option, the individual may only use the retired logo. Individuals must indicate their retired status as follows: John Smith, CGWP — Retired in Good Standing.

Q: By declaring myself retired, am I eligible to participate in any kind of activity within the groundwater industry?
A: Yes. You may take part in any industry activity that interests you, as long as it is NOT the active participation in activities covered by the Voluntary Certification Program.

Q: If I declare myself retired, can I reverse my decision and become “active” once again?
A: No. Individuals may not move in and out of the retirement category. (Medical conditions are addressed separately.)

Download the retirement declaration form.