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Character and reputation
English language skills
(TOEFL test additional cost $200 to $250)
(Application processing fee $430)
National Professional Practice
Examination (NPPE) (additional cost $140)
(Annual membership dues $435)
and/or bridging training
(cost and duration vary)
Geophysicist Licensing Process, March 2011 1
Description of Occupation
Geophysicists are involved in the discovery or development of oil, natural gas, coal, metallic
or non-metallic minerals, precious stones or other natural resources or water that is aimed at
investigating the sub-surface conditions of the earth. This can involve reporting on, advising,
evaluating or the professional application of the principles of the geophysical sciences. In
environmental roles, geophysicists use seismic, electrical and electromagnetic techniques
and other techniques such as ground penetrating radar to evaluate ground water quality or
assess hazards. They are also often responsible for gathering and processing data. In
Alberta, Geophysicists often work in the oil and gas industry and can specialize in different
Obtaining Licensure in Alberta
Geophysicists must be licensed by the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists,
and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) to practice in Alberta.
Internationally educated Geophysicists can and should begin the application process before
they arrive in Alberta. They can apply as a Foreign Licensee or a Foreign Licensee. To apply
to APEGGA as a Foreign Licensee they should complete the Application for Registration
form. To apply as a Professional Licensee they should complete the Application for
Registration for Professional Licensees Application form.
Professional Licensees are allowed to practice geoscience within a clearly defined scope of
practice. This designation recognizes that certain qualified individuals can be permitted to
independently carry out certain specific functions normally within the definition of professional
geophysics without the supervision of a Professional Geophysicist.
Links to the Application Forms and other resources are at the end of this document.
Complete the APEGGA Application for Registration, and provide detailed and accurate
answers to all questions. When your application is complete with all documents, sign it and
send it to APEGGA at the following address:
APEGGA Head Office
1500 Scotia One
10060 Jasper Avenue NW
Internationally educated Geophysicists must meet the following licensing requirements:
1. Academic Credentials
To apply as a Foreign Licensee, an undergraduate degree in Geophysics is required.
! Complete the Request for Academic Documents and send it to the school
where you completed your Geophysics degree(s).
! Degrees and transcripts should be provided to APEGGA directly by
universities and/or colleges.
! If documents are written in another language, APEGGA will provide
translation services—free of charge.
Geophysicist Licensing Process, March 2011 2
To apply as a Professional Licensee, you will need a minimum of two (2) years of post-
secondary education that is acceptable to the APEGGA Board of Examiners that relates
to the practice of geophysics.
2. Work Experience
To apply to APEGGA as a Foreign Licensee, you will need four (4) years of experience
working professionally as an Geophysicist, including one (1) year experience working as
an Geophysicist in Canada.
! Enter your work experience information in the Work Experience Record
! APEGGA will contact supervisors and references for verification of
experience, character and English language competency.
! It is important to inform current and past employers that they will be contacted
by APEGGA to verify work experience duties and length of employment
! If you meet all APEGGA registration requirements except for Canadian work
experience, you are eligible for a Provisional License to complete the
Canadian work experience requirements (see below).
To apply to APEGGA as a Professional Licensee, you will need at least six (6) years of
experience in geophysical work that is acceptable to the APEGGA Board of Examiners.
! At least two (2) years of this experience must be in the defined scope of
practice and completed under the supervision and control of a Professional
! At least one (1) year of your experience must be equivalent to Canadian
3. Good Character and Reputation
Good character and reputation will be confirmed by the references you provide.
Provide payment with your Application for Registration. Payment summary is at the end
of this document.
! You can send a money order, certified cheque or enter a credit card number
in the application.
5. English Language
You must be competent in the English language, both written and oral, and be able to
effectively communicate in the workplace. If English is not your native language you may
demonstrate your English skills by either taking the Test of English as a Foreign
Language (TOEFL) or by providing APEGGA with a handwritten letter describing your
competence in the English language.
You must be able to communicate in English to become registered as a Foreign
Licensee, and must have one (1) of the following requirements:
! A TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 600 or more on
the paper-based test, 250 or more on the computer-based test, or 100 or
more on the internet-based (iTOEF) test, together with Canadian Professional
Engineer reference verifying your English Language competency. Provide a
copy of your TOEFL score sheet with your Application for Registration as a
Geophysicist Licensing Process, March 2011 3
! A handwritten letter describing why and how you are competent in the
English language. APEGGA will evaluate the handwritten letter, together with
Canadian Professional Engineer reference verifying your English Language
You must write and pass the National Professional Practice Examination (NPPE).
Technical Exams may also be required.
National Professional Practice Examination (NPPE)
! The NPPE tests applicants on professionalism, law and ethics.
! The test is two (2) hours long, and includes 100 multiple-choice questions.
! The minimum passing mark is 65 per cent.
! Applicants must have an active application for APEGGA and have at least
two (2) years of geoscience work experience to be eligible to apply to write
! Applicants may apply to write the NPPE before they receive their APEGGA
! It is sometimes possible for applicants to write the NPPE outside of Canada,
but this must be requested in the application to write the exam.
A Provisional License is available to internationally educated graduates who meet all
requirements for registration except for Canadian work experience. You do not need to apply
separately for this license. If you meet all the requirements, someone from APEGGA will
contact you and give you this option.
! This license enables Foreign License applicants to gain one (1) year of
acceptable professional work experience.
! A Provisional Licensee may practice geophysics only under the supervision
of a Geophysicist or a registered professional technologist who has
appropriate training and experience in the same area of practice.
! If you do not meet the academic requirements, you may take additional
examinations to apply as a Provisional Licensee.
• APEGGA may advise applicants to take additional training, such as academic, technical
or English language courses.
• It is recommended that you submit your Application for Registration to APEGGA online.
If you wish to apply by mail, use a registered mail or a courier service to send the
• APEGGA does not accept reference questionnaires from generic email addresses such
as Yahoo and Hotmail, as these email addresses do not provide authenticity of email
messages. Email addresses must identify the employer or company.
• APEGGA may issue a professional license allowing you to practice geoscience within a
clearly defined scope of practice. Professional Licensees are permitted to independently
practice geophysics in Alberta within narrow, defined scopes of practice and to take
responsibility for that work. This category of licensure recognizes that certain qualified
individuals can be permitted to independently carry out certain specific functions
Geophysicist Licensing Process, March 2011 4
normally within the definition of professional geophysics without the supervision of a
The following fees must be submitted during the licensing process. Payment can be made by
mail along with your application, or by fax or phone. Fees are in Canadian dollars.
Application Fee for Foreign Licensee $430
Application Fee for Professional Member $285
Application Fee for Professional Licensee $285
National Professional Practice Examination $140
Annual Dues (Foreign Licensees) $435
Annual Dues (Professional Members) $290
Annual Dues (Professional Licensee) $290
The overall average earnings for all Geophysicists, according to the Alberta 2009 Wage and
Average hours worked per week 39.4
Average wage per hour $56
Average salary per year $114,122
You can also consider working in Alberta in a related occupation such as a Seismic
Observer, Seismic Program Designer, Seismic Surveyor or Mapping Technologist.
For more information about additional employment options, go to the following website:
Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) Occupational Profiles — Geophysicist.
Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA)
1500 Scotia One
10060 Jasper Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4A2
Telephone: (780) 426-3990
Toll-free telephone (within North America): 1-800-661-7020
Fax: (780) 426-1877
This information is an overview of the licensing process. For the most current information on
Geophysicist licensing visit the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and
Geophysicists of Alberta website at www.apegga.org.
Application Forms and Information:
Foreign Licensee Registration Process
Foreign Licensee Application for Registration Form
Foreign Licensee Registration Application Checklist
Professional Licensee Application Process
Professional Licensee Application for Registration Form
Professional Licensee Registration Application Checklist
Geoscience Knowledge and Experience Requirements:
Geoscientists Canada Geoscience Knowledge Requirements
APEGGA Syllabi and Course Equivalents
Foreign Licensee Academic Requirements
Foreign Licensee Request for Academic Documents Form
Professional Licensee Academic Requirements
Professional Licensee Request for Academic Documents Form
Foreign Licensee Work Experience Requirements
Foreign Licensee Work Experience Record Instructions
Foreign Licensee Reference Questionnaire Instructions and Sample
Professional Licensee Work Experience Requirements
Professional Licensee Work Experience Record Instructions
Professional Licensee Reference Questionnaire Instructions and Sample
Professional Licensee Work Experience Records Form
English Language Competency
National Professional Practice Examination
Geophysicist Licensing Process, March 2011 5
Registration for Geoscientists Information
Registration Process Overview
Geophysicist Licensing Process, March 2011 6