Vol. 31 Iss. 10 - January 12, 2015

Chapter 20
Final Regulation

Title of Regulation: 18VAC145-20. Professional Soil Scientists Regulations (amending 18VAC145-20-10, 18VAC145-20-60, 18VAC145-20-90, 18VAC145-20-91, 18VAC145-20-100, 18VAC145-20-120 through 18VAC145-20-170; adding 18VAC145-20-145; repealing 18VAC145-20-70, 18VAC145-20-111).

Statutory Authority: § 54.1-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Date: March 1, 2015.

Agency Contact: Kathleen R. Nosbisch, Executive Director, Board for Professional Soil Scientists, Wetland Professionals, and Geologists, 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 400, Richmond, VA 23233, telephone (804) 367-8514, FAX (804) 527-4294, or email


The amendments facilitate the requirements of Chapters 777 and 859 of the 2011 Acts of Assembly that the soil scientist regulation program transition from certification to licensure and also include the following changes: (i) the board's adoption of the Council of Soil Science Examiners prepared exam, (ii) addition of continuing education requirements for the renewal and maintenance of licensure, and (ii) technical changes to eliminate language in the regulation that duplicates existing language in corresponding statutes and to clarify and improve the readability of the regulations.

Summary of Public Comments and Agency's Response: A summary of comments made by the public and the agency's response may be obtained from the promulgating agency or viewed at the office of the Registrar of Regulations.

Part I

18VAC145-20-10. Definitions.

Section 54.1-2200 of the Code of Virginia provides definitions of the following terms and phrases as used in this chapter:



Soil evaluation

Soil science

Soil scientist

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

"Application" means a completed application with the appropriate fee and any other required documentation, including but not limited to references, employment verification, degree verification, and verification of examination and licensure.

"Board" means the Board for Professional Soil Scientists as established by Chapter 22 (§ 54.1-2200 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"CSSE" means the Council of Soil Science Examiners.

"Department" means the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

"Field study" means the investigation of a site to secure soils information by means of landscape analysis and soil borings, excavations or test pits which are plotted on a base map or other documents (e.g., aerial photographs, topographic maps, scaled site plans, subdivision plans, or narrative description of the location).

"Practice of soil evaluation" means the evaluation of soil by accepted principles and methods including, but not limited to, observation, investigation, and consultation on measured, observed and inferred soils and their properties; analysis of the effects of these properties on the use and management of various kinds of soil; and preparation of soil descriptions, maps, reports and interpretive drawings.

"Soil" means the groups of natural bodies occupying the unconsolidated portion of the earth's surface which are capable of supporting plant life and have properties caused by the combined effects, as modified by topography and time, of climate and living organisms upon parent materials.

"Soil evaluation" means plotting soil boundaries, describing and evaluating the kinds of soil and predicting their suitability for and response to various uses.

"Soil map" means a map showing distribution of soil types or other soil mapping units in relation to the prominent landforms and cultural features of the earth earth's surface.

"Soil science" means the science dealing with the physical, chemical, mineralogical, and biological properties of soils as natural bodies.

"Soil scientist" means a person having special knowledge of soil science and the methods and principals of soil evaluation as acquired by education and experience in the formation, description and mapping of soils.

"Soil survey" means a systematic field investigation of the survey area that provides a soil evaluation and a system of uniform definitions of soil characteristics for all the different kinds of soil found within the study area, all of which are incorporated into a soil report which includes a soil map.

Part II

18VAC145-20-60. Qualifications for certification General application requirements.

A. Applicants for certification licensure shall meet the education, eligibility, experience and examination requirements specified established in Chapter 22 54.1-2200 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia.

B. All applications and accompanying materials become the property of the board upon receipt by the board.

C. The board may make further inquiries and investigations with respect to applicants' qualifications and documentation to confirm or amplify information supplied.

D. Applicants who do not meet the requirements of this chapter may be approved following consideration by the board in accordance with the provisions of the Virginia Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq. of the Code of Virginia).

18VAC145-20-70. Qualifications for examination. (Repealed.)

An applicant shall satisfy one of the following criteria in order to qualify for the examination:

1. Hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education in a soil science curriculum (see 18VAC145-20-91) which has been approved by the board and have at least four years of experience in soil evaluation, the quality of which demonstrates to the board that the applicant is competent to practice as a professional soil scientist; or

2. Hold a bachelor's degree in one of the natural sciences and have at least five years of experience in soil evaluation, the quality of which demonstrates to the board that the applicant is competent to practice as a professional soil scientist; or

3. Have a record of at least eight years of experience in soil evaluation, the quality of which demonstrates to the board that the applicant is competent to practice as a professional soil scientist; or

4. Have at least four years of experience in soil science research or as a teacher of soil science curriculum in an accredited institution of higher education which offers an approved four-year program in soils and at least two years of soil evaluation experience, the quality of which demonstrates to the board that the applicant is competent to practice as a professional soil scientist.

18VAC145-20-90. Qualifying experience in soil evaluation.

An applicant Minimum experience requirements are established in Chapter 22 (§ 54.1-2200 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia. Applicants shall satisfy the length of experience established relative to their education. Applicants shall demonstrate experience in two or more of the following areas:

1. Soil mapping. Compiling of Compiled soil maps representing at least 5,000 acres as a part of a soil survey or surveys with a formal mapping legend under the direct guidance of an experienced technical supervisor. Acceptable maps shall be Only maps in a published report, a report scheduled to be published, or a report of a publishable quality shall be deemed as acceptable for this type of experience;

2. Soil evaluation. Conducting Conducted at least 20 soil evaluations for specific land uses under the direct guidance of an experienced technical supervisor. Examples of such uses include, but are not limited to, on-site onsite wastewater disposal, residential and commercial development, sanitary landfill sites, forestry or agriculture production, soil erosion and sediment control, shrink-swell, or hydric soils. The finished product shall must have been submitted to a client or government agency (e.g., Health Department, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Conservation and Recreation, or local planning commission);

3. Field/Laboratory studies. Conducting Conducted at least 10 detailed field or laboratory studies under the direct guidance of an experienced technical supervisor. The field or laboratory study shall must have resulted in a soil evaluation report that was accepted by the client or government agency;

4. Research/Teaching. Conducting Conducted at least one research project as part of a thesis or publication or teaching taught at least one full time full-time course in a soil science curriculum at an accredited institution of higher education, the quality of which demonstrates to the board that the applicant is competent to practice as a professional soil scientist;

5. Consulting (public/private). Assembling or compiling Assembled or compiled soil information either with existing data or field studies, and evaluating evaluated data for a specific land use. The work may be either have been done independently or under supervision. At least three written reports shall must have been submitted to the client or government agency; or

6. Education. Each year of full-time undergraduate study in a soils curriculum or related natural science may count as one-half year of experience up to a maximum of two years. Each year of full-time graduate study in a soils curriculum may count as one year of experience up to a maximum of two years. With a passing grade, 30 semester credit hours or 45 quarter credit hours is considered to be one year One year equals 30 semester credit hours earned or 45 quarter credit hours earned. Credits Any credits used to meet the education requirements established in Chapter 22 (§ 54.1-2200 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia may not be used to meet experience requirements.

18VAC145-20-91. Core course requirements.

A. At least 15 semester hours selected from the identified courses below in this subsection or the equivalent are required for course work or a degree core to be considered a degree in a soil science degree curriculum or a soil science related natural science degree.

Intro to Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences

Soil - Plant - Animal Interrelationships in Grasslands

Soil Evaluation

Aluminum Chemistry in the Soil System


Soil Physics or Physical Properties

Soils Lab

Soil Genesis/Classification

Man and Environment

Soil Fertility/Management

Soil Survey/Taxonomy

Soil Fertility/Management Lab

Soil Microbiology

Soil/Groundwater Pollution

Soil Resource Management

Soils for Waste Disposal

Soil Chemistry

Soil Microbiology Lab

Topics in Soil Genesis

Forest Soils/Hydrology

Soil Seminar

Clay Mineralogy

Special Studies (Soils Based)

Soil Interpretations

Field Studies (Soils Based)

Advanced Concepts in Soil Genesis

Soils and Land Use

Independent Studies (Soil Based)

Soil Physical and Colloidal Chemistry

Soil Biochemistry


Soil Geomorphology

Soil - Plant Relations

Soil Conservation

B. An applicant Applicants may petition the board in writing to review the syllabus and other supporting documents of a course not listed in subsection A of this section for academic credit. The course shall must contain content to enhance the that enhances applicants' knowledge of the applicant in the study of soils. The applicant Applicants must demonstrate course equivalency in order to receive academic credit. Petitions to the board for such review must be made in writing.

18VAC145-20-100. Examination.

A. A board-approved examination shall be administered at least twice a year, at a time designated by the department.

B. An applicant must meet all eligibility requirements as of the date the application is filed with the department.

C. A candidate who is unable to take the examination at the time scheduled must notify the department in writing prior to the date of the examination; such a candidate will be rescheduled for the next examination without additional fee. Failure to so notify the department will result in forfeiture of the examination or reexamination fee.

D. A candidate approved to take an examination shall do so within one year of the date of approval or submit a new application and fee in accordance with these regulations.

E. Candidates will be notified of passing or failing the examination.

F. Upon payment of the reexamination fee, a candidate who fails the examination or any part thereof shall be allowed to retake the failed examination or any part thereof within one year of the date of initial failure notification. After the one-year period has elapsed, an applicant shall be required to submit a new application and fee in accordance with this chapter in order to take the examination.

A. Applicants shall be required to pass all parts of the CSSE-prepared exam.

B. Applicants shall meet all other requirements established in Chapter 22 (§ 54.1-2200 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia in order to be granted board approval to sit for the exam.

C. Completed applications must be received by the board no less than 60 days prior to the exam date or applicants may be deferred to the next exam administration.

D. Applicants approved by the board shall be exam-eligible for a period of three years from the date of their initial board approval. Applicants who do not pass the exam at the end of the three-year period are no longer exam-eligible.

E. To become exam-eligible again, applicants shall reapply to the board and meet all entry requirements current at the time of their reapplication. Upon approval by the board, applicants shall become exam-eligible for another period of three years.

F. Board-approved applicants eligible for admission to both parts of the exam must first pass the Fundamentals in Soil Science exam before being admitted to the Professional Practices in Soil Science exam.

G. Applicants will be notified by the board of whether they passed or failed the exam. The exam may not be reviewed by applicants. Exam scores are final and not subject to change.

18VAC145-20-111. Waiver from examination through reciprocity. (Repealed.)

An applicant qualified to take the examination may be granted a Virginia certificate without written examination, provided that the applicant holds an unexpired professional soil scientist certificate or equivalent issued on the basis of equivalent requirements for certification in Virginia, by a regulatory body of another state, territory or possession of the United States and is not the subject of any disciplinary proceeding before such regulatory body that could result in the suspension or revocation of his certificate, and such other regulatory body recognizes the certificates issued by this board.

Part III
Renewal/Reinstatement and Fees

18VAC145-20-120. Expiration.

Certificates Licenses issued under this chapter shall expire two years from the last day of the month in which they were issued, as indicated on the certificate license.

18VAC145-20-130. Procedures for renewal.

A. The department shall mail board sends a renewal notice to the certificate license holder at the last known address of record at least 30 days prior to expiration of the license. Failure to receive this notice does not relieve the certificate license holder from the requirement to renew the certificate license. If the certificate holder fails to receive the renewal notice, a copy of the certificate shall be submitted with the required fee in lieu of the renewal notice. A certificate holder License holders shall keep the department board informed of his their current mailing address. Change Changes of address shall be reported to the department board in writing within 30 calendar days of the change.

B. In addition to the established fee, proof of satisfactory completion of continuing education (CE) shall be required to renew a license. Documentation submitted as proof of completion of CE must demonstrate that the CE meets the requirements established in 18VAC145-20-145.

C. If the renewal fee is and proof of completion of CE are not received by the department board within 30 calendar days following the license expiration date noted on the certificate, a late renewal fee of $25 shall be required in addition to the regular renewal fee. If the certificate is renewed after 30 days from the expiration date and prior to 180 days of the expiration date, the effective date of the renewal shall be the original renewal date Upon receipt of the requisite fee and proof of completion of CE, the license shall be renewed for an additional two years. No certificate may be renewed more than 180 days following the date of expiration noted on the certificate A license that is not renewed within six months after its expiration is no longer eligible for renewal. The license may be reinstated pursuant to the requirements of 18VAC145-20-140.

C. D. The date a the fee is and documented proof of completion of CE are received by the department board or its agent shall determine whether a late renewal fee or, the requirement for reinstatement fee, or reapplication is applicable required.

D. E. A certificate license suspended by board order shall may not be renewed until the period of suspension has ended and all terms and conditions of the board's order have been met. Individuals renewing certificates licenses within 30 days after the suspension is lifted will not be required to pay a late fee.

E. F. A revoked certificate cannot license may not be renewed. An individual whose certificate license has been revoked must shall file a new application and obtain approval of the board board approval to recover certification licensure. Examination shall may not be waived.

18VAC145-20-140. Reinstatement.

A. If the renewal fee and, late renewal fee, and documented proof of completion of CE are not received by the department board within 180 days six months following the license expiration date noted on the certificate, the certificate license holder shall no longer be considered a certificate holder and will be required to apply for certificate pay the fee for reinstatement. The applicant shall meet the current eligibility standards for certification as a professional soil scientist. The applicant may apply by examination or by reciprocity. The board may require reexamination. The fee for reinstatement shall include the regular renewal fee plus the reinstatement fee.

B. If the reinstatement fee is and documented proof of completion of CE are not received by the department board within 360 days one year following the license expiration date noted on the certificate, the applicant, the individual shall no longer be considered a license holder. To become licensed again, the individual shall apply as a new applicant and meet all current education, experience, and examination requirements as may be required by the board established in this chapter.

18VAC145-20-145. Continuing education requirements.

A. Licensees shall complete eight contact hours of continuing education (CE) per year for renewal or reinstatement. CE shall be completed pursuant to the provisions of this section.

B. CE must be completed during the time prior to the renewal or reinstatement of a license and shall be valid for that renewal or reinstatement only.

C. CE activities completed by licensees may be accepted by the board provided the activity:

1. Consists of content and subject matter directly related to the practice of soil science;

2. Has a clear purpose and objective that will maintain, improve, or expand the skills and knowledge relevant to the practice of soil science and may be in areas related to business practices, including project management, risk management, and ethics, that have demonstrated relevance to the practice of soil science as defined in § 54.1-2200 of the Code of Virginia;

3. Is taught by instructors who are competent in the subject matter, either by education or experience, for those activities involving an interaction with an instructor;

4. Contains an assessment by the sponsor at the conclusion of the activity that verifies that the licensee has successfully achieved the purpose and objective for any self-directed activity; and

5. Results in documentation that verifies the licensee's successful completion of the activity.

D. Computation of credit.

1. Fifty contact minutes shall equal one hour of CE. For activities that consist of segments that are less than 50 minutes, those segments shall be totaled for computation of CE for that activity.

2. The number of hours required to successfully complete any CE activity must have been predetermined by the sponsor. A licensee shall not claim more credit for any CE activity than was predetermined by the sponsor at the time the activity was completed.

3. A licensee may not receive credit for any CE activity that was not completed in its entirety. No credit shall be given for partial completion of a CE activity.

4. A licensee applying for renewal or reinstatement shall not receive credit for completing a CE activity with the same content more than once during the time period prior to the renewal or reinstatement.

18VAC145-20-151. Fees.

The fees for certification licensure are listed below. Checks or money orders shall be made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia. All fees required by the board are nonrefundable. In the event that a check, money draft, or similar instrument for payment of a fee required by statute or regulation is not honored by the bank or financial institution named, the applicant or regulant shall be required to remit fees sufficient to cover the original fee, plus an additional processing charge as authorized by § 2.2-614.1 C of the Code of Virginia.

Fee Type

When due Due

Amount due Due

New application

With application


Examination fee

Upon approval for exam


Reexamination fee

Upon request to be rescheduled for exam

$75 for each part

Renewal fee

With renewal card Prior to license expiration


Late renewal fee

30 days after date of expiration More than 30 days after license expiration


Reinstatement fee

180 days after date of expiration More than six months after license expiration


Part IV
Standards of Practice and Conduct

18VAC145-20-160. Professional conduct.

A certified licensed professional soil scientist:

1. Shall not submit any false statements, make any misrepresentations, or fail to disclose any facts requested concerning any application for certification or recertification. initial licensure, renewal, or reinstatement;

2. Shall not engage in any fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in advertising, in soliciting, or in providing professional services.;

3. Shall not knowingly sign, stamp, or seal any plans, drawings, blueprints, surveys, reports, specifications, maps, or other documents not prepared or reviewed and approved by the certificate holder. him;

4. Shall not knowingly represent a client or employer on a project on which the certificate holder he represents or has represented another client or employer without making full disclosure thereof.;

5. Shall express a professional opinion only when it is founded on adequate knowledge of established facts at issue and based on a background of technical competence in the subject matter.;

6. Shall not knowingly misrepresent factual information in expressing a professional opinion.;

7. Shall immediately notify the client or employer and the appropriate regulatory agency if the certificate holder's his professional judgment is overruled and not adhered to when advising appropriate parties of any circumstances of a substantial threat to the public health, safety, or welfare.; and

8. Shall exercise reasonable care when rendering professional services and shall apply the technical knowledge, skill, and terminology ordinarily applied by practicing soil scientists.

18VAC145-20-170. Grounds for suspensions, revocation, denial of application, renewal or other disciplinary action Sanctions and powers of the board.

A. The board has the power to fine any certificate holder or to revoke or suspend any certificate sanction any license holder at any time after a hearing conducted pursuant to the Administrative Process Act, (§ 2.2-4000 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, when the person is found to have:). Sanctions may include but are not limited to the issuance of fines, the suspension of a license, the revocation of a license, or the levying of an additional requirement for remedial education. Sanctions may be levied against any regulant who has been determined by the board to have:

1. Committed fraud or deceit in obtaining or attempting to obtain certification. initial licensure, renewal, or reinstatement;

2. Performed any act in the practice of his profession likely to deceive, defraud, or harm the public.;

3. Committed any act of gross negligence, incompetence, or misconduct in the practice of soil science.;

4. Been convicted of a felony under the terms specified in § 54.1-204 of the Code of Virginia.; or

The board may suspend or revoke a certificate or may fine a certificate holder when the certificate holder has been found to have violated or cooperated with others in violating any provisions of Chapter 22 (§ 54.1-2200 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia or any regulation of the board.

5. Violated or cooperated with others having violated any provisions of Chapter 22 (§ 54.1-2200 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia or any regulation of the board.

B. The board may, in its discretion, refuse to grant, renew, or reinstate a certificate the license of any person for any of the reasons specified in subsection A of this section, or in circumstances where an individual fails to comply with the requirements of Chapter 22 (§ 54.1-2200 et seq.) of the Code of Virginia and this chapter.

NOTICE: The following forms used in administering the regulation were filed by the agency. The forms are not being published; however, online users of this issue of the Virginia Register of Regulations may click on the name of a form with a hyperlink to access it. The forms are also available from the agency contact or may be viewed at the Office of the Registrar of Regulations, General Assembly Building, 2nd Floor, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

[ FORMS (18VAC145-20)

Professional Soil Scientist Certification Application (with instructions), 3401CERT (rev. 9/10).

Professional Soil Scientist Experience Log, 3401EXP (rev. 9/10).

Professional Soil Scientist License Application (with instructions), A439-3401LIC-v2 (rev. 8/14)

Professional Soil Scientist Experience Log, A439-3401EXP-v1 (rev. 9/13)

Virginia Certified Professional Soil Scientist Application for Licensure, A439-3401GLIC-v2 (eff. 4/14) ]

VA.R. Doc. No. R12-2917; Filed December 17, 2014, 4:29 p.m.