January 10, 2018

In April 2017, the AGP Board of Trustees held a meeting in Las Vegas to discuss strategic planning for the next 3-5 years.  Prior to the meeting, four surveys were sent to various constituencies, including the Diplomates themselves.  Below is a summary of the meeting that took place as well as a summary of the surveys.  If you have any questions about the strategic planning meeting or the surveys, please email us at: info@geoprofessionals.org



The objectives of the Strategic Plan are threefold

1. Provide more value to those holding, and those seeking Advanced Board Certification

2. Increase the pool of Board Certified Geotechnical Engineers (D.GEs). To do this a conscientious effort will be made to increase the current number of 350 D. GEs to 1000 which is 8% of the current Geo Institute Membership.

3. Educate our clients as to the value of Board Certification and its result in elevating the quality of the practice of geotechnical engineering. Clients include, potential Board Certified geotechnical engineers, employers of said engineers, and users of geotechnical engineering services.

The effort to achieve the above stated goals will be achieved by promoting the value of Board Certification through all relevant print and electronic media, these will include but not be limited to placing advertisements and receiving editorial coverage; by participating as an exhibitor in related and well-targeted conferences and trade shows; by serving as official program presenters and panelists; by being sponsors of events that provide an opportunity to present the “D. GE Message”; and in taking advantage of like opportunities that may arise. These may include but are not limited to making presentations at and or to major engineering firms, government agencies, universities, meetings of high-impact organizations at the local, regional, and national level.

                                                    AGP Vision Statement

Board Certified geo-professionals are recognized and sought for high quality services.

                                                    AGP Mission Statement

To certify and promote exemplary geo-professionals who use their specialized education and technical excellence to contribute to the public health, safety, welfare and quality of life.

                                   AGP Value Proposition for Board Certified D.GE’s

Board Certification in geotechnical engineering differentiates you from your peers. It demonstrates high competence leading to personal satisfaction, professional success, and improved practice, resulting in superior service to clients and to the public.

                                                     Target Initiatives

 Alignment with the ASCE’s Raise the Bar Initiative

Spokespersons for the AGP program will participate in the ASCE’s overall “Raise the Bar Effort” by joining with other Academies in presenting and maintaining an awareness of the part Advanced Board Certification plays in achieving the ASCE’s stated goal in this regard and through its participation in the initiatives of the CEC.

 Possible Threat: ASCE’s “Intermediate Level” of Certification     

The ASCE is currently considering the development of a program that will provide an intermediate level of certification the criteria for which may not be as rigorous as those that apply to Advanced Certification currently only offered by the existing Academies.  This “stair-stepped” level of certification has the potential to mitigate the importance and emphasis on Advanced Certification. It is important that the AGP leadership be cognizant of the evolution of this proposed initiative and develop a position that will speak to the importance of Advanced Certification and the impact that an intermediary level of certification might have on the current program.    

Grow the number of D.GE’s

The current number of those holding the D.GE Board Certified Advanced designation is approximately 350. It is estimated that based on the data that appears in the 2013 McKinley report the pool of those eligible to apply for and receive Advanced Certification to be approximately 1,000. This number represents 8% of the number of G-I members who are possible candidates for D.GE Board Certification.

Engaging Younger Geotechnical Engineers in Positions of Leadership in the AGP Program                    

An effort will be made to encourage geotechnical engineers in the 45 year age range to become active in AGP initiatives including, but not limited to serving on the AGP Board of Trustees. See accompanying Action Plan for the first step which is to identify current G-I Members who fall into this category.

 Financial Goal

In order to achieve the financial goal of the AGP operating in the “black” at the earliest possible time it will be imperative that Recruitment and Retention efforts are successful. The reality is that given the criteria of Advanced Board Certification and the number of those who may meet those criteria from a finite pool of candidates, reaching this goal will be an on-going challenge. Meeting this objective is directly contingent on the success of effectively promoting the program as has been described in the attached Action Plan.


Any Strategic Plan, be it considered short, medium or long range should be reviewed regularly to determine not only the status of implementation but if changes in focus, direction, and actions are called for as events occur.



Survey Report


The AGP conducted surveys of four groups in April 2017.  The purpose of the surveys was to inform strategic planning for AGP. Surveys were conducted electronically. About two weeks were allowed for responses to be returned.


This brief report documents the surveys and summarizes and discusses survey results.



Number of invitations sent

Number of responses received

Response rate

Current diplomates




Potential future diplomates (G-I  members under 35)




Engineers who may be eligible but have not applied for board certification (G-I members who have PE and are over 35 but are not diplomates)




Owners” (List provided by DFI)





Response rate: Consulting SurveyGizmo, (https://www.surveygizmo.com/survey-blog/survey-response-rates/ accessed 06/10/17) the return rates appear reasonable. According to that source, “internal” surveys (e.g. employees) generally receive a response rate of 30-40% and “external” surveys return at 10-15%. For our surveys, response rates among the groups corresponded with degree of “buy-in” with geoprofessional board certification.


Key takeaways

  • The healthy response rate indicates strong interest in the program
  • Most current diplomates report satisfaction
  • There is room for more/better education about board certification
    • of “owners” who employ geotechnical engineers
    • of potential D.GEs.  Some are unaware of the opportunity; others don’t know enough to recognize the value; others stay away because they are misinformed about the application process; and some current D.GEs do not see sufficient value in the credential.
  • Many people see the D.GE certification as still gaining steam – it has unmet potential. It is too early to push for requiring board certification in a company or on a project.
  • There is discord about how the D.GE credential fits with the GE license required in some states (California, other?)
  • Perceptions vary widely of the rigor involved in obtaining the certification, and also what it should be
  • Future surveys need to be tested fully before disseminating


Following are questions and compiled (sometimes paraphrased) responses for each of the four surveys.


Survey of current diplomates


1. Where did you first hear about D.GE certification?

  • Induction Ceremony - 2
  • Friend/Colleague - 40
  • ASCE/GeoCongress Exhibit - 10
  • Editorial/”Look Who’s a D.GE Article in GeoStrata - 14
  • Other Trade Journal Advertisement - 6
  • Other, please specify – 12   The survey failed to give space for respondents to specify. Responses given in open field at end of survey:
  • I became aware of the AGP via ASCE membership, perhaps the Geo Institute announcements early on (missing the first round because it was not well publicized except for those close to the matter)
  • I was on the G-I Board of Governors when the D.GE title was created and thus my answers are probably not representative of most D.GEs


2. Overall, how satisfied are you with having obtained your Diplomate, Geotechnical Engineering (D.GE) credential?

  • Extremely satisfied - 38
  • Satisfied - 98
  • Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied - 17
  • Dissatisfied – 1


3. What was your primary reason or influence for wanting to become a Diplomate of AGP?

  • To gain further personal recognition by peers and employer - 16
  • To set myself apart from my peers in the profession whom are not D.GEs - 17
  • To help establish my credentials as a knowledgeable geotechnical engineer when pursuing work - 34
  • To gain a competitive advantage when proposing on projects - 7
  • My organization encouraged me to pursue the D.GE - 5
  • To advance my career in geotechnical engineering - 4
  • Other, please specify -12   The survey failed to give space for respondents to specify. One response given in open field at end of survey:
  • I wanted to encourage other engineers in my company (13,000 employees) to obtain their D.GE by my becoming the first.


4. What benefits of the D.GE are most important to you personally? (You may select more than one reason)

  • D.GE distinguishes my capabilities from others in my organization - 25
  • D.GE recognizes me as a leader in the field of geotechnical engineering - 54
  • D.GE represents advanced and extensive expertise in geotechnical engineering - 53
  • D.GE represents commitment to strong ethics, education, and continuing professional development - 45
  • D.GE serves as an example for future engineers to follow - 24
  • D.GE “Raises the Bar” in civil engineering - 36
  • Other, please specify – 5  The survey failed to give space for respondents to specify.


5. Please tell us how we are doing in terms of customer service – our service to you, our Diplomates. How satisfied are you with the customer service that the AGP provides to you? (In general, when dealing with the AGP staff

  • Exremely satisfied - 31
  • Satisfied - 97
  • Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied - 16
  • Dissatisfied – 2


6. Would you be willing to serve on an ad hoc committee to review and provide feedback on the AGP website content?

Yes – 31    No -  67   The survey did not provide a space for the people who answered “yes” to provide their names. Some did in the open field at the end of the survey.


7. AGP’s mission is to improve the practice, elevate standards, and advance the profession of geotechnical engineering by certifying engineers with specialized knowledge in geotechnical engineering, recognizing the ethical practice of geotechnical engineering at the expert level, encouraging continued professional development for engineers, and supporting positions on geotechnical issues important to the public health. In your opinion, what should AGP be doing to better promote the D.GE program to geotechnical professionals?


Many responses received. We have grouped them by category, though there is overlap. Feedback is only lightly edited (e.g., for spelling).


  • Exposure
    • D.GE is not well recognized and therefore does not have the effect it could and should.
    • No one knows what it means.  The most question I am asked is what is DGE
    • Keep the overall meaning visible
    • From what I have found, many that I speak to do not even know what a D.GE is.  It would be good for AGP to promote/advertise what a D.GE is and why it is good for geotechnical engineers to strive to achieve.
    • It would be helpful if ASCE could spread the knowledge what the D.GE is and what it means.   Very few people that I interact with, clients especially, have no idea what  D.GE means behind my name. Most think it is doctorate degree of some kind, but they add little significance to it.   Even with other Civil Engineers, very few know what D.GE means.  So if there could be more sharing within and outside the profession, that  "D.GE" indicates a higher standard of practice and knowledge than others without it, that would be appreciated.
    • Feature in GeoStrata magazine complicated or unique projects designed by diplomates.
    • Virtually all ASCE Chapters have a Geotechnical Group that meets monthly, have a representative of AGP talk about all aspects of the D.GE program
  • Advertising
    • AGP should advertise the importance of the credentials.
    • Light advertising
    • Possibly establish greater recognition within ASCE and other such organizations.
    • Place timely, descriptive, and appropriate size advertisements/announcements in Geostrata, ASCE News etc. about D.GE, broader purpose, recent inductees,  etc.   - which I think is currently done at some irregular time intervals ?
    • Divulgation campaign at Technical Journals, Meetings, Conferences, and maybe TV "interviews", newspapers articles.
    • Increase visibility of AGP in more periodicals and through social media.
    • AGP should advertise more and show why D.GE is important
  • Students, younger members, universities
    • Get the information about the certification program out to the student community
    • Promote the D.GE program at all the Geo Conferences because they are so heavily attended by students and young engineers.
    • Have better outreach at the universities
    • I recommend that the D.GE be the subject of articles in ASCE Civil Engineering magazine, in the DFI magazine, and in ENR
    • This may be occurring but I would like to see more universities promoting the certification, not just in Geo but the others as well, as a goal for the profession.


Focus on users of geotechnical services, government agencies, others

  • We need to make the credential more commercially valuable to those needing professional services. More specifically owners of projects/programs need to make the credential mandatory for specialized work.
  • Better publicizing the program to the public and civil/structural engineers.
  • We need our clients to require it. It is the single most important for the survival of DGE. Without that DGE will die
  • Better education of business about the benefits of using D.GE professionals.
  • Promoting the skills of D.GEs to other professionals we work with, such as structural engineers, architects, municipal engineers, etc.  Explain that it requires extra skills to obtain, and isn't just handed out to the average engineer.
  • AGP needs to convince client owners that requesting geotechnical services be supervised by a D.GE  will result in greater value and less risk to their projects.  This will in turn increase the value of D.GE's in the eyes of consulting firm principals.
  • Provide a better case for advanced certification being a distinguisher when owners are seeking geotechnical engineers to perform work. 
  • Promote the requirement of D.GE on large projects.
  • Many perceive it just to be another "fee" to pay.  Some real examples from clients/buyers directly on how they selected their geotechnical partners would be beneficial.  Quotes from DGEs don't convey value.  Quotes from buyers would.
  • The key is to promote to tiers of governmental agencies, having them to give D.GEs higher scores in SOQ evaluations for their project RFQs.
  • It seems to me that the program is well-advertised and known by the geotechnical professionals. To get more persons into the program, there has to be 1) ability 2) the desire. This "desire" can be effectively increased by commercial pressure. Make the value of the D.GE known outside the geotechnical community, perhaps extending or outreaching to the architects. Then, the question will be "why don't you have a D.GE?"
  • AGP should be doing more connection with the Architects, Structural Engineers, Contractors to let them know what AGP's missions are.
  • Have government and industry leaders make it known that they support obtaining certification, just as in the past they supported/required professional registration.
  • Promote to state and city governments.
  • Promote purpose and goals of AGP with decision makers in regulatory agencies.
  • More needs to be done to promote the D.GE program to the public and parties who might retain the services of a geoprofessional.
  • Communicating what it is to the community at large. Most people don't know what it is
  • More people need to know about this - engineers and our clients
  • In my opinion the program needs to be advertised more not only to geoprofessionals but also to the community as a whole. Many clients are not aware of the "advanced status" a DGE represents. Additionally, I do not see that those within the professional (and certainly the general population) place an added value on this certification.
  • Work with trade magazines (e.g., Roads and Bridges) to bring the value of D.GE to other civil engineers and owners.



  • I am not sure how to better promote.  The impetus should come from a need to distinguish the geotechnical engineer as an "expert" apart from other disciplines.
  • Make it a mandatory requirement for attainment of higher ASCE grades
  • Be more visual in publications and meetings
  • Would like to see us recognized comparable to the medical profession where the doctors are "board certified" which sets them apart from others in the profession....the colleges and universities should discuss the benefits and importance beyond the PE level...certainly our professional trade magazines should promote the idea
  • I am not familiar with current efforts to promote the D.GE., but I hope that NSPE's support for post-PE credentialing is being sought.
  • Inform them ın all geotechnıcal engıneerıng actıvıtıes around
  • Issue a roster and give a number to DGE based on the date of becoming a member.
  • Establish agreement not to work against other engineers w/D.GE
  • At least begin the process of specialty registration based on the D.GE.  Otherwise, it has little practical use.
  • Work with major engineering firms to have them require the D.GE for advancement to higher level positions


Certification process, standards

  • Just make sure the credential means something - careful screening of applicants - have we turned anyone down (not qualified?) any statistics on this? - specifics by mission - how have we improved practice? elevated standards? recognized ethical practice? supporting positions on geotechnical issues important to the public health?  It would be good to show how we are making progress on all fronts with specific examples.  I would also avoid mission creep with the whole sub-specialty thing (you have already heard from me on this!).  I think that is perhaps well intentioned but misguided and over-reaching.
  • Strengthen the requirements for admission to the rank of D.GE, making it the equivalent of being named an FAIA. Currently, the standards are not high enough.
  • It should be tougher to get.  I've run into a couple of folks who shouldn't be D.GE.  Don't let it dilute... that will make it more meaningful, more attractive.
  • To be distinctive, the process should be more selective.
  • Make enrollment easier
  • I found my application to be cumbersome and in my case very political due to some board members with a conflict of interest.  The application process needs to be revised


Value proposition

  • I am not sure what benefits are derived.
  • Make it clear what the value proposition is.
  • Demonstrate the value of the process by providing significant access to those that have achieved D.GE status. 
  • There is no other recognition for continued career technical practice of geotechnical engineering short of obtaining a doctorate. A professional is accepted as a diplomate by review of experienced peers. These two points need to be continually represented by the AGP.
  • Greater recognition such as the use of ribbons at conferences, perhaps a special DGE event at conferences such as a breakfast or dinner with a short business program, more information in "Civil Engineering" and other trade magazines and publications.
  • Share with members how other similar groups recognize their members and provide them with privileges within their society/industry.
  • Demonstrate value! Unless geotechnical engineers, and their employers, derive tangible benefits from the D.GE program, it will be difficult to attract new D.GE candidates.
  • Continue your efforts in # 5 above



  • In my opinion they do a good job now
  • I actually think AGP does a good job of promoting the program
  • I think it is doing well.
  • I think ASCE/AGP is doing a good job of this already
  • I think that AGP is doing an excellent job in making the AGP program known and promoting it among geotechnical professionals.


No recommendation given

  • Not sure, no specific advice (5)
  • I am ambivalent about D. GE.
  • They are doing fine but they can do more for the profession
  • Not sure how to improve relevance of AGP, it just adds another layer of bureaucracy to the profession without any apparent special benefit.  
  • This is a fairly comprehensive description, and concise. I do not think more definition is needed


8. Thank you for taking the time to improve the AGP by completing this survey. Please share any other feedback on the AGP and what it means to you.


Positive feedback

  • It is good to have DGE for geotechnical engineers
  • I'm proud to be an accomplished geotech engineer and proud to have a GE (Calif) and a D.GE (AGP)
  • I am honored to be included with so many accomplished engineers.
  • A sense of pride in our profession. 
  • A sense of accomplishment
  • Yes, will do.
  • I like the community of kindred souls.
  • I appreciate that AGP is trying to become more relevant within our profession.  Best wishes!
  • I think that the AGP is a good thing.
  • I hold an honorary membership, but I am in good company.


Value proposition

  • Geotechnical engineers must see that the accreditation will help their careers in addition to advancing the profession for the idea to take hold.
  • So far, I haven't really seen the value.
  • I am not sure what benefits are available.
  • I am considering dropping my DGE registration.  I have been a DGE since its establishment and have seen no benefit (personally or professionally) for the time and cost of this registration. 



  • Again, the clients need to require for it to have teeth
  • I sincerely hope AGP will be successful in convincing client owners and the geotechnical profession overall of the value represented by D.GE certification as is the case with specialty certifications in other Civil Engineering disciplines and other professions.
  • The AGP concept will take decades to see full expectations, so we must keep working on promotion in all venues.
  • More publicity, more in government federal and state levels is required for its wider recognition (private sector recognize it well)



  • I would like to see AGP more involved in improving the standard of practice especially in the general "small project" practice.
  • The min. requirement of 8 yrs after receiving PE is too short a time frame for this credential.  I suggest it be at least 12 years AFTER obtaining PE license.
  • Continue on the review committee with Bob Holtz.
  • I am in my mid 70s and semi retired. Most of my work is as a volunteer. I read and study about engineering but it is difficult for me to spend time away from my home / office on continuing education (not required in WA), so I have not been able to keep up with the continuing education requirements for  DGE.
  • I wish we had a smaller lapel pin.
  • The web site should indicate any specialties in which the diplomates practice.
  • I hope other qualified geotechnical engineers will see the significance of the D.GE in establishing a standard excellence in our field
  • D.GEs should be encouraged to participate in committees.
  • Volunteered to serve on Examination Committee but never heard back from anyone.  Would be willing to serve on any committee that needs help.  <name provided>



Survey of potential future diplomates


1. Do you expect to meet the minimum requirements someday? (PE license, Masters degree, 8 years’ post PE experience)

Yes  89    No  2    Not sure  1  


2. Do you think that D.GE Certification is a viable program for achieving a better quality within practice of geotechnical engineering?

Yes  45    No  6    Not sure  41   


3. Should owners and organizations be encouraged to require that select individuals be certified to work on their projects (e.g., require that the project manager or design Engineer of Record be a D.GE)?

Yes  42    No  20    Not sure  29   


4. Should your firm support the concept of the D.GE Certification program?

Yes  66    No  2    Not sure  24   


5. Should your firm require D.GE certification for professional advancement in the firm (e.g., one of the requirements for promotion to Senior Professional would be D.GE Certification)?

Yes  33    No  31    Not sure  27   


Thank you for taking the time to improve the AGP by completing this survey. Please share any other feedback on the AGP and what it means to you.


Comments paraphrased and grouped:


Generally supportive feedback

  • I plan to pursue D.GE certification
  • D.GE certification is prestigious and should be recognized more
  • Certification for select geotechnical  consultants in lead design engineer or project management positions is a good idea
  • I will pursue the D.GE if it will make me more marketable 
  • I agree that there should be ongoing training and recognition of outstanding work


Awareness, understanding of the certification process and the meaning of certification

  • I was not aware of the D.GE certification until now or very recently (5)
  • Potential diplomates need to be better informed about D.GE (4)
  • Employers, clients need to be better informed about D.GE (2)
  • Certification will become a more common practice once it has become more widely known (3)
  • I am confused over what D.GE means, the vetting process (3)
  • I am confused between GE and D.GE (3)
  • To require use of D.GEs on projects, clients need more and better education about the value of  geotechnical engineering

The program needs to gain momentum

  • It’s too early now to make D.GE a requirement on projects
  • The D.GE will not gain prominence until it is required by owners/government to participate in design and win work 


Requirement of D.GE on projects or by employees

  • I work for a federal agency that probably should not require this credential for their engineers
  • I don't agree that D.GE professionals should be sought out by owners / clients
  • Not all projects may require involvement of an elite-level engineer (2) 
  • D.GE status of one individual might preclude fair competition from an equally qualified but non-certified engineer
  • D.GE certification should not be required by employers
  • GE licensure (perhaps instead of D.GE certification) should be mandated by the state, not employers
  • Consider how a requirement for D.GE on a project will affect international engineers working in the US



  • Evaluators should recognize complexities with evaluating undergraduate degree from outside US
  • Evaluators should check applicants’ Master's degrees – comprehensive geotechnical program versus a broad plan that included a few Geotech classes
  • Oral exam is burdensome and not standardized
  • Continuing education requirements are too much
  • D.GE should certify soundness in both engineering and economics



  • If everyone who is eligible obtains D.GE then it will be more widely known. But wide availability dilutes prestige. If on the other hand the certification is limited to a privileged few then supply will be insufficient.  (2)
  • Good engineers are defined by more than just credentials
  • Employees who obtain D.GE should be rewarded by their employers





Survey of engineers who may be eligible but have not applied


1. Are you currently a D.GE?

Yes 34   No 346      The survey was intended to target people who are not yet D.GEs, but apparently the ASCE database does not capture all diplomates. It’s good that we asked this question. But the people who answered “yes” got the same followup questions as the rest – not relevant for them.


2. Have you considered become certified as a D.GE?

Yes 239   No 141


3. Does your firm cover the annual cost of being certified as a D.GE?  Would they cover the cost if you were to become certified?

Yes 207   No 173


4. We would be interested to know why you haven't become a Diplomate.

  • Too busy to go through process    104
  • No value      49
  • Don’t want to take exam    35
  • Process is too onerous    21
  • Cost      19
  • Paperwork    9
  • Too much time    3
  • Other    124  The survey did not give the option to explain this answer.


5. Do you think that D.GE Certification is a viable program for achieving a better quality within the practice of geotechnical engineering?

Yes 245   No 135


6. Should owners and organizations be encouraged to require that select individuals be certified to work on projects (e.g., require that the project manager or design Engineer of Record should be a D.GE)?

Yes 156   No 224


7. Should your firm support the concept of the D.GE Certification program?

Yes 241   No 139


8. Should your firm require D.GE certification for professional advancement in the firm (e.g., one of the requirement for promotion to Senior Professional would be D.GE Certification)? Please explain.


Responses (comments paraphrased)                                                                                                            Number

Yes (unqualified)                                                                                                                                                              32

Qualified Yes answers

  • For specific career paths (Principal/Director)                                                                                        17

Total “Yes” answers                                                                                                                                        49

No (unqualified)                                                                                                                                                               91

Qualified No answers

  • GE is more rigorous than D.GE                                                                                                                    21
  • There are multiple paths to promotion                                                                                                   17
  • PE is sufficient                                                                                                                                                   15
  • Encourage it but do not require it                                                                                                             14
  • Clients don’t know about /don’t require D.GE                                                                                      10
  • D.GE certification is of no value                                                                                                                    9
  • I have no knowledge of D.GE                                                                                                                        9
  • Certification does not guarantee higher quality service                                                                     6
  • I work for government agency – not supported                                                                                    6
  • Certification is not applicable work for a multi-disciplinary firm                                                      6
  • I am a university professor, different promotion criteria – “support”, “why charge us”        5
  • It’s for those who need self-satisfaction - “need to be special”                                                       5
  • No but perhaps it could be used as a marketing tool                                                                           4
  • I work outside US, certification is of no value to me                                                                            4
  • Certification is not in alignment with our firm’s advancement policies                                         4
  • Geotech is outside my area of practice                                                                                                      4
  • I will only do it if firm pays for application and annual fee - “too costly”                                      4
  • I am retired                                                                                                                                                          3
  • I am a sole practitioner                                                                                                                                    2
  • D.GE certification is for an exclusive group – “old out of date engineers”                                   2
  • I work for a contractor, certification is not needed                                                                              2
  • I don’t understand the D.GE                                                                                                                          2
  • I gave up my D.GE because the continuing education was too time consuming                       1
  • MS should not be required                                                                                                                            1
  • Only PE and MS are needed                                                                                                                          1
  • D.GE is not rigorous enough                                                                                                                          1
  • Certification is a revenue generator for ASCE                                                                                         1
  • I don’t trust ASCE                                                                                                                                               1
  • D.GE is not appropriate for private firms                                                                                                  1                          
  • We won’t pursue it unless it can be shown that it helps profitability                                            1                                                            

Subtotal “No” answers                                                                                                                                 252

                Total                                                                                                                                                                     302



Thank you for taking the time to improve the AGP by completing this survey. Please share any other feedback on the AGP and what it means to you.

Comments (paraphrased)Color code: Supportive   Neutral   Critical                                          Number

I was not aware of the program                                                                                                                            20

I will apply                                                                                                                                                                           7

D. GE certification was capstone of my career, important to me – “need recognition”                        7

GE is all that is needed, other states should adopt it                                                                                         5

Helps make the world, society a better place, a good thing, concept good                                               4

PE is enough                                                                                                                                                                      4

Not widely recognized/successful                                                                                                                             4

For academic elites – “ego”, “club for elites”, “mutual admiration society”                                             4

No interest – “offered to me, not worth the fee”, “cost too high”                                                                3

Should not have to pay for a title                                                                                                                               3

Has value                                                                                                                                                                             2

Must be recognized as a differentiator                                                                                                                   2

I am retired                                                                                                                                                                        2

Will not promote higher quality work                                                                                                                      2

Remove the requirement for PDH’s                                                                                                                         2

There are too few D.GE’s                                                                                                                                              1

I live out of country                                                                                                                                                         1

Not having D.GE does not make you less of an engineer                                                                                 1

I’m the only D.GE in the USACE                                                                                                                                  1

Have an organizational D. GE                                                                                                                                      1

I don’t need to be examined                                                                                                                                       1

Application process is too long                                                                                                                                   1

Need to make process more rigorous, need a closed book exam                                                                 1

References are not necessary                                                                                                                                     1

Process is not fair to PhD’s                                                                                                                                           1

Requiring D.GE reeks of a “sweatshop”                                                                                                                  1

ASCE professional development courses are too expensive                                                                           1

D.GE discriminates against older engineers                                                                                                          1

Benefits to members should be disclosed                                                                                                              1

Process should not be political                                                                                                                                    1

It’s a revenue stream for ASCE                                                                                                                                   1

Experience is more valuable than certification                                                                                                     1

It’s better to raise the PE bar                                                                                                                                       1

“Diplomate” is a poor title, it is not understood                                                                                                  1



Survey of owners

Diplomate, Geotechnical Engineering (D.GE) certification means that someone is a Board certified geotechnical engineer.  It is housed in the Academy of Geo-Professionals (AGP) and supported by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).  A certified D.GE meets minimum experience requirements after obtaining a PE and the person’s academic credentials and work history have been reviewed and approved by an independent group of experienced geotechnical engineers.   Have you heard of D.GE certification?

Yes 26    No 32


Does the idea of having Board-Certification of Geotechnical Engineers provide benefit when you are selecting subconsultants?

Yes 40    No 18


Do you think that D.GE Certification is a viable program for achieving a better quality of practice within geotechnical engineering?

Yes 43    No 15


Would you as an owner someday encourage the use of Board-certified geotechnical engineers to work on projects (e.g., require that the project manager or design Engineer of Record should be a D.GE)?

Yes 39    No 19


Would your firm be willing to support the concept of the D.GE Certification program?

Yes 29    No 29


Would your firm consider requiring D.GE certification for professional advancement in your firm (e.g., one of the requirement for promotion to Senior Professional would be D.GE Certification)?  Please explain.

This was an open-ended question.  Of 38 responses, 6 were clearly positive and 17 were clearly negative. Ten respondents stated that they work in government so the question was not precisely relevant.



  • Board certification demonstrates specialized expertise
  • Qualifications-based certification combats promotion solely by favoritism
  • Board certification helps advancement to Principal Engineer level (technical leader, subject matter expert)


  • Board certification adds complexity without sufficient benefit
  • There are only a few geotechnical engineers in my firm
  • There are not yet enough geotechnical engineers eligible for certification
  • We will comply only if it’s required by law/regulation
  • Meaningful impact is doubtful
  • In a state that already has GE registration, D.GE is not needed and adds confusion.

Some other comments:

  • While board certification may not become a requirement, it is an asset to the individual [and therefore the firm employing the D.GE]
  • The company will comply if the client requires certification
  • My company does not require board certification now, but we might consider a change in the future
  • There are other equally valid avenues for advancement in the company that don’t require advanced technical knowledge in one field (e.g. developing expertise in project management)
  • Find a way to make the D.GE replace the PE so as not to overly burden small firms


Thank you for taking the time to improve the AGP by completing this survey. Please share any other feedback on the AGP and what it means to you.


  • Respondents noted that the credential is useful – it establishes a standard of knowledge about geotechnical engineering, and the ethics component serves to increase public trust – and the community is becoming more familiar with it.
  • Advice was given to be careful to maintain quality, consider rethinking the acronym “D.GE”, and not to overly emphasize the MS degree requirement over extensive experience when considering a candidate for certification. The point was made that the D. GE credential, while useful, does not by itself fully demonstrate a person’s qualifications, expertise, or advancement potential. One respondent stated that GE licensure makes the D.GE certification unnecessary.
  • Some respondents declined to engage, either because they are not currently practicing geotechnical engineering, they are not in a position to speak for the firm, or they have never heard of the program. While some surveys may have missed the target audience, this response might also indicate that some people who are not geotechnical engineers but are in positions to hire or manage them do not recognize their role in advancing the case for board certification.