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Rocks are among the many things that geologists study.

Geology exam comes to CMU

Status as Michigan’s only test site could boost CMU graduates and program

Contact: Gary H. Piatek

Becoming the first and only location in Michigan where budding geologists can take a national exam required for licensing could help Central Michigan University’s own geology students.

Administering the Fundamentals of Geology Exam here will allow CMU’s geology program to use it as an assessment tool to help determine how well students are prepared in eight fundamental content areas and improve on the program’s 85 percent placement rate in jobs and graduate schools, said Lawrence Lemke, chair of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

The National Association of State Boards of Geology has approved CMU to be the only location in Michigan where geology majors can take the exam — a step toward becoming licensed. CMU seniors are encouraged to take the exam in their final semester or soon after graduation.

Before now, geology students and unlicensed geology graduates in Michigan had to travel to Indiana or Illinois to take the test, adding travel and lodging costs to examination fees that can run hundreds of dollars.

Those barriers blocked many students and geologists, especially those in mid- to upper Michigan, Lemke said.

For example, he said that while CMU graduates about 15 geology students per year, only 10 of them over five years have taken the exam.

“The number of students who will be able to take the exam will increase dramatically,” he said.

A license gives the holder a leg up on competitors in the job market, said Adam Heft, president of the Michigan chapter of the American Institute of Professional Geologists.

The tests are offered in October and March. The application deadline for the October exam is due Aug. 1.

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