Professional Horticulture Certifications


There are several excellent certifications available for horticulture professionals in Florida. Florida Chapter International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association (FNGLA) , and Florida Recreation & Park Association (FRPA) have programs available. There are many benefits to holding one or more professional certifications:

  • Certification builds an individual’s self-image. By studying for and passing an exam, individuals demonstrate to themselves, their peers and their customers a thorough knowledge and dedication to their profession.
  • Certification allows the public and those in government the opportunity to make an informed selection of services based on the knowledge which is represented by the certification.
  • The process of becoming certified and maintaining the designation, provides incentives to the individual to continue their on-going professional development. 
  • Certification is a tool to help the employer both in training their personnel and selecting new employees.

Florida Certified Horticulture Professional (FCHP)

This is the foundation level certification for general horticulture. It is applicable for nurseries, retail garden, and landscape maintenance professionals among others. Anyone involved in the horticulture industry will benefit from FCHP certification.

Candidates must pass a comprehensive three-part written exam to demonstrate knowledge about plant identification, disease and insect control, plant biology and landscape management. More than 1,000 nursery professionals are currently certified in the state.

Courses are offered at various locations throughout Florida, including community colleges and vo-tech facilities to aid in preparing for the exam. Individual home study is also permitted.

Certification examinations are offered at FNGLA's trade shows and through institutes offering the course. Registrants attaining a passing grade on the examination are certified for a three-year period. Renewal is accomplished by completing a minimum of 15 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every 3 years or by retaking the examination.

If you meet ONE of the following criteria, you are eligible to become certified and proudly display the FCHP emblem on your uniform and in your business.

  1. Employed in Florida horticulture for 90 days prior to application.
  2. Full-time student in an accredited horticulture program (or graduated within the preceding 18 months).
  3. Instructor of horticulture.
  4. Member of the Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association (FNGLA).

The FCHP manual was developed through a combined effort of practicing industry professionals, University of Florida Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences and allied industry personnel. It is an excellent resource and informational tool which is a must for trouble shooting, answering questions involving proper plant use, plant problems, landscape maintenance and proper pesticide use. For more information call FNGLA at 1-800-375-3642 or see their web site.

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Florida Certified Landscape Designer (FCLD)

This certification is designed to recognize those individuals who have demonstrated a high level of professional competence in landscape design. This program provides a way for municipalities, landscape architects, government agencies, companies and individuals to choose qualified professionals. A rigorous certification, this program requires applicants to demonstrate proficiency in design theory and application as well as pass a written exam in six different areas. This certification requires 30 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every 3 years. E-mail Merry Mott at FNGLA for more information or see their web site. Phone: 1-800-375-3642.

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Florida Certified Landscape Technician (FCLT)

The FCLT certification is designed to promote and recognize professionalism among landscape technicians who work in the field. An intensive exam is held each year that consists of the same 13 field stations that are part of the FCLC exam. No written exams are required. This certification can be used as a step toward FCLC. The exam is held at the same time as the FLLC exams. There are more than 1200 FCLT's currently in Florida. This certification requires 15 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every 3 years.

The FCLT manual is a necessary item for the exam. Filled with information designed to help you on the practical exam, it is also an excellent guide in your landscape business. E-mail Merry Mott at FNGLA for more information or see their web site. Phone: 1-800-375-3642.

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Florida Certified Landscape Contractor (FCLC)

This certification is designed to recognize those individuals who have demonstrated a high level of professional competence. It is the only standard in Florida for measuring the knowledge of practicing landscape contractors. This program provides a way for municipalities, landscape architects, government agencies, companies and individuals to choose qualified professionals. This certification requires an exam and 30 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every 3 years.

An intensive two-day exam is held at several locations (Orlando, St Pete & Chipley) around the state each year. The FCLC exam consists of 13 field and 6 written tests. It includes written exams on reading plans and specs, estimating, legal, general knowledge, accounting and safety. The field test of 13 different skills includes plant ID, plan layout, tree planting and guying, grading and drainage, job evaluation, palm banding and propping, instrument operation, irrigation operation and repair, pruning, sod, equipment operation and retaining wall construction. This is a professional certification! Requirements include a minimum of three years in the horticulture industry. A review course is held before each exam.

Although the program is designed to be self-taught and to draw from your knowledge and experience, the FCLC manual is a necessary item for the exam. Filled with information designed to help you on the field and written portions of the exam, it is also an excellent guide in your landscape business. E-mail Merry Mott at FNGLA for more information or see their web site. Phone: 1-800-375-3642.

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Certified Arborist

This certification requires an exam and 30 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every 3 years. For complete information visit the Florida Chapter International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) web site.

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Recreation & Parks Professionals

There are currently 4 categories of certification available. This certification requires 2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every 2 years. For complete information see this site: Florida Recreation & Park Association (FRPA) web site.

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