By David Hupman
I recently visited our certification partners to the north. Last summer as an auditor for the Landscape Industry Certified Technician-Exterior exam test site in Milton, Ontario, administered by Landscape Ontario and this February as a liaison for the International Certification Council (ICC) attending the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association’s (CNLA) Certification Committee meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
For years the U.S. and Canada have been certification partners, especially with the Manager and Technician certification programs. As in the states, the Technician-Exterior (formerly CLT-E) exam is the top draw in Canada. Over 1,280 actively hold this credential in Canada, bringing the total certified Technician count in North America to nearly 4,000. With other designations combined, more than 5,300 are Landscape Industry Certified worldwide.
The pride and commitment that both our organizations show to the Landscape Industry Certified program is amazing. As I attended the CNLA Certification Committee meeting this winter, my colleagues gave their reports, tackled several hot-button issues, and rallied round to pool their resources and bright ideas to advance certification – our common goal and passion. As ICC representative alongside PLANET Certification Director Karen Barnett, we were honored to have a seat at this collaborative table. We gave our report and the synergy between our associations was in high gear.
You see this passion for certification vividly displayed on Technician-Exterior test sites skillfully administered by state and provincial licensees. Dozens of volunteers work hand-in-hand with staff to set up the test site and conduct testing across our two countries. These state and provincial association licensees work long and hard to put on this test. Why do they do it? I invite you to find the answers by watching an excellent video highlighting the value of certification produced by licensee California Landscape Contractors Association and supported by PLANET that captures their efforts in a way words can’t describe.
Though on a personal level, I can say that earning my certification a few years ago has set me on a course that has benefitted my career, opened up many opportunities and introduced me to many people in the industry that I would have never met otherwise. These individuals have become friends and associates on a mutual quest to better ourselves and our profession.
I hope in reading this, you’ll join us on this mission and become certified. My story – and those of my certified colleagues – can easily be yours. I am a Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician but it was the Technician designation I sought first. I was the first to pass the test in Ohio so I had “celebrity” status from the start. This helped me to get involved, take on leadership roles, and improve my understanding of this field. I learned to question how I’d done things to that point. The answers I found pushed me to another level in my job knowledge and performance. I wanted to coach and mentor more. For a trainer, those are critical qualities.
After passing the exam, I wanted to be a part of the certification process. I wanted to get involved and help others see the rewards I was enjoying from earning this credential. I became a test site judge, evaluator and auditor – now chair-elect of the ICC. As I said earlier, the friendships, acquaintances and contacts I’ve made along my certification journey have been incredible…and fun!
There’s no better way to show your knowledge than through this hands-on test. It’s dynamic and rewarding. Besides the benefits to you personally and professionally, an employer with certified staff on board can proudly boast the qualities of their team. It’s a competitive advantage, a resume builder, a potential compensation booster and it’s yours to keep throughout your career as long as you maintain it every two years through recertification.
In this Olympic year, go for the gold of our industry…earn your Landscape Industry Certified designation today. Good luck!
David Hupman, Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician, is a production specialist with Brickman in Loveland, Ohio. He is a trainer for Brickman offices in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Kansas. As a pastime, he enjoys officiating soccer and hunting deer. In his role as chair-elect of PLANET’s International Certification Council, he serves as the ICC liaison to the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association Certification Committee.
Recognizing Canadian companies that raise the level of professionalism in the landscape industry.
Minimum standards for the nursery industry, for use by students, educators and professionals.
An independent industry body with a mandate to administer nursery certification programs in Canada.
Provides the framework for basic training sessions to develop an informed well-rounded employee.