Frequently asked questions

Q: Why get certified?

A: Certification is an easy choice for any landscape company that takes pride in quality workmanship and professionalism. Certification at the company level establishes credibility and the motivation to constantly improve. By investing in employee certification, the company is involved and willing to put forth the extra effort to go above and beyond what is required to do business. The certification program can also offer companies a built-in training program. As employees study for the exam, they are being trained for job success. Landscape Industry Certified Technicians can walk away from the test with a greater sense of accomplishment, confidence and pride having proven their qualification and knowledge of the job they perform. More and more having a Landscape Industry Certified Technician on staff or on site is becoming a requirement for many commercial and municipal jobs. And, the public is looking for a way to distinguish one landscaping company from another. 

Q: Who is eligible for testing?

A: Anyone is eligible to take the exam, but it is strongly recommended that the applicant have a minimum of 2,000 hours work experience.

Q: What can I expect on test day?

A: Written exams consist of timed, multiple choice answer questions which are offered several times throughout the year. As a first-time test taker you are allotted 2-1/2 hours to complete your written tests. The hands-on portion is a series of timed, hands-on stations that are monitored by a judge and requires the applicant to perform a variety of landscape functions. At the end of each timed problem applicants rotate to the next station. Applicants can expect to be at the test site taking hands-on problems for approximately 4 hours.

Q: How do I prepare for the test? Is there study material?

A: This is a self-study exam and certification; however, you are encouraged to purchase the Landscape Technician Training Manuals which are available through ALCC. Once you register for a test, you will receive a copy of the candidate test book. This book outlines the written tests and is the exact test for the hands-on problems. It also references specific chapters in the Landscape Technician Training Manuals to study. To allow sufficient time to study, candidates should apply for the test well in advance of the registration deadline.
Other study ideas:

  • Set up individual test problems at work or in your backyard. Do the problem from start to finish, practicing within the allotted time. Practice with someone else who is knowledgeable in that area and have him/her critique your work. If you do not have a background for a particular test problem, seek out an expert to help you.
  • Study in groups. Ask around your area to see who else is interested in taking the test and set up time to review the material with each other.
  • Use your own experience. Most candidates have a number of years of on-the-job experience and training. While that won't give you the answers, it's a solid start in the right direction.

Q: Do I need to bring anything with me to test?

A: You must present a current driver's license or other valid U.S.-issued photo ID for identification purposes on the day of registration for both the written and hands-on test. All of the tools and materials needed to test are provided for you on site.

Q: What is the dress requirement?

A: The Landscape Industry Certified Technician test site is considered by international test guidelines to be an OSHA job site. Candidates are required to wear hard-soled work boots (nylon or canvas-type boots are not allowed), long pants and a shirt with sleeves that does not display a company logo.

Q: When and how will I get test results?
A: Test results are sent via regular mail to each applicant within two weeks of the date of the test. If you are scheduled to take written and hands-on tests, results for both sections will be sent within two weeks of the date of the hands-on test.

Q: What is a passing score and what if I do not pass every test?

A: 70% or higher is a passing score. Any test problem you do not pass may be retaken during the next scheduled test. Additional fees and registration is required. You do not have to retake any test problems you successfully complete; only test problems which received a failing score. Your results will show a specific score if the test problem was failed. If the test problem was passed you'll see "pass" in the results section; specific scores are not given for passed test problems.

Q: How do I appeal a score for a hands-on test?

A: As a test applicant you have the right to appeal the scores you received on any of the hands-on problems. To appeal a score, you must write a letter explaining why the score should be overturned, submit a fee of $150 and mail it to the ALCC office within 30 days of the date of your results letter. Should the review committee overturn the score which you are appealing the appeal fee will be refunded.

Q: How long do my scores stay valid?

A: If more than three consecutive years elapse since an attempt was made to retest, your scores are invalid and you must retake all test problems.

Q: Once I earn my certification, how do I maintain it?

A: To remain in good-standing, you must re-certify every two years by reporting 24 continuing education units (CEUs) to NALP. A great way to earn CEUs is by being a volunteer on the ALCC Certification Committee or judging at a test. It is your responsibility to maintain a record of your re-certification credits and submit them to NALP. For additional information about re-certifying or for the CEU submission form, visit NALP's website.