Prove what you know. Become a Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association Certified Professional
The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota as well as other institutions of higher learning, offers the Certified Professional designation. MNLA-CPs have studied a broad range of horticultural topics and have then passed a rigorous examination of general industry knowledge, as well as an examination within their specialty field (grower, garden center, or landscape).
The objective of the MNLA Certified Professional program is to uphold, improve, and promote standards of professionalism and excellence within the industry. By focusing on individuals rather than companies, the program encourages self-improvement among industry professionals.
Why Become a MNLA Certified Professional?
The Certification status benefits individuals by:
- Instilling pride and confidence.
- Bringing greater value to the nursery and landscape industry profession.
- Demonstrating commitment to the nursery and landscape industry.
- Enhancing employability within the industry,
How will being certified benefit and advance my career?
Certification identifies you as a professional.
Certification gives you credentials and proves your qualifications.
Certification provides you instant credibility with your peers, customers and employers.
Certification demonstrates commitment to your profession.
Certification distinguishes you from the competition.
Certification qualifies you to do expert work and give advice.
Certified professionals are encouraged to promote their certification to the public.
Add the MNLA Certified Professional logo to business cards.
Add MNLA CP to signature block on letterhead and emails.
Add the MNLA CP logo to marketing information and on signs used during landscape installations.
Add the MNLA CP logo to company website and include a link to the MNLA certification program at www.MNLA.biz.
If your business is an MNLA member, make sure your consumer directory listing indicates your professional certification(s).
Carry your MNLA Certificate of Achievement and/or display a certification plaque.
Proudly wear your MNLA CP lapel pin.
If you are not already a MNLA member, become one. MNLA offers money-saving member benefits, education programs at a discount, and invaluable business networking opportunities for its members.
Why Employ MNLA Certified Professionals?
Businesses that employ MNLA Certified Professionals enhance their professional image. Employing Certified Professionals shows the public that you hire employees who have demonstrated they are knowledgeable and experienced professionals. It shows that your employees have taken that extra step to set themselves apart as leaders in the industry.
The certified status can increase customer recognition and respect, provide a consumer marketing tool, and offer an additional tool for employee motivation, evaluation and advancement
You are eligible to apply to sit for the exam if you meet the following requirements:
A signature of an educational advisor or work supervisor is required on the exam registration form to verify completion of the prerequisite.
2017 Exam Dates
The next exam opportunity will be spring of 2017. Exam dates have not been established for 2017. When they are, they will be posted here.
Testing is limited to 7 applicants per test date.
Applicants may sit for the exam once per month.
Registration is on a first come, first served basis. Please apply early!
How to Apply
Complete an exam application and mail, fax or email to the MNLA office. Payment must accompany the application. You will find the exam application here once exam dates have been set.
The exam is given in an electronic format with integrated photos and videos. Applicants will take the exam at a laptop computer and receive exam results immediately after completing the exam.
Exam applicants are allowed 4 hours to complete the exam.
Nursery and landscape professionals typically specialize in one or more areas of the industry. Therefore, the MNLA/UM CP examination program includes three specializations as follows:
Garden Center: Retail and Re-wholesale
Grower: Nursery Grower and Greenhouse Grower
Landscape: Landscape Architecture, Landscape Design, Landscape Installation, Landscape Contracting, Landscape Maintenance and Management, and Professional Gardening
To become a Certified Professional, a candidate must successfully pass a Basic Horticultural Knowledge examination and an examination in one of the specializations listed above. A passing score of 80% is required in both the Basic Knowledge component and the Specialization.
All examinations consist of questions in a True/False and Multiple-Choice format.The Basic Knowledge exam will also include multiple-choice questions for plant identification from colored prints, digital photos, and videos of plant samples in a dormant or growing condition. A landscape plan shall be part of the Garden Center and the Landscape examinations.
When Will I Receive My Exam Results?
The electronic format provides your results immediately after completing the exam.
What Do I Need to Know For the Exam?
Questions on the exam are based on:
Information in the MNLA/UM Certification Manual (Now available for free - Download pdf chapters of the Manual)
Information and knowledge gained by the applicant’s collegiate or industry experience.
Questions in the Basic Knowledge Examination will be derived mainly from those chapters designated as Basic Knowledge. However, a limited number of questions in the Basic Knowledge Examination can also be derived from any of the three Specialization chapters.
Each Certification candidate must, at a minimum, read the entire study manual and then concentrate in depth studies on the Basic Knowledge Chapters and the Chapters for the desired Specialization
Certification Manual/Study Materials
- The manual is a cooperative effort between MNLA and the University of Minnesota Extension Service. The MNLA/UM Certification Manual consists of 50 Chapters and presents technical, applicable and instructional information on most green industry disciplines ranging from Design to Production to Hardscaping to Garden Centers to Marketing and to Safety. The Glossary provides definitions of over 700 Horticultural terms. The Units of Measure and Conversion Factors Chapter contains hundreds of Abbreviations, Equivalent Measures, Conversion Factors, Plant Spacing Data and Landscape Installation Data.
- Topics in the Manual include: Minnesota laws and regulations, biology, plant materials, nomenclature and classification, plant production and culture, pest management, business operations, and landscape design. A section on plant identification is also included which features 381 plant images of 182 plants.
The MNLA/UM Certification Manual was revised in December 2006.
The Certification Study Manual is now available to download for free.
Download pdf chapters of the Manual.
The MNLA Certification Committee put together learning objectives for each chapter of the Certification Manual as a reference guide for preparing for the exam. It is recommended you review the Learning Objectives before studying the materials.To access the learning objectives, Click Here.
Other Study Materials
Plant Identification Webinar:
Tim Vogel, Bailey Nurseries created this Plant Identification Webinar as a study tool to prepare for the Plant Identification portion of the exam.
Plant Identification Webinar by Tim Vogel, Bailey Nurseries, Inc.- download for FREE
American Standard for Nursery Stock:
It is recommended that you are familiar with the information found in The American Standard for Nursery Stock which was revised in 2014.
The American Standard for Nursery Stock.
Scoop "Magic from the Manual" Articles:
The MNLA Certification Committee has written a series of articles entitled Certification Training - Magic from the Manual. The information is taken directly from the some of the chapters of the Certification Manual. These articles are being provided as a tool to help you study for the Certification Exam. Click on the titles below to view the article:
Plant Cold Hardiness
Soil Texture vs. Structure
Soils for Nursery & Landscape Management
Multiple Roles of the Plant Hormone Ethylene
Occupational Health & Safety
Proper Watering Controls
To familiarize yourself with the format and content of the MNLA Certification Exam, use the following link to access a practice exam: Click Here To Take a Practice Certification Exam
To encourage on-going professional improvement through education and service to the industry, MNLA has instituted a recertification requirement to keep certification status current. All individuals must compile at least 18 points every three years to maintain their certification status.
How Do I Maintain My Certification?
It is the certified professional's responsibility to keep track of continuing education activity. Document the date and event of each activity attended on the blue recertification card. If you have lost or misplaced your recertification card, you may request one from MNLA or download one below. Record the points, and provide the name of a person who can verify your participation. This individual may be the instructor, an MNLA representative at the activity, or another MNLA certified individual who can validate your attendance. When you have accumulated 18 continuing education points, mail the card to the MNLA office, along with the $15 required recertification fee.
Click to download a MNLA Recertification Card
NEW! Beginning in 2017, the MNLA recertification process will be moving to an online format. Blue recertification cards will be accepted until the end of 2017. After that time, Certified Professionals must submit continuing education points through the online professional development journal.
Below are examples of educational events and professional services that qualify towards recertification (Note: All events and activities applicable to the nursery and landscape industry that improve professionalism count for recertification points):
Attend a one-hour seminar/webinar -1 point
Teach a one-hour seminar -3 points
Attend a half day (2-4 hour) seminar -2 points
Teach a half day (2-4 hour) seminar -6 points
Attend a full day (4-6 hour) seminar -3 points
Participate in a one-hour online webinar -1 point
Teach a full day (4-6 hour) seminar -9 points
Attend a college level quarter or semester course -1 point/credit
Teach a college level semester course -3 points/credit
Write 5 questions with answers for the Certification Exam (max 2 points/year) -2 points
Coach an individual who becomes certified -3 points
Write an article that is published in The Scoop or other trade publications -3 points
Serve on an MNLA committee (or other similar service) -2 points/committee (per year)
Serve as a Legislative Liaison with Local Legislators -2 points
Attend MNLA open forum/town hall meeting to express concerns -1 point
Attend Day on the Hill activities -3 points
Attend an MNLA networking group meeting -1 point per meeting
Horticultural service to the community -2 points
Excellence in job performance as recognized by immediate supervisor/employer 2 points per year (max 6 pts in -3 years)
If you have obtained certification and then relocate to a different state, you can apply for certification without taking an additional exam. Listed below are the states that offer MNLA certification reciprocity:
Illinois Green Industry Association
Indiana Nursery & Landscape Association
Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association
Michigan Nursery & Landscape Association
Nebraska Nursery & Landscape Association
North Dakota Nursery & Greenhouse Association
New York Nursery & Landscape Association
Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association
Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association
South Dakota Nursery & Landscape Association
Wisconsin Nursery Association Inc.