NALP’s Landscape Management Certificate Program was introduced in January this year and already almost 200 individuals have enrolled in the program.
Additionally, 39 people have already completed the program and earned their certificate.
The certificate program provides training for landscape technicians on installation, irrigation and maintenance. These three modules can be taken separately or together.
“It’s comprehensive educational content,” says Margo Rash, NALP’s director of professional services and programs. “Everything that a landscape technician needs to know is in that program, and we’ve been told that it is the only body of work that is that comprehensive that exists.”
Rash adds that the Department of Labor has sanctioned the program and the American College of Education provides college credit for completing the program. The certification program also is a pathway to becoming Landscape Industry Certified.
“The certificate is best suited for those new to the industry that need the basic foundational elements, that is your primary audience,” Rash says. “And then those that are going to be changing specialties. So, they’re already specialized in maintenance, but they’re looking for an irrigation component or for installation.”
Some of the organizations that have enrolled in the certificate program include community colleges like Rappahannock Community College, federal and state prisons in Oregon and California, as well as nonprofits like the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology.
“Everybody wants a portable certificate that they can take with them that shows that they’ve done a particular body of work,” Rash says. “So that’s of great value to those that are in the prisons, but also those in community colleges.”
Rash says a benefit of the nonprofits, community colleges and prisons taking advantage of the program is that they will be using the program continuously, producing a number of individuals who will now have learned the foundational elements of why we do what we do.
The certificate program is designed for self-paced study and provides flexibility where it can be accessed online or be instructor-led. Some individuals have completed the program in less than a month, while community colleges typically spread it out over an 8 to 12-week course.
This program is also a good fit for landscape companies that have brought on new employees who may be the right fit culturally, but don’t have any knowledge of the industry.
“It facilitates a learning that is more professional,” Rash says. “Many of our folks know how they do the work. They know the skill part. They know how to dig the hole. They know how to plan. They know how to prune, but they don’t necessarily understand why they do what they do. This particular platform educates the industry in the science behind what makes it grow and what makes it thrive.”
The certificate program also became available to take in Spanish in October.
You can learn more about the Landscape Management Certificate Program here.