Marc Baker, a parks maintenance worker II for the City of Sammamish, in the state of Washington has recently become Landscape Industry Certified in all five specialties of the Exterior Technician certification.
The Exterior Technician exam is designed to cover the technical aspects of exterior landscaping: installation, maintenance and irrigation. The five certification specialties are Hardscape Installation, Softscape Installation, Ornamental Maintenance, Turf Maintenance and Irrigation.
Baker says his friend who works for another city was the one who told him about the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Landscape Industry Certified program. Baker says since all five of the categories relate to landscape construction, he decided to earn them all after his friend suggested it.
“It helps out with work,” Baker says. “It shows you know a little bit of everything. It’s a nice certification to have here in the Parks department.”
When the pandemic hit, he decided it would be a good time to take the exams, as the certification is a self-study program where you study at your own pace and take the exam at your convenience. Baker says he would study for a couple of hours for three or four days a week. The first exam he took was Irrigation and he says it took him a little over two months to pass all five exams.
Previously, the Exterior Technician exam was only offered through 15 state licensee partners but now it is administered online through a secure, remote proctoring service; giving access to the program across all 50 states.
Baker says the Softscape Installation and Ornamental Maintenance exams were the most challenging for him due to the plant ID. He says he failed those the first time and had to take them again.
“I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, and I’ve planted tons of plants, but I haven’t studied them the way I should have,” he says. “I’m on the construction part of it mostly so that was helpful studying that, getting to know what they look like helped me out quite a bit.”
To learn more about the Landscape Industry Certified Exterior Technician exam, click here. The exam is also now offered in Spanish.