Welcome Landscape Industry Certified professionals! Best wishes for a successful 2011.
Stay informed about what’s happening in the world of certification by reading Inside Certification. Remember to keep us informed if your e-mail or mailing address has changed. And recertify by the good-through date on your wallet card to remain active and in good standing. Thank you for staying on top of your certification.
If your PLANET certification good-through date on your wallet card is December 31, 2010, you are due to recertify. This is your deadline to send in your CEU Submission Form. When you recertify, you’ll receive a rebranded certificate, lapel pin, and wallet card reflecting your new good-through date.
You have more opportunities than ever to earn CEUs as explained on your revised Recertification Requirements sheet. If the educational opportunity is green industry or job related — it will qualify. Webinars, articles, or books as part of self-study and in-house training are just some examples of how you can accumulate CEUs in your two-year recertification cycle.
To get more details about recertification, check the Recertification Frequently Asked Questions section often for regular updates. NOTE: If your wallet card good-through date is 2009, your certification has lapsed. Please contact PLANET immediately at (800) 395-2522.
Two questions about certification come up over and over again. What is the International Certification Council (ICC) and what exactly does it do? The quick answer is that the ICC is the governing body for certification that emerged shortly after the merger between PLCAA and ALCA — the intent being to replace the certification councils of both legacy groups with one administrative body. The international flavor of the council name reflects the important role the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) and its affiliate groups have played developing certification standards in both Canada and United States.
Develop and measure
When asked to define what ICC does, Michael Becker, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, Estate Gardeners, Inc., Elkhorn, Nebraska, emphasizes two words, “develop” and “measure.” “The ICC develops the measuring sticks for certification and oversees the program,” he explains. “Among responsibilities, it tracks and monitors existing certifications, approves the administration of Technician tests, conducts the Occupational Analysis (OA), develops certification tests, and sets standards for recertification.”
Becker, who is in the second year of a three-year term as council chair, goes on to explain that the ICC is also responsible for program expansion, coming up with new certification designations, and partnering with additional states to offer the Landscape Industry Certified Technician’s test. All this work, and more, he emphasizes, is accomplished through the workings of several ICC committees, including what he calls the “nuts and bolts” Test Revision Committee. “This committee reviews the test results for both the Landscape Industry Certified Manager and Technician exams,” says Becker. “The committee continually analyzes test data to ensure that questions are accurate and fair and update exams to accommodate an ever-evolving industry.”
He continues: “This takes nothing away from the important role that the Program Expansion, Test Administrator, Authorization Panel, and Exam Development committees all play in the administration of the certification program. The Landscape Industry Certified Technician test alone requires a tremendous amount of time and effort by the more than 20 states and five provincial partners, which administer the tests, and the ICC, which reviews and accredits their tests and test sites.
“Consistency is a word used over and over again in committee meetings,” Becker emphasizes. “The hands-on tests have to be consistent with one another. An individual who becomes a Landscape Industry Certified Technician by taking an exam in Colorado must demonstrate the same skill sets as one who takes an exam in New Jersey, and so forth. The word also plays a key role in conducting the OA and coming up with exam questions, both of which have to be consistent with industry standards.”
Becker admits that part of the confusion over the role the ICC plays comes out of the necessity to keep some distance between PLANET, the organization that represents landscape professionals, and the council that certifies them. “There has to be separation between PLANET and the ICC to ensure that the certification process is entirely unbiased, and based solely on industry requirements and standards,” he emphasizes. “As we go forward, I suspect more effort will be put forth to ensure that this separation becomes even more defined.”
What does the immediate future hold for the ICC? “For starters, we have an entirely new test for lawn care that is nearly ready to go,” Becker adds, “and the ICC is in a discussion with the CNLA about offering the Landscape Industry Certified Designer designation that currently is offered in Canada.
“It is an exciting time for the certification program, with the recent unveiling of the new branding efforts and growing awareness industry-wide about the value certification brings to the table.” The ICC Chair emphasizes, however, that marketing and overall promoting the certification program is not something within the council’s domain.
“We became involved in the rebranding because of our unique relationship with all the stakeholders, with the states, the CNLA, PLANET members, and the specialty groups. The rebranding needed comments and buy-in from everyone, and that’s where we helped. As a general rule, though, promoting the program, along with publishing and marketing the study resources, is the responsibility of other PLANET committees.”
When you think of the ICC, think develop and measure. Those two words alone, says Becker, keep the council’s committees and PLANET liaison staff occupied year-round.
Michael Becker, Landscape Industry Certified Manager
Estate Gardeners, Inc.
Dave Hupman, Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician
BRICKMAN – Ohio Division
Jim Stanhouse, Landscape Industry Certified Manager
Signature Landscapes, LLC
Kristen Fefes, CAE
EXTERIOR LICENSEE/TEST ADMINISTRATORS CHAIR
Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado
Hinds Community College
Skip Thompson, Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician
Tidewater Landscape Management
Cable Baker, Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician
Canada Nursery Landscape Association LIAISON
RCB Garden Service
Langley, BC, Canada
The Occupational Analysis (OA) that some PLANET certification exams have gone through since 2001 has been instrumental to the overall success of the certification program. The OA helps ensure that test questions are fair and valid, and aligns certification to the real world of the discipline being tested. In 2006, it was this alignment, and the potential it held for educators, that caught the attention of BYU educator Phil Allen, Ph.D., Landscape Industry Certified Manager, along with the current ICC Chair Michael Becker, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, and then-PLANET President John Gibson, Landscape Industry Certified Technician, among others.
Allen explains that three years later, the BYU faculty completed a study to more closely align student competency levels in the school’s landscape management programs to the knowledge, skills, and abilities of value to green industry employers. The study involved reviewing the PLANET certification manuals, along with several employee evaluation documents obtained from PLANET members.
“Our goal was to develop a road map for students,” Allen relates. “We felt that the documentation would help direct students in the selection of classes, provide a tool for increasing the value of their internship classes, give them the ability to more effectively market their knowledge and experience, and provide a basis for more meaningful counseling with their faculty advisors.”
The student road map became more clearly defined this year with the release of Interpreting PLANET’s Occupational Analysis for Educational Program Design. The document, put together with the help of The Caviart Group, LLC, and PLANET’s International Certification Council (ICC), defines the “tasks, knowledge, and skills required to competently perform exterior landscape installation and maintenance.”
“This is a great by-product of the certification program,” notes ICC Chair Michael Becker. “The OA defined the skill sets that the industry needs. It only makes sense to share this information with as many educators as we can.”
Allen agrees. “Although the Occupational Analysis was completed to form the basis of certification testing, the content of OA has obvious value to educational programs that offer degrees related to landscape contracting.” Among the many benefits, he notes that the OA can help justify the relevance and importance of programs to administrators, prepare students for taking PLANET’s Landscape Industry Certified Technician exam, and form the basis for defining and assessing student learning outcomes. Even a program such as the wildly successful PLANET Student Career Days can benefit from the 2010 OA report for educators. Aligning certain competitions more closely with the OA can help promote awareness of PLANET certification as part of the event.
“More closely aligning a student’s learning experience to industry standards will provide exceptional value for students and PLANET member companies alike,” Allen emphasizes. The OA for educators document and the competency matrix, which includes spreadsheets for softscapes, hardscapes, irrigation, and safety, is made available to PLANET members on PLANET Universe.
Send us your newsworthy stories and experiences on how your certification has helped generate business, given you a professional edge, or made a difference in your career.
Let us know how you use your certification to market your company. We would like updates on your professional activities — have you spoken at an event, written articles, or won local or national awards?
Contact Karen Barnett with your certification news today.
From November 10, 2010 to December 13, 2010, the following individuals earned their PLANET certification:
Landscape Industry Certified Manager (formerly CLP)
Joel C. Hafner, II, Fine Earth Landscape, Inc., Poolesville, MD
Mark Hawley, Jr., City of Solon Service Department, Seven Hills, OH
Landscape Industry Certified Technician - Exterior (formerly CLT-E)
Patrick Abbe, Elkhorn, WI
Jose Gonzalez, Menomonee Falls, WI
Charles Fred Libick, Watertown, WI
Jacob Samz, Pulaski, WI
Brian Tuyls, Kaukauna, WI
Antonia Cazares Castro, Hayward, CA
Fai Foen, Novi, MI
Scott Fultz, Cedarburg, WI
Scott Jeffery, Germantown, WI
Christopher Weber, Wauwatosa, WI
Shane Gallagher, Petaluma, CA
Mark Hoffman, Caledonia, WI
Mark Thomas, Elkhorn, WI
Ryan Weston, Menomonee Falls, WI
Landscape Industry Certified Horticultural Technician (formerly COLP)
Emily Campbell, Tongue Point Job Corps., Astoria, OR
Adrian Ionescu, Bellevue College, Kirkland, WA
James Jordan, Tongue Point Job Corps., Astoria, OR
Starlene Link, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Landscape Industry Certified Interior Technician (formerly CLT-I)
Marceé Cretarolo, Redwood City, CA
Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Manager (formerly CTP)
Kevin Mercer, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Lusby, MD
Phillip Paul Wright, Princeton, KY
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