Becoming Landscape Industry Certified Takes Planning and Initiative

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Winning bids, impressing customers, earning the respect of crews and employers -- these are just a few of the potential benefits of becoming certified.

I was originally motivated to go for the manager certification for my own personal benchmarking, and to determine if I had the right knowledge to operate a business. I was nervous going into the test because I was the technician who started a company, and it took me a few years of making that transition before I was ready to take the Landscape Industry Certified Manager test.

Now I am constantly looking for educational units to recertify, and it is the basis of my continued education, keeping me up to date on current industry standards, business climate and company well-being. The entire certification program is instrumental in my personal growth and development as a leader and business owner.

Everyone has their own reason for pursuing certification. Whatever the motivating factor, it's important to have a game plan backed by drive and commitment. Here are some steps I recommend to getting and staying certified, as well as promoting your well-earned asset:

1. Research. Take the time to review the certifications that the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) offers. Talk to those who are certified. Make a list of questions and talk to the certification staff about the differences between the programs, and determine what best fits your job, and meets your current and long-term personal and professional goals.

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If you are an owner or supervisor and want to get your staff certified, make sure you select the test that best aligns with the person's job. Here's a current list of PLANET certifications to review and choose from:

* Landscape Industry Certified Manager (formerly CLP)

* Landscape Industry Certified Technician Exterior (formerly CLT-E)

* Landscape Industry Certified Interior Technician (formerly CLT-I)

* Landscape Industry Certified Horticultural Technician (formerly COLP)

* Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Manager (formerly CTP)

* Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Technician National (NEW exam)

* Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Technician (formerly CTP-CSL)

2. Prepare. Once you've selected and signed up for the exam that best meets your needs, preparation is the key The intensity of a testing environment is a challenge for anyone, especially candidates who do not have a solid skill set. …