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Landsaping certification ALCA

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by LawnsRUsInc., Feb 2, 2003.

  1. LawnsRUsInc.

    LawnsRUsInc. LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 916

    I was wondering if any of you guys are certified. I was talking to somone at alca about getting certified, i was wondering if this would be benifical? Also i am running my company and iam not sure if i can attend a college. And would i benifit alot from it or do you think alca would be a good route?
    Iam in much need of help. Not sure which road or path to take.
  2. neighborguy

    neighborguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    Ijust tok the CLT test for the firsttime this fall. They only offer the field testing once a year in Wisconsin (kind of sucks for retaking sections). I think that if you are a smaller company it can mean a little more than in a large company. I work for a larger company and the main reason that I did it was to show that I cared about the career and wasn't just there for a job. The test itself is a phenomonal amount of work. you get tested on 20+ different things in the field. THe whole time keeping safety in mind and not forgetting any little detail. What made it easier for me was that my company offers training sessions on all sections of the test. I met guys on test day that had never touchedan irrigation controller and actually had to buy oe just to practice for the test.

    I believe that the testing is a good thing. It sets a baseline for the industry. I don't necessarily agree with everything the way they do it, but have to do it their way to pass. If you search the postsfor CLT certification (certified landscape technician) I think you might find more on the subject.
  3. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    I am a CLP through ALCA. I find having the Certification is personally rewarding and sets us apart from the "other guys" in our market. It is more proof that you are a professional, and that you view yourself as a professional too.

    The Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) is the official trade association for the landscape contracting industry, representing approximately 2,500 landscape contracting firms throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad. ALCA members are involved in all types of landscape contracting, including landscape construction, design/build contracting, landscape maintenance, reclamation and erosion control, irrigation, lawn care, interior landscaping, and all other aspects of installation, construction, and maintenance of the living environment.

    Founded in 1961, ALCA develops and maintains active programs for its membership in the areas of technical assistance, business management, governmental affairs, industry publicity, safety and insurance, and interindustry relations with other facets of the Green Industry.

    ALCA is viewed as the voice for the landscape industry. The association's mission is to represent, lead, and unify the interior and exterior landscape contracting industry by working together on a national basis to address environmental and legislative issues and create increased opportunities in business. ALCA provides a forum to benefit its members’ profitability, personal growth, and professional advancement.

    Purpose of the Certification Program.......

    The Certified Landscape Professional (CLP) examinations have been developed by the Associated Landscape Contractors of America in conjunction with the Professional Development Institute to provide professional recognition to competent individuals who are engaged in the business of landscape contracting. To obtain this goal, ALCA appointed a Certification Board of Governors comprised of nine outstanding leaders in the landscape contracting industry. These governors collectively represent a range of educational backgrounds and have sufficient years of experience to be recognized as possessing special expertise in landscape contracting.

    The Objectives of ALCA’s Certification Program are:

    To raise the standards of the profession;

    To encourage self-assessment by offering guidelines for achievement;

    To identify persons with acceptable knowledge of principles and practices of the profession;

    To award recognition to those who have demonstrated a high level of competence in the profession;

    To improve performance within the profession by encouraging participation in a continuing program of professional development.

    Marketing Tools:

    Successful ALCA Certification examinees receive the following to assist them in the promotion of their prestigious achievement:

    Lapel pin

    Stamp with name and CLP seal

    Certificate of achievement

    Camera-ready logo slick

    Press release for use in publicizing accomplishment

    Listing in ALCA’s annual membership directory

    Content Areas:

    The CLP exam is overseen and admininstered by ALCA. There is a Certification Board of Governors that oversees all aspects of the CLP Certification Program. The examination is a 6-hour multiple choice test which covers major areas of interest of landscape contracting. Listed below are the areas which will be covered in the exam and the percentage of questions derived from each section:

    30% Business Planning, Accounting, and Management
    20% Risk, Law and Contracts
    20% Sales, Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations
    15% Health, Safety and Human Resources
    15% Production/Operations and Horticulture

    The CLT (Certified Landscape Technician) goes through a 'hands on' test as well as a written exam. CLT's normally are foremen and middle managers from a given company. This test is generally administered at the state level (under license agreement with ALCA's Board of Governors) and is overseen by the ILTC (International Landscape Technician Council) that reports to the ALCA Certification Board of Governors.

    Whew..... that's a long one.... hope this information helps.

    By the way.... I am predjudiced about CLP and CLT as I am Chairman of the ALCA Certification Board of Governors.
  4. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    There is a certification post in the business section from a day or two ago.

    John, I am aware of the work you do for ALCA and would like to thank you for it.

    I was rather tired the other AM and could not remember all of the different components of the CNLA (Certified Horticultural Technician Program) here in Canada. I dug up a sheet from when I attended.

    Written Exam:

    First Aid and Safety, Plan Reading, Plant sensitivity and Use


    Plant Identification, Sod Installation, Work Orders, Program Controller, Irrigation Identification, Lateral Repair & Head Adjustment, Truck and Trailer, Tree Planting and Staking/Guying, Chainsaw, Plant Layout, Grading & Drainage, Instruments, Rototiller and Tractor/ Skid Steer Operation.

    This was for the Landscape Installation Program ...I would highly recommend it.
  5. Tim Canavan

    Tim Canavan LawnSite Member
    from Houston
    Messages: 218

    That was the best response to a question I have ever seen on here. You made me want to go and get certified.:D
    I will by the end of the year.
  6. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    I think the CLT certification is a good thing but, why do they require you to know things like irrigation when you are not allowed to install it or service it without a license. If the license was easier to get it might make sense to me but you need 3 years experience in the field to even take an exam. With a simple 3 part test you can get a pesticide license and drive a truck around with a thousand gallons of toxic liquid in it. I just don't get it.
  7. LawnsRUsInc.

    LawnsRUsInc. LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 916

    I agree with you on that HENRY. It makes not much sense they should maybe make changes to that. Any of you have your certification and you really benefit from it.
  8. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    For those who ARE certified, and believe in its benefits - reading comments like these can be taxing. I heard from one very successful contractor ($13M company) that "It's infuriating to read from other contractors that they think certif. is BS. They probably feel going to conferences and reading are a waste of time also."

    The public will never know about certification unless they hear it from a contractor. It took over 100 years to get the CPA designation known and millions of dollars. ALCA is providing contractors with the tools. They need to use them to their advantage. As our industry matures and the client has an easy way to identify several top tier companies (that, on the surface, all look equal to them) then certification has the potential to be the one differentiator.

    Landscape contractors need to be able to create and demonstrate a high perceived value to their prospects. No one can do that for them. This is why some contractors can get $50 HR for the same work another contractor will charge $20 an hour for. It's about marketing, communication and sales skills.

    My personal opinion is (for what it's worth) - if some landscapers don't see the opportunity that certification provides them now, at some time in the future they'll surely get it. When the customer asks if they are certified it will be because they already have talked with a certified contractor. I'd rather be their first myself. Grass roots marketing is what it's all about, and is considerably more effective than scattershot ads.

    I believe that ALCA's certification program will be our best tool to prevent excess government regulation of our industry. We could use certification to regulate ourselves so the government doesn't have to become involved - as we all know that the government will screw it up if given half a chance.

    ALCA is working at influencing the specifiers (such as Landscapec Architect's, Extension Agents, Property managers, etc.) - and is beginning to achieve some level of success in this arena. But, until certification is embraced by the landscape industry the homeowner will never hear about it.
  9. JVS

    JVS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    This makes sense 100%- But would it not be a great idea to pass into law you need certification/licence/ to be in this industry. Can ALCA help do this? I certainly cannot presribe persciptions without a licence
  10. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    ALCA is against governmental control over our industry.
    Can ALCA stop that from happening ?? Hard to say. However, there is a part of ALCA (individuals, not the organization as a whole) that lobbies 'on the hill' regularly. ALCA also endeavors to educate legislators about the issues pertaining to our industry.

    Again... there's strength in numbers......

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