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Is anyone a CPH?

Posted by NWnatural zone 8 (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 5, 05 at 15:58

I missed the October test, but I'll be ready for the spring. Any tips? Was it multiple choice? Any hidden fees?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

Hmmm ...

CPA .. CIA .. CA .. CID ... CPO .. those I know. LOL

CPH ???? .. What is it ??

Good Day ...


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

Crusty Pre 60"s Horticulturist, Kid?


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

Sorry... Certified Professional Horticulturist. I didn't think I could spell that.


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

Who certifies them? The state? A professional org? Not familiar with it either.


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

Here, it's part of the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association. Not all, but quite a few nurseries are registered through the WSNLA. Especially some of the largest and most respected wholesalers.

Becoming a CPH is a registration for the professional individual. I'm just curious about the test, it looks pretty tough.


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

Cool ... most of these test have guidebooks or are based on a set of books. Remember FEAR is false evidence appearing real .. so polish up on your trade I'm sure you will do fine .. let us know when your certified !

Good Day ...


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

Yep, passed the test about 5 years ago. I don't believe it is a widespread program however, but rather a re-naming of the certification program by WSNLA for landscape professionals. Something which is more easily recognized by the general public, although I don't think that has necessarily been the case since the name change :-)

There is a study guide as well as some pre-test classes you can attend. If you study the guide well, you should have no trouble. I didn't find the test to be difficult, just rather long and in some cases, extremely superficial. Plant ID seems to be the section that gives most applicants palpitations and other than a listing of plants which could be included on the ID portion, you need to do the research and study for these yourself. I think the pre-test classes are primarily plant ID - I dunno, I didn't take them.

You only need 80% accuracy to pass - very doable, although I'm not the slightest bit sure that qualifies anyone as a "Certified Professional Horticulturist". A bit of a high-falluting title for a very basic skill set, IMO, not unlike the Master Gardener program.


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

The Certified Nurseryman program in my state is not like the Master Gardener program at all. It was a very difficult test and I was told the first time pass rate was around 50%. I passed it, but studied very hard. It was about four hundred and fifty questions. No, not multiple choice at all. We drew bubble diagrams for landscape layouts. Did mathmatical calculations for determining fertiliser dosages, and had a very long taxonomy section where one looked at photographs of shrubs and trees commonly (and not so commonly) used in landscaping and had to identify them by their proper botanical nomenclature. One could not ever sit the test until they'd worked in the industry six months and their employer signed for them to take it. The MG course I took was very basic and although we were given some tests, the grade had nothing to do with passing or failing.

I don't think granting a title like professional horticulturist is at all grandiose if one makes their living at it. That's what a professional is, after all.


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

I was not attempting to diminish the validity of the title, only pointing out that the title is derived from a not particularly challenging testing process. As such, I believe the program and the testing process tends to diminish the title. Yes, the certification test was long - 4-5 hours worth, multiple parts, hundreds of questions, multiple choice as well as short answer and a few essay questions, about 50 plants to ID - but it was not overly difficult. Anyone in the business for more than a few months should be able to pass with ease. The landscape design portion was a joke for anyone who actually plies this craft.

And while it's a nice title to add to your bag of tricks and may give you some recognition with your peers, it doesn't mean bupkus to the general public, most of whom have no idea what a horticulturist is, let alone a certified professional one. In a nursery with 5 CPH's on the permanent staff, customers still ask for the "Master Gardeners" and are more than a little miffed when offered a conversation with a CPH instead. As ill-thought out as that title might be, it still has name recognition for the gardening public, which the CPH or any other certification program does not.


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

I suspect that the certification process for professional and technical practitioners differs as much from state to state as the MG programs do.

To call certification a bag of tricks is demeaning. I have only heard one degreed professional sneer at it, and I doubt he could have passed it. It was his way of exaulting himself. I give anyone who would work to increase their knowledge base and aspire to credential it a round of applause. If nothing else it assures a minimum accumulation of skills and knowledge, and most people in the industry who have been in hiring positions look for this, regardless of public misconceptions like Master anything.


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

You make an interesting distinction there j. If an employer notes the intention of someone to improve, this is a positive sign and if that someone applies themselves to almost any test then this must be a good thing. How this come across as a selling point is another matter.


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

I must have hit a nerve - I am sorry. I wasn't attempting to be demeaning. By "bag of tricks", I meant one's accumulation of selling points, your resume or curriculum vitae if you will. Certifications, licenses, memberships in professional organizations, formal education, job history, portfolio, what-have-you. This is not a bad thing and I wonder if we are taking ourselves a bit too seriously?


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

  • Posted by Cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 8, 05 at 10:26

Dang. All I gots is one o' them bachelor's degrees from a state u. Never took no fancy exam to be certified. Now I can't tell folks that I'm a gen-U-wine horticulturist. Crap.


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

Thanks for your encouragement (most of you). I'll take the test in March and let you know how it goes.


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

I think a lot of it is the paradigms coming with terms like "master" or "horticulturist". When I got certified, it simply carried the titleof nurserymen. I am very comfortable calling myself a nurseryman, or a even a grower. It simply speaks to what I do.....I grow nursery stock. The extension agent has used terms like horticulturist when introducing me to people, and I'm OK with that. A rose by any other name. yadayadayada.

When push comes to shove, there is a lot of room in this industry for people who gain their skills in varieties of ways. There isn't a title in the world to guarantee one has talent, knowledge or skill. It is usually demonstrated over time. I think it's great if somebody comes into an operation with a bachelor's degree under their belt. But, I studied hort at a state university and I know very well that all graduates are not created equal as far as their curriculae goes. We had a tremendous choice depending on our aspirations. I was going for a specialty in plant protection, so my coursework would have consisted of more advanced chemistry, calculus, genetics. Many of the ag graduates got by with basic algebra, elementary chemistry and fluff.

I have watched more than one new grad come into a production facility and be humbled. If you've ever been in the military I'd liken the experience to being a second lieutenant. I have seen also seen a few old geysers who never finished high school but were forces with which to be reckoned. Sort of like the grizzled old sarges. There are certain things in the industry one simply needs a degree to be doing.....but there are many one doesn't. It's refreshing to have a few occupations left where the sheepskin (or lack of it) isn't a precluding factor.

It dosn't take a customer long to figure out who knows what they're doing and who doesn't, regardless of titles. I'd like to see more emphasis on education in horticulture but I really don't care where it comes from.

I didn't take offense at your comments, gardengal. Your posts usually shine with good common sense. I've had six years of university study through three disciplines, but never finished my degree in horticulture. However, I do have a strong background in engineering and chemistry and it has helped tremendously with running a horticultural business in addition to the training I did have in hort. I've never stopped studying hort. Excellent courses are everywhere for the taking. We just really need to be encouraging all those who are in the industry to keep current, take coursework, get all the certifications they can get. It reflects on all of us and removes barriers concerning credibility with the public.


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RE: Is anyone a CPH?

>Excellent courses are everywhere for the taking. We just really need to be encouraging all those who are in the industry to keep current, take coursework, get all the certifications they can get. It reflects on all of us and removes barriers concerning credibility with the public.<

I agree wholeheartedly! This industry is not static and changes in processes, techniques and material develop constantly. It is an endless learning opportunity and the more one studies and keeps abreast of the latest developments, the better they will be able to ply their trade. Too bad so much of it is bound up in titles that do not reflect what the holder really offers.


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