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FAQ for Certification Testing and Study Preparation

1. Why should I be Virginia Certified Horticulturist?
  • You are recognized as a trained horticulture professional with a knowledge of the industry
  • Career advancement
  • Pride and confidence in self and work
  • Increased teamwork
  • Demonstrates commitment to the profession
  • Enhance employability and advancement
  • The VCH designation means you are qualified to offer sound scientific horticultural advice to clients, retail customers, nursery sales, landscape installation, even in lawn or maintenance environments.
  • Creates opportunities to network with other like-minded professionals
  • Gain exposure to a wider range of educational programs, events and those involved with them.
  • VCH certification is recognized and accepted throughout the State of Virginia. You will be qualified to stamp and approve engineer, landscape architect, or design plans requiring plants.  This is now a requirement by most Virginia City planning boards.
    Order online at: www.vnla.org 

2. Do I have to be a member of the VNLA to take the VCH test?

Registrants need to be working for a VNLA member, or be an individual Associate member, to receive a badge and Certificate for passing the test. Individual Associate members' VCH status can not be used or promoted by non-member companies whom they might be working for.

Nonmembers do not receive these. 

This is a member benefit. 

Anyone can take the test, however it is much more expensive as a non-member.


3. Why do I have to pay a additional fees for classes and membership in the regional association?

VNLA is your state organization and "owns" the certification program. VNLA is paid for the testing and manuals. CVNLA, NVNLA, PLA are your local /regional organizations, and are separate organization from VNLA. To help members (of both organizations) pass the test - local or regional associations offer review classes at their expense. They have to pay instructors, find classroom space, maintain materials, supply their own computers and get guest speakers. This is a member benefit so a member gets the benefit of lower fees - usually paying for itself just in this single use. As a member you would be able to take advantage of lower member rates at all meetings, conferences etc. Some are available ONLY to members. (NOTE: Certification Review Class Applications fees and policies are subject to CVNLA, NVNLA, PLA policies of membership and fees)

4. What do I need to do to register for taking a VCH test?

You need to register for the Test at least two weeks before the date of the actual test. A Test application provided on the website needs to be completed and mailed, faxed or emailed to the VNLA office along with payment.


5. How is the test given?

The test is given at predetermined sites around Virginia. Refer to the VNLA Certified Horticulturist Test Schedule. The exam is proctored. You need to bring a picture ID and #2 pencils.The test is multiple choice, matching, true/false, and the plant Id from the same photos that are on the Scholar website. You have 4 hours to take the test and there are 200 questions. Do not bring personal belongings such as purses and backpacks to the test.


6. How do I study for the test?

Students can use the VNLA online review outline for each chapter with learning objectives, practice quizzes and additional resources. Chapter 13, Plant Id has PDF files, by plant groups, with photos and plant names of approximately 155 plants, of which 50 will be randomly selected for the exam. To get login access to this member service, contact the VNLA office vch@vnla.org or 1-804-256-2700.

Go over the questions in the manual.  Although they are in a different format - the questions are still pertinent – you should include them in building a study guide -if you know the answer in the manual - you'll know the answer on the test. If you can't answer any question - take that as a hint you may need to re-read the chapter. You need to understand the information, not memorize the questions, so in that case being asked information different ways will increase your understanding of the material. 


7. When and how will we be notified of pass/fail on the test?

The tests sent from the test site and are graded at the VNLA office as soon as they arrive. After grading, the test results are entered into the database. Results will be emailed to you as soon as these are entered.  Although it usually takes less time, please allow 2 weeks for this process. If you do not have an email your test results will be mailed to you.


8. What is the passing grade? What if I fail some parts but pass  the others?

ou need to pass each section with at least a 70% and you must have an overall average score of at least 75%.  You only need to retake those parts you did not pass. Your letter will have a list of your scores and a note of which sections you need to retake at the bottom which gives you one free retake, good for one year. You will still need to register for the next test you will be sitting at – but make a note on your retake test application that you have a retake coupon.


 9. How do members receive the VCH certificate and badge if they passed the exam?

The certificate and badge will be mailed to your home address in the mail 4-6 weeks. Make sure the information on your registration form shows how you would like your name to be printed and where we should mail it. Reconsider using work information if it may delay delivery or you have multiple business locations.


      10. How do I stay certified?

To protect your certification, you must maintain active membership in VNLA.  You also must continue to add to your education and professionalism. CEU's are Continuing Education Units.. You can get these by attending seminars, conferences, and workshops – just to name a few. A reporting form and list of acceptable CEU's is available. You need to accrue 30 credits every three years. This averages to 10 per year. If you do not keep your CEU's current and reported – your certification will lapse and you will need to take & pass the test again. You will receive a email or letter listing your CEU status once a year – usually in the fall.


11. How do I re-certify?

Every year, you will need urn in your CEU report along with copies of your supporting paperwork.  Every 3 years, you will need to recertify by including the re-certification fee of $30 and a completed recertification application. (you can login into your VNLA account to do this).  We recommend keeping a folder or notebook to collect a record of activities & events you attend. When you prepare your CEU report you will have event materials at hand.


12. Who do I contact if I have questions?

               VNLA email VCH@vnla.org,  804-256-2700, or fax 804-709-0288

(updated 2/16/18)
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