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.
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.
Non-members 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) prepare for the exam, 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 secure 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 application 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 exam?
You need to register for the exam at least two weeks before the date of the actual exam. Contact the VNLA office to register and pay for the exam. firstname.lastname@example.org 804 256 2700
5. How is the exam administered?
The exam is proctored at predetermined sites around Virginia. You need to bring a picture ID and #2 pencils. The exam consists of 200 questions and includes multiple choice, matching, true/false and a plant ID section. You have four hours to take the exam. Do not bring personal belongings such as purses and backpacks.
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 request access to this member service, contact the VNLA office email@example.com or 804 256 2700.
Review the questions in the manual. Although they are in a different format, the questions are still pertinent. 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?
Completed exams are sent from the test site and graded at the VNLA office. After grading, the test results are entered into the database. Results will be emailed to you as soon as these are entered.
8. What is the passing grade? What if I fail some parts but pass the others?
You 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 the section(s) you did not pass. Exam results list include scores and, if applicable, a note of which sections you need to retake. The VNLA offers one free retake, good for one year.
9. How do members receive the VCH certificate and badge if they passed the exam?
The certificate and badge will be mailed. Make sure the information on your registration form shows how you would like your name to be printed and correct mailing address.
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. CEUs are Continuing Education Units. CEUs are earned by attending seminars, conferences and workshops, etc. A reporting form and list of acceptable CEUs is available. You need to accrue 30 CEUs every three years. This averages to 10 per year. If you do not keep your CEUs current and reported – your certification will lapse and you will need to take & pass the test again.
11. How do I re-certify?
Every year, submit your CEU report along with copies of your supporting paperwork. Every three years, you need to recertify by including the re-certification fee of $30 and a completed recertification application form. We recommend keeping a folder or notebook to collect a record of activities & events you attend. It is more effective to have event materials on-hand when preparing to submit CEUs.
12. Who do I contact if I have questions?
VNLA email VCH@vnla.org, 804 256 2700 | fax 804 709 0288