8 Landscape Certifications You Should Know

It is commonly understood that commercial property managers and property owners should work with certified landscapers. But what do the certifications mean? And which landscape certifications matter most?

There are many landscape certifications out there. Some certifications are easier to get, whereas others require hours of training and testing. Below is a list of the common landscape certifications. Consult this list to determine which certification(s) your landscape professional needs for your projects.

General Landscape Certifications

NALP Landscape Certification1. Landscape Industry Certified (LIC): Landscapers with an LIC certification received the designation from an internationally recognized organization called the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). While there are many types of LIC certifications, common ones include LICT (Landscape Industry Certified Technician) and LICM (Landscape Industry Certified Manager). Certifications from NALP require landscape professionals to pass an exam (70% or higher) to receive certification.

Water-Saving Landscape Certifications

QWEL landscape Certification Logo

2. Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL): Landscapers with this certification are knowledgeable about water-efficient and sustainable landscape practices. This includes water management and the preservation of other valuable resources. Becoming QWEL certified requires 20 hours of classroom learning that covers irrigation systems, landscape design and water budgeting. QWEL certified landscapers must pass an exam and perform an irrigation system audit.

3. CLCA Certified Water Manager: The California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) is one of the oldest and largest organizations of licensed landscape contractors in the country. Landscape contractors that are CLCA Certified Water Managers have the skills and knowledge to help save water, improve your landscape and save you money. Prior to becoming certified, landscape professionals must pass a written test and complete an irrigation audit. They also must demonstrate proficiency on landscape sites for one year before becoming fully certified.

4. Watershed Wise Landscape Professional (WWLP): Created as a response to the ongoing drought, the WWLP certification means that the landscape professional has been trained to evaluate irrigation systems and rainwater. Their analysis is used to create an irrigation system that incorporates the reuse of rainwater. Training for this certification includes 2 days of coursework followed by an exam and the submission of a whole landscape site evaluation.

5. Recycled Water Site Supervisor (RWSS): Those with their RWSS certification understand the appropriate techniques for the safe and efficient use of recycled water and can identify any possible issues with cross-connections. Certification is granted after a half day training.

Landscape Design Certification

6. Association of Professional Landscape Designers Certification (APLD Certified): The APLD certification is the only international certification program for designers. It provides professional recognition to landscape designers based on experience and a submitted portfolio. This is one certification that does not require education and testing. Instead, it is given after a thorough review of a landscaper’s body of work. However, following certification, landscape designers are required to accrue additional education and get re-certified every 3 years.

Pesticide and Herbicide Applicator CertificationWeed Herbicide

7. Qualified Applicator License (QAL): If your landscaper sprays chemicals for pest management, they need to have their Qualified Applicator License. It ensure they can safely apply the chemicals without risk of harm to other plants, animals or people. Commercial applicators must also have knowledge of pesticide labeling, safety, and the laws and regulations surrounding use. To obtain a QAL, one must pass an extensive exam and then accumulate approved continuing education hours. Holders of this license must renew it every two years.

Tree Care CertificationISA Certified Arbortist

8. ISA Certified Arborist: To earn this credential, one must have knowledge and training in arboriculture, or the study of trees and how they respond to their environment. Certified arborists are knowledgeable in areas such as tree biology, tree maintenance practices, diagnosis and safety. ISA Certified Arborists must also follow a Code of Ethics and have a minimum of 3 years of full-time experience in arboriculture.  To gain certification, arborists must apply for and pass an ISA Certified Arborist Exam.

Your Property is in Good Hands with Our Certified Landscape Experts

Heaviland Landscape TeamDo you have a commercial landscape project that requires the expertise of professionals? Give us a call today at (760) 598-7065 to speak to one of our landscape certified team members. We can assist with commercial landscape maintenance, landscape design + installation projects and water resource management.


Never forget your landscape certifications!

Click the button to get your quick reference guide.