Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist Program
What is RICH?
The RICH program has been revised and updated and has a new format.
The Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist Program, or RICH for short, is a program of the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association (RINLA). The RICH certificate is earned by green industry professionals who pass an examination based on plant identification and the contents of The RICH Training Manual and RICH Course. Rhode Island Certified Horticulturists then maintain their certification by earning 5 re-certification credits of continuing education and service each year.
RICH promotes the highest ethical standards, increased professional skills, and continuing education in horticulture through current research-based horticultural information and practices.
If you are a working professional in the green industry, becoming a Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist may be the right next step for you to develop your career.
The RICH Program is a professional development course that:
- Upgrades the professionalism of individuals in the nursery and landscape industries
- Increases the education, competence, and pride of nursery and landscape employees
- Informs the public of increased industry professionalism and competence
- Provides added credentials in a business’s advertising
An Integrated Foundation of Knowledge
RICH provides working horticulturists with best horticultural practices such as planting and pruning while also emphasizing practices that will conserve and protect our soils and water. The RICH course and the Manual it is based on serve as an integrated foundation of knowledge from across a variety of sectors of our industry. The course and Manual are interdisciplinary, not only because the green industry is interdisciplinary, but because working with plants and the land is interdisciplinary. Because of this, it is important that professional horticulturists possess a broad and integrated foundation of knowledge, providing a common standard of practice across the industry. By becoming a Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist, you will contribute to the enrichment and professionalism of the green industry and raise the bar for what it means to take care of our beautiful state.
Importance for Professional Development
Why become RICH certified?
- Grow your skills and knowledge with the best horticultural practices such as planting and pruning and practices that will conserve and protect our soils and water
- Get recognized by local businesses who value employees with this certification
- Get recognized by green industry business clients who appreciate working with a professional whose education and experience are certified
- Get promoted on the RI Nursery and Landscape Association website and through other association advertising programs
- Certification promotes professional attitudes and quality of work
- RICH certification is recognized in all six New England states
How to get Certified
The RICH program has been revised and updated and has a new format. To become RICH certified you will need to:
- Complete the RICH Course (online)
- Complete optional plant identification courses and workshops (in person and online)
- Pass the first part of the exam on the RICH Course and Training Manual
- Pass the second part of the exam on plant identification
- Maintain your certification by earning 5 re-certification credits each year
RICH course completion + course and Manual exam passing grade + plant ID passing grade = RICH Certificate
The Course and Exam
The 2022 RICH Course:
- Takes place over 8 weeks in October and November with an orientation on September 29, 2022
- Class is held on Tuesday evenings with optional study sessions on Thursday evenings. Each Tuesday session is with a different expert and includes a presentation and time for Q&A
- All sessions take place on Zoom and the Growing Futures online learning management system
- Review/study time is in early December
- Exam is administered in mid-December
- Additional exam times and plant identification workshops are held in the spring
- You will have 18 months to complete both parts of the exam after enrolling in the program or you will need to re-enroll.
The Training Manual
The newly-updated RI Certified Horticulturist Training Manual includes:
- Promotion of the highest ethical standards, increased professional skills, and continuing education in horticulture through current research-based horticultural information and practices
- Advocacy for upholding the highest standards in horticulture, environmental practices, and land stewardship and raising the bar for what it means to take care of our beautiful state
- Hundreds of illustrations, diagrams, and photographs
- 24 chapters and 350+ pages written by local horticultural experts
- Sections of the Manual include Horticultural Fundamentals; Landcare; Pollinators, Pests, and Pathologies; and Land Management, Challenges, and Remedies
Enrollment and Fees
Enrollment spaces are limited and reserved for green industry professionals and Level 2 Registered Apprentices. To enroll:
- Submit an application including your current position, area(s) of professional concentration, and number of years working in the green industry ($100 application fee, $50 to be refunded if you are not selected for the course)
- Enroll in the RICH Course, receive a copy of the RICH Training Manual, and gain access to the course materials through the online learning management system ($450 enrollment fee)
- Enroll in optional plant identification course for RICH students ($45)
- Enroll in additional optional plant identification workshops ($35 each)
If you have any questions, please contact:
Jordan Miller, Director of Education and Training
RI Nursery and Landscape Association