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Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist Program

What is RI•CH?

An Integrated Foundation of Knowledge

The Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist Program, or RI•CH for short, 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 RI•CH 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.

About the RI•CH program:

RI•CH is a program of the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association (RINLA). The RI•CH certificate is earned by green industry professionals who pass an examination based on plant identification and the contents of The RI•CH Training Manual and RI•CH instructional course. Rhode Island Certified Horticulturists then maintain their certification by earning 5 re-certification credits of continuing education and service each year.

RI•CH 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 RI•CH Program is a professional development course and regionally recognized industry credential that:

  • Heightens the professional caliber 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 to a business’s advertising.

Importance for Professional Development

Why become RI•CH 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.
  • RI•CH certification is recognized in all six New England states.

How to get Certified

To become RI•CH certified you will need to:

  • Complete the RI•CH Course (online).
  • Complete optional plant identification classes and workshops (in person and online) as needed.
  • Pass the exam on the RI•CH Course and Training Manual including the final project.
  • Pass the second part of the exam on plant identification.
  • Maintain your certification by earning 5 re-certification credits each year.

RI•CH course completion +
Course and Manual exam passing grade +
final project completion +
plant ID exam passing grade =
RI•CH Certificate 

The Training Manual

The 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.

The Course and Exam

The summer 2024 self-paced RI•CH course:

  • Takes place over 10 weeks in June, July, and August with an orientation on Zoom on Monday, June 24, 2024.
  • The course is self-paced, so you may complete it at your own convenience.
  • All course materials and lecture sessions are available on the Growing Futures online learning management system.
  • Review/study time is in late August includes a facilitated Q&A with RINLA’s Director of Education.
  • Exam is administered on August 27.
  • Additional exam times and plant identification workshops are held in the spring.
  • You will have 18 months to complete all parts of the exam after enrolling in the program or you will need to re-enroll.

Completion Options

The RI•CH course is available twice each year:

  • a self-paced, asynchronous online course in the summer
  • a live-meeting, synchronous, online course in the fall

There are multiple components to the RI•CH exam. RI•CH candidates must attend all of the lecture sessions and then pass each of the exam components to qualify for certification and have an 18-month grace period from their date of enrollment in the course to do so. Each exam component is offered twice each year:

  • Questions on the lectures and Manual in August and November
  • Final project in August and November
  • Plant ID in February and September

Each winter, optional plant identification classes are available to people enrolled in RI•CH. Plant ID workshops will be available throughout the year as well.

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 admitted to the course).
  • Enroll in the RI•CH Course, receive a copy of the RI•CH Training Manual, and gain access to the course materials through the online learning management system ($450 enrollment fee).
  • Enroll in optional plant identification classes for RI•CH students ($45). To be held in the winter. Registration will be available separately.
  • Enroll in additional optional plant identification workshops ($35 each). Held throughout the year, ongoing. Registration will be available separately.

If you have any questions, please contact:
Jordan Miller, Director of Education and Training
RI Nursery and Landscape Association
education.rinla@gmail.com

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