How to Become Certified

Updated January 2020

To become MCLP certified, a landscaping professional must pass the MCLP exam. Exams are offered three times each year in early March, August and November.  Please check our calendar of events for dates.

Preparing for the Exam

MLP offers landscape professionals working toward their Massachusetts Certified Landscape Professional (MCLP) certification a comprehensive green industry resource called the MCLP Study Guide. The 6.0 version of the Study Guide, published in 2015, presents the study material in a digital reference format. The online guide incorporates 1,500 pages of educational material, 400 high-quality color images and interactive tutorials.  No hard copy publication will be provided.

Study Guide ownership is valid for two years, after which Study Guide permissions must be renewed.

All information on the MCLP Exam is contained in the MCLP Study Guide.  Purchase of the MCLP Study Guide is required to register for the exam and Study Guide access must be active, not expired.

Study Guide and Exam Fee Overview

The MCLP Study Guide is available as an online resource only.  Study Guide ownership is non-transferrable.  Once assigned to an individual, the Study Guide login is the property of the individual and not the company.

$95....... member Study Guide
$195..... non-member Study Guide

$150....... member Exam
$250..... non-member Exam

(the re-exam must be taken within one calendar year of the previous exam)
$75....... member re-exam
$150..... non-member re-exam

Exam Format

The exam is a traditional pen and paper exam.  There is no electronic version of the exam.

The exam consists of two sections:

1.  Multiple Choice - approximately 150 multiple choice questions.  These questions are derived from the Study Guide Chapters.

2.  Image Identification for Plants, Insects/Pests and Diseases.  The Plant Identification portion of the exam will contain 45 plants to identify.  Scoring on the Image ID section will be based on the correct number of plants identified out of 40 possible plants, 10 insects/pests and 10 diseases.  Latin and common names are required on the plant identification, with partial credit given.  Spelling is important.  You will study the images located in tutorials C, E, F for this section - although images located in the Study Guide Chapters may be included on the ID portion of the exam as well. 

You must receive at least 70% correct on each section to pass the exam (see below):

Effective January 2020, the MCLP Committee has adopted the following change to the MCLP exam:

Candidates will have one year in which to pass both sections of the exam.   If an exam candidate achieves a 70% or higher score on one section of the exam (ID or multiple choice), but does not pass the other section, he or she may return within a year (one of the next 3 exams) to retest on the failed section only.   Within that year, once a candidate achieves 70% or higher on both sections, the MCLP credential is granted.  If both sections are not passed within three exams / one year, the exam candidate would return to testing on both sections.

There is no limit in the number of times one may attempt the MCLP exam.

If You Pass the Exam

Once certified, an MCLP is required to maintain his or her certification by earning ten (10) continuing education credits per year.  These credits may be earned in many ways, such as:

... attending MLP dinner meetings or seminars
... maintaining certifications and licenses, such as a pesticide license
... attending MLP or other industry safety training
... maintaining current memberships in MLP or allied associations
... performing industry service, such as serving on a board or speaking at an industry event
... performing community service in the field
Credits are reported annually using a Recertification Tally Sheet (RTS).  The RTS is due by February 15th each year for the previous calendar year.

Questions about certification?  Please contact Carrie Martin at the MLP office.