Daly, T.1; Greg Huber2
1County Extension Agent, University of Georgia, Lawrenceville, GA, 30046-4804
2Public Service Professional, University of Georgia, Griffin, GA, 30223


~~The green industry provides over 84,000 jobs and $68.5 billion in economic impact for the State of Georgia. As a significant international and regional hub for transportation, the state continues to experience steady growth and development, and the demand for ornamental horticulture products and services will increase. Certification programs are a means to affirm professional proficiency and to promote best management practices among practitioners. To help establish a standard of professionalism among workers, UGA Extension administers two certification programs, the Georgia Certified Plant Professional (GCPP) and the Georgia Certified Landscape Professional (GCLP), which are self- study courses offered through the UGA Center for Urban Agriculture. Both require a written test, plant, and pest identification with the GCLP having additional hands-on demonstration tests. The Georgia Certified Plant Professional program was conceived in the 1970s initially as the ‘Georgia Nurseryman Certification, a collaboration of the University of Georgia Horticulture Department and green industry professional organization.  A similar partnership in 1994 formed the Georgia Certified Landscape Professional program. Since its inception, 1,662 individuals have attained the GCPP, and 351 have the GCLP certification. Frequently, certified individuals assume the role of owners, supervisors, and crew leaders, which translates to indirect program impact for employees who benefit from training from GCLP/GCPP certified supervisors. Certification benefits also extend to clientele and the environment in the form of best management practices for improved knowledge of plant material, pest management, healthy landscapes, and enhanced environmental quality. The Georgia Certified Plant Professional and Georgia Certified Landscape Professional programs are strongly supported by two of the largest green industry professional organizations in the state, the Georgia Green Industry Association, and the Georgia Urban Agriculture Council. Each year, they sponsor and host venues for professional certification and training opportunities at their statewide educational and trade show events.


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