CLEMSON, S.C. — As a former landscape professional himself, Clemson Extension Agent Drew Jeffers is familiar with the job training, or lack thereof, that can be prevalent within the industry.
“Usually the training is, ‘Welcome to the crew. Lunch is at noon and we’ll be eating on the truck as we go to the next job.’ And your training for planting trees and shrubs is usually, ‘Hey, green side up,’” Jeffers said.
With that in mind, and aimed at offering landscape professionals greater access to efficient and affordable training, Clemson Cooperative Extension has announced the South Carolina Certified Landscape Professional (SCCLP) program.
The training is an online, self-paced certification program that provides high-level horticultural education to green industry professionals and operators. Registration is open from June 15 to Aug. 14, 2020, at a cost of $300 per person, which includes the course and license fee. The program will commence Aug. 14.
“We noticed a real need for landscapers, both professionals and their staff, to have access to additional training,” said Jeffers, an Extension Horticulture agent. “We’re excited to give landscape professionals something similar to Extension’s Master Gardener program but built based specifically on their needs.”
SCCLP is designed to teach landscape professionals best management practices for major components of an urban landscape. The course covers everything from soil conditioning to basic tree care to a review of culture of herbaceous perennials and shrubs to pest management and turf. By investing in certification, those who complete the training will bring enhanced knowledge of the landscape and how it fits into the surrounding ecosystem.
The new program also provides benefits to the public, as its website will maintain a list of landscape professionals who have been certified by completing the training, allowing property owners and other clients an extra measure of confidence in selecting a landscape professional.
“This gives landscape professionals something to market themselves that says, ‘We’re going above and beyond. I don’t just have a degree; I have a license that requires an extra step from a well-respected name in agriculture,’” Jeffers said. “They also have to maintain this certification and are required to get re-education credits every five years. We’re also developing online advanced courses, so they’ll be able to take the primary course and basic certification and then go back for more advanced courses.”
For more information or to register, contact Jeffers at 864-596-2993 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Steven Bradley, Clemson University