Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturist Program (CPH)




In 1985 the Maryland Nurserymen’s Association began its Certified Professional Horticulturist program, a voluntary program for those desiring to demonstrate proficiency in horticulture. After meeting a combination of educational and work experiences, and studying a comprehensive manual that is the heart of the program, an applicant must pass a rigorous examination in order to be certified. 


The purpose of the CPH Program is as follows:
  • To raise and improve the professional standards of the nursery, landscape, and garden center industries by giving special recognition to individuals who have demonstrated a high level of competence in the principles and practices relevant to these industries
  • To encourage and promote the education and training of new employees.
  • To encourage and promote continuing education and training of all professionals within nursery, landscape, and garden center industries.
  • To have this high level of attainment recognized by the gardening public as well as within the nursery, landscape, and garden center industries.


In order to apply for certification, an industry member must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Sponsorship by a Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association member.
  • Three years of full-time employment within the Ornamental Horticulture Industry (2 years part-time, minimum 500 hours per year, will constitute one year of full-time employment), or Two years of full-time industry employment and two years post-secondary education in horticulturally related fields, or One year of employment and four years of post-secondary school education in horticulturally related fields.
  • Letters of reference must be submitted from previous employers to verify years of employment.

To view the CPH program brochure, select here


In order to become a Certified Professional Horticulturist, one must:

  • Submit a completed application (for the online version of the application select here) together with any applicable references and the certification fee (made payable to the Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association).
  • Achieve a score on the Certification Exam of at least 70 points on each section of the exam - multiple choice and plant identification. Examinations will be scheduled by the Certification Board.
  • At the time of testing, sign a Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association Code of Ethics form.

Certification is valid for three years, after which it may be renewed for an additional three years for a minimal fee.

Certification examination will be based on the Certified Professional Horticulturist Training Manual of the Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association and/or other approved study materials. 

The Required Body of Knowledge

Managing or working with a nursery, landscape, or garden center business requires in-depth knowledge of a wide variety of subjects. For CPH certification purposes, after the eligibility requirements have been met, the candidate need only demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the CPH Board, that the candidate knows and can apply the essentials of the nursery, landscape, and garden center industries.

The examination questions will be based on such essentials as are included in the Training Manual. 


The Certified Professional Horticulturist (CPH) program is sponsored by the Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association. Responsibility for administering the CPH program rests with the CPH Board. The Board is comprised of four appointed members from MNLGA, representing nursery, landscape, and garden center industries, one member from the University of Maryland Department of Horticulture, one member from the Maryland State Department of Agriculture, the MNLGA President, and the Executive Director.

CPH examinations are prepared, conducted, and graded by or under the direction of the CPH Certification Board.

The Certification Board has no intention whatever to determine who shall engage in the nursery, landscape, and garden center industries. That a person is not certified does not indicate that the candidate is unqualified to engage in these industries, only that such a person has not fulfilled the requirements for CPH status or applied for the recognition. 

Use of CPH Designation

As a Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturist, individuals may use the CPH designation with his/her name on his/her business letterhead and on his/her business card. Certification is for individuals only. The CPH designation may not be used to imply that a business or firm is accredited.