Theresa Helgeson, a lab services coordinator in the Agriculture and Natural
Resources Department at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, recently fulfilled the necessary qualifications to be awarded the designation of “Certified Professional (CP) with a “Garden Center Specialty” by the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA). Helgeson is now certified in all three specialties of the MNLA Certification Program. In addition to the Garden Center Specialty, she is also a Certified Professional in Landscape and Grower Specialties. Helgeson is a resident of Crookston.
To be granted certification status, Helgeson had to pass a comprehensive examination for each specialty listed above. The exams are administered by the MNLA and the University of Minnesota. Prior to taking the exam, Helgeson was required to accumulate a minimum of 2,000 hours in horticulture-related employment, or two years in an educational program that includes a structured internship.
The certification exam consists of plant identification, landscape planning, sales and marketing procedures, general knowledge of horticulture, and practical application skills. The exam was developed through the efforts of faculty members from the Department of Horticultural Science at the University of Minnesota and members of the MNLA Certification Committee. Since the program’s inception in 1978, nearly 770 individuals have achieved the status of MNLA Certified Professional.
The test is designed to measure the skills of practicing professionals and to improve the quality and standards of the nursery and landscape industry. As a continuing education requirement, Helgeson must earn recertification points every three years to maintain the MNLA Certified Professional status.
The Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association is a statewide trade association with over 1,300 members. Association members include nurseries, garden centers, landscape designers, landscape contractors, irrigation contractors, professional gardening services, tree care specialists, commercial flower growers, and turf and landscape management professionals from throughout Minnesota and neighboring states. MNLA represents and provides service to its member businesses through educational programs, conventions and trade shows, marketing activities and public policy initiatives.