ICN Professional Certification 

The ICN Pro Program was created to uphold and promote the standards of professionalism and excellence within our industry.  By focusing on individual certification, the program encourages self-improvement and continual learning.  The program was initially developed with a focus on the garden center and retail segment of our industry but is open to all horticultural professionals looking to expand their skills and knowledge.

There are currently two types of certification available - Woody and Perennial. Professionals may become certified in one or both types. Skills and knowledge needed to serve the public will be proven by exam, which will be offered at various times and places throughout the state. The written exam is based upon information found and the study manual available through the IGIA office. The exam also covers plant, insect and disease identification, and basic landscape design.

Successful candidates will be awarded an ICN Pro certificate, patch and the right to advertise ICN Pro status on letterhead, business cards, clothing, etc. Certification is for individuals, not firms, and the ICNPro title may be promoted only in relation to individuals.


Enrollment in the ICN Pro Program is voluntary. To become certified, an individual must:

  1. Be the owner or officer of a nursery firm; or currently be employed by a nursery firm for a total of 4,000 hours; or currently be employed by a nursery firm for a total of 2,000 hours and have successfully completed 2 full years of classroom study in a recognized college-level horticultural program.
  2. Successfully complete the ICN Pro examination (exam dates).
  3. Pledge in writing that should their certification ever by revoked for whatever reason, they will not display any distinguishing emblems, titles, or in any manner whatsoever imply that they are an Illinois Certified Nursery Professional.

Program Manual
The materials you will need to study in order to be prepared for the exam can be found in our ICN Pro Manual. The manual is available at no charge to all who are interested in preparing for the exam. 

Benefits of Certification
Becoming a certified professional demonstrates commitment to your profession, distinguishes you from the competition, enhances your employability and opportunity within the industry, and brings greater value to the nursery and landscape industry.

Promote Your Certification

  • Add the ICN Pro logo to your business cards, email signature, and any outgoing business correspondence (if you don't have the logo, contact the IGIA office to get a digital file).
  • Encourage your employer to add the ICN Pro logo to company marketing and promotional material where applicable
  • Add the ICN Pro logo to your company website with a link to the page
  • Display your ICN Pro certificate where you conduct appointments with customers
  • Write articles on frequently asked questions from your customers that can be used on your company website, social media, etc. from the ICN Pro on staff.  If you do, please share them with IGIA so we can publicize your work on social media and
  • Attend IGIA events where other ICN Pros are present to network and share ideas and best practices

Annual Recertification

CEU UPDATE: There have been questions about how webinars and industry-related virtual meetings can be applied to your continuing education since that method of learning is relatively new. Based on the allocation of points through other methods, we have determined that it makes the most sense for webinars or virtual meetings to be ¼ point per one-hour session.  You can see that on the updated renewal form.

Certification must be renewed every year. This is based on accrual of continuing education points and paying the $30 renewal fee.  Renewal is handled every December by submitting either the electronic or paper form at the links below, along with your continuing education log.

Paper Recertification Form