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Become an MCH
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Getting MCH certification benefits you, your business, and your customers.

The Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist Program serves MNLA members by providing opportunities to increase knowledge and promote best practices across the green industry. MCH certification is available to any qualified nursery, landscape or "green industry” professional who agrees to our code of ethics and completes an application for certification. This credential is earned by passing, with successful scores, a multiple choice written exam and a Plant ID exam. We provide all the study materials you need.

This credential requires both study and experience on a wide range of topics, including:

  • Identification and classification of both native plants and ornamentals
  • Hardiness zones, soil science, and regional growing conditions
  • Landscaping, hardscaping, and use of materials and equipment
  • Planting and pruning trees and shrubs
  • Turf care, irrigation, protecting groundwater
  • Mulch, fertilizers, chemical and natural treatments
  • Pest management, plant diseases, weed control
  • Safety, sustainability, conservation, and environmental impact

Click here to download the MCH program brochure.


Why become an MCH?

The MCH designation provides credibility that helps customers choose who to work with in an industry with a wide range of skills and competencies. An MCH must commit to continuous education to learn the latest industry developments, newest products, and best practices. They go the extra mile to make sure their customers are successful. 

  • The MCH credential opens doors with potential clients and employers. 
  • MCH educational programs and events present the latest industry developments, newest products, and best practices, as well as provide professional networking opportunities.
  • Every MCH is backed up by a network of other capable, MCH certified industry professionals dedicated to setting the highest standards of service. 

“The customer quickly realizes that, as an MCH, I bring a number of talents to the table. This is an advantage which becomes very useful in crafting a comprehensive approach to managing their landscapes.”

—Charles Scherzi, Jr., MCH 


Why should my employees get MCH certified?

  • The MCH designation is a reliable independent credential that consumers can count on when choosing who to work with. 
  • An MCH understands the big picture because their certification demands interdisciplinary competence. They can offer practical and comprehensive solutions to a wide range of problems.
  • An MCH must commit to continuous education to learn the latest industry developments, newest products, and best practices, so your business will never be "the last to know.”
  • Achieving MCH status breeds confidence and self-worth, and enables the consistent delivery of the highest quality service to the customer.

“My clients trust me. As an MCH, I am not only giving them the benefit of my horticultural knowledge and experience; but that the services that I am offering them are both honest and fairly priced. I see the MCH continually elevating the bar across the industry.”

—Charles Scherzi, Jr., MCH

How do I apply for MCH Certification?

Applicants must have a minimum of three years full-time employment in the industry, or two years of experience plus an Associate’s Degree or higher in horticulture or a related field. 

This credential is earned by passing, with successful scores, a multiple choice written exam and a Plant ID exam. Preparation for the exam is facilitated by a self-study program provided in the MNLA Resource Guide. The Guide covers a wide range of nursery, landscape, tree, lawn, insect, chemical, and environmental topics. The cost of the Guide is $79 for MNLA members and $99 for non-members. 

Please note: Each individual who registers for the MCH Exam must purchase their own copy of the MNLA Resource Guide. Furthermore, your "Book Identification Number" from your exclusive copy must be included in your MCH Exam application. To purchase a copy of the MNLA Resource Guide, click here.

The MCH Exam consists of two parts: the first is a 150 question multiple-choice test. The second is a plant identification test. A grade of 70% or above is required on each section of the exam in order to achieve certification. The exam is offered twice each year, usually in February and August. The exam fee is $55 for MNLA members and $75 for non-members.

Check our event calendar frequently for the next available exam.

Professionals who receive this credential must earn annual continuing education credits in order retain the MCH status.


“Working in a country club/golf course atmosphere, my boss relies on me to make intelligent and timely decisions as to when to trim along the fairway, or when to spray for wooly Adelgid, B leaf Miner, or even something simple but important, like checking soil PH/nutrient levels in the many gardens.”

—Daniel Zima, MCH


MNLA offers reciprocity with other state associations in the green industry. If you hold a current horticulture certification from another state, please click here to inquire via email.