2625 Butterfield Rd. Ste 104S
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523
Phone 630-472-2851
Fax 630-472-3150



Landscape Industry Certified and the Certified Landscape Technician - Exterior (CLT-E)

More than qualified . . . certified!

Show current and future employers you have the initiative to take charge of your professional development and career through certification. Show current and future clients you have the expertise to get the job done right.


Certification Video: A Look Inside the CLT Field Examination (4:10)

CLT Facts and Figures (including impact on salary) [more]
Full library of CLT articles from The Landscape Contractor Magazine [more]

Landscape Industry Certified Videos (Produced by PLANET)

For Contractors:

For Consumer of Landscape Services:

Use Landscape Industry Certified to lower your workers' compensation insurance rates

Most landscape contractors have seen their worker's compensation insurance rates skyrocket this past year. As an added benefit to supporting the CLT, all companies with new CLTs receive a letter from ILCA that can be given to their brokers to help when shopping for new worker's compensation rates.

This letter details that the company has CLTs on staff and that these individuals have completed a national program based on safety and best practices. This is similar to how a wellness program can help lower health insurance costs. This is just another way ILCA is helping member businesses who support the CLT. 

October 2-3, 2015
Written and Hands-on Examination

Both Written and Hands-on Exams plus an Equipment Familiarization session will be offered over the two-day period.

Written Exams - Friday, October 2, 2015 (8am-12pm)
Hands-on Exams - Saturday, October 3, 2015 (7am-6pm)

Please Register by Friday, September 18, 2015

The written and hands-on exams will be held at:
Weitendorf Agricultural Education Center
17840 Laraway Road
Joliet, IL 60433

Register for the 10/2&3/15 Examinations
(online registration)

Register for the 10/2&3/15 Examinations (PDF form)

Order the new Landscape Industry Certified Study Guides

Cancellation Policy (field or written):
Upon receipt of payment, new applicants are entitled to one set of field and one set written examinations (in the same module) within 365 days. If the applicant fails to take the field test within that period, the applicant will forfeit 65% of the registration fee. If the applicant fails to take the written test, he will forfeit 35% of the registration fee. If the applicant fails to take both the written and field examinations, he will forfeit 100% of the fee and need to register again as a new applicant.

If ILCA is notified of a cancellation more than 72 hours before the examination date, the applicant may reschedule for the next available test date at no additional charge.

If the applicant notifies ILCA less than 72 hours before the examination date, the applicant will forfeit 35% of the fee and may reschedule for the next available test date at no additional charge.

If the applicant fails to notify ILCA, he will forfeit 35% of the examination fee and needs to pay the retake fees when the examinations are taken again.

What is Certification?
It is a voluntary, national, hands-on testing program administered by the Illinois Landscape Contractors Associations (ILCA) that seeks to recognize proficiency in the landscape workforce and upgrade the status of the landscape professional. Certification recognizes those landscape technicians who demonstrate they can meet strict performance and safety standards in installation or maintenance modules.

What does the test include?
The test is comprised of written and hands-on field tests. ILCA offers applicants a choice of two specialized modules, Installation or Maintenance.

Part 1 - Common Core-- everyone must complete these basic landscape knowledge/skills which include three written exams and nine field exams.

Part 2 - Specialized Modules – applicants select a module to match their job skills.

What are the test problems?
Tests with the same suffix (example: 5.21 & 8.21) are the exact same test. You only need to pass the test once and it applies to all relevant certification categories.

Part 1 Written - Common Core challenges - everyone must pass.

Written Exams (Test 1.01 - Common Core)

  • Safety
  • Communication
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Math
  • Reporting
All written questions are offered in English and Spanish
Part 2 – Specialty Modules- Select your area of expertise.

Softscape Installation

Written Comprehension

  1. Common Core (1.01)
  2. Softscape Plan Reading (5.02)
  3. Softscape Horticultural
    Principles (5.03)
  4. Irrigation Components (5.04)

Field Exams

  1. Plant ID (problem# 5.21)
  2. Sod Installation (5.51)
  3. Program Controller (5.22)
  4. Lateral Repair and Head Adjustment (5.23)
  5. Tree Planting and Staking (5.24)
  6. Plant Layout (5.52)
  7. Rototiller Operation (5.53)

Hardscape Installation

Written Comprehension

  1. Common Core (1.01)
  2. Hardscape Plan Reading (6.05)
  3. Hardscape Principles and
    Calculations (6.06)

Field Exams

  1. Chainsaw (6.25)
  2. Grading and Drainage (6.61)
  3. Instrument (6.62)
  4. Paver Installation (6.63)
  5. Skid-Steer Operation (6.64)

Turf Maintenance

Written Comprehension

  1. Common Core (1.01)
  2. Irrigation Components and Principles (8.07)
  3. Turfgrass Maintenance Principles (8.08)
  4. Turfgrass Maintenance Calculations (8.09)

Field Test

  1. Program Controller (8.22)
  2. Lateral Repair and Head Adjustment (8.23)
  3. 21” Mower (8.81)
  4. Intermediate Walk-Behind
    Mower (8.82)
  5. Aerator (8.85)
  6. Edger and Trimmer (8.84)
  7. Riding Mower (8.83)
  8. Turf Fertilizer (8.86)
  9. Power Blower (8.26)

Ornamental Maintenance

Written Comprehension

  1. Common Core (1.01)
  2. Irrigation Components and Principles (9.07)
  3. Ornamental Maintenance Horticultural Principles (9.12)
  4. Ornamental Maintenance Calculations (9.14)

Field Test

  1. Plant ID (9.21)
  2. Program Controller (9.22)
  3. Lateral Repair and
    Head Adjustment (9.23)
  4. Tree Planting and Staking (9.24)
  5. Chainsaw (9.25)
  6. Power Blowers (9.26)
  7. Pruning (9.91)

What can I expect on test day?
Written exams consist of timed, multiple choice exams which are offered several times throughout the year (not offered the day of the field exam). The annual field exam is a series of timed, hands-on stations, monitored by one or more judges, requiring applicants to perform a variety of landscape functions. At the end of each timed problem, applicants rotate to another work station.

Test Overview and Examination Changes
PLANET has recently made changes to the certification process. These changes impact both new and returning applicants (retests). Please look over these documents to determine how certification changes may impact you.

Checklist for Retest Candidates

What Does it Cost?
The fee for new applicants is $300 for ILCA members and $450 for non-members. If an applicant does not pass on the first attempt, there is a $35 ($80 non-member) retake fee per test problem.

Study Guides and Preparing for the Test
Applicants may purchase study guides prepared for each maintenance and installation. Study Guides are available for $70 with 20% S&H fee and 7.75% sales tax (total = $89.43 per manual or $178.88 for the set). Order through ILCA at 630-472-2851 or or via our online publications order form:

ILCA Publications Order Form

CLT Library
The Landscape Contractor magazine has been running a series of monthly articles on CLT certification. These articles provide helpful tips on passing various sections of the field examinations.
Note: Some of the articles contain outdated problem numbers. Problem numbers were changed in 2008. The links below contain the correct numbers even though the article text may contain an older number. The problems are the same only the numbers changed.
December 2008: 9.91 - Pruning
January 2009: 9.26 - Power Blower
February 2009: 8.81 - 21-inch Mower
April 2009: 8.83 Riding Mower
June 2009: 8.85 Aerator
August 2009: 5.53 Rototiller
September 2009
Full Certification Field Test Review [Read]
November 2009
Certification Indoor Field Test Overview [Read]
December 2009
What It Means to Be a CLT [Read]


CLTs must maintain their certification by earning points in various calendar years. Most ILCA educational events (including MidAm) are worth recertification credit. Points are listed on each ILCA event's web page or can be obtained by contacting ILCA at
For an overview of the recertification requirements visit PLANET's website [more]

CLT Facts - Did you know: (results taken from the "State of the CLT" survey)
  • There are approximately 350 certified professionals in Illinois. Illinois has the 3rd highest number of CLTs behind California and Colorado.

  • 32.6% of CLTs earned a salary increase for passing the CLT exam (4.37% mean salary increase)
    37.8% received a non-monetary award, reward, or recognition.
    52.2% were either encouraged or required by their employers to apply

  • What was the PRIMARY reason you pursued your CLT?
    Encouraged by employer to apply - 43.5%
    My choice was made voluntarily - 32.6%
    Required by employer - 8.7%
    Seeking a promotion or financial incentives - 4.3%

  • How does your employer cover the cost of certification?
    Employer paid for full initial certification and retakes - 69.6%
    Employer paid for full initial certification and I paid for retakes - 23.9%

  • Within the industry, how is your CLT perceived?
    56.5% of CLTs responded the perception of them as professionals is "Above Average to Excellent."

  • What can ILCA do to help bring more attention to the credential?
    Promote the CLT to the public and end users - 67.4%
    Municipalities specify CLT in landscape bids - 52.2%
    Landscape architects specify CLT in their proposals - 41.3%



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