Oct. 17 2011 03:18 PM

IA Viewpoint: Certification— Proving We’ve Got What It Takes

How do you prove you’ve got what it takes in this world? If you’re an irrigation contractor, you can get certified by the Irrigation Association.

But who certifies the certifier? The National Commission for Certifying Agencies. At the end of September, the IA Certification Board applied to NCCA to have the certified contractor program accredited. This is the first of the Select Certified programs to be submitted for accreditation.

High Standards

Accreditation is a goal the IACB has been working toward for the past three years. We have been working hard to ensure that our program meets NCCA’s high standards within specific areas of competency. This has involved reviewing policies and procedures within the program to ensure they meet the needs of program candidates and are fair and consistent. If successful, IA will have the only accredited certification program in the industry, underscoring its goal to raise the bar for industry professionalism and offer professionals a means to stand apart from the competition.

The Select Certified program currently offers seven certifications, including those for contractors, designers, landscape irrigation auditors, golf irrigation auditors, agriculture and landscape water managers, and agricultural irrigation specialists. In pursuit of accreditation and to ensure a top-notch program overall, the IACB continues to assess all aspects of the Select Certified program. Recently, several changes have been made to expand some of our certification offerings and to make others more accessible.

New Programs

Certified landscape irrigation auditors now have a chance to earn four CEUs by completing an audit on IA’s new audit forms. The forms are based on the revised auditing process, which was substantially updated in December 2010. Participants must have earned their certifications before June 1, 2011, and must be pre-approved to participate. For more information and to apply for eligibility, visit http:// www.irrigation.org/earnCEUs/.

Certified landscape irrigation auditors will soon be able to add a drip designation to their current certification. This one-hour computerbased test will consist of 25-30 items. The cost will be $150 for IA members and $250 for nonmembers. Candidates who successfully complete the exam will also earn five continuing education units.

The IACB is also developing practice exams for certified irrigation contractors and certified landscape irrigation auditors. Expected to be released in approximately six months, these tests are designed to let candidates experience computerbased testing. These will be nonproctored exams available online.

Making CEUs Easier

To keep your certification current, you must now earn and submit continuing education units every two years, not every year as in the past.

The IACB has been receiving an increasing number of requests from seminar and class organizers to have their event pre-approved for CEU credit. To streamline approvals, the IACB is developing a formal process for such requests. To learn more about this process or make a request, contact the IA at certification@irrigation.org.

Becoming Certified

IA certification validates your skill set to your customers, peers and employers and often opens opportunities you may not have had before. Having certified employees is also good for a company’s reputation and demonstrates your commitment to efficient irrigation practices.

Being certified can change not only how others see you but also how you see yourself. All of today’s professionals benefit from the high standards of knowledge, experience and professionalism required by the Select Certified program. I challenge you to prove to everyone you’ve got what it takes and pursue certification in 2011 and 2012.

IA News:

IA Participates in National Council of State Legislatures Legislative Summit

The National Council of State Legislators Legislative Summit took place August 9-11 in San Antonio, Texas. The 2011 event brought 6,000 legislators and staff together for three days of policy discussions. The event is called the largest and most substantive meeting of its kind in the nation. At the summit, significant discussions were held on water policy formation, environmental challenges and farm bill development.

For the first time, the Irrigation Association exhibited at the event. State Affairs Director Chad Forcey participated in meetings on issues ranging from state licensing to water quality, and he made contacts with key legislators and industry representatives. Attendees received information at the IA booth about IA’s certification programs and opportunities to increase the efficient use of water. For more information, please contact Chad Forcey (chad@irrigation.org).

SWAT Update

The Smart Water Application Technologies initiative is a partnership between the Irrigation Association and water purveyors to promote water efficient irrigation technologies through performance testing and development of marketing materials. An updated testing protocol for pressure regulating sprinklers is now completed and will soon be posted on the SWAT web site for public comment. For the soil moisture sensor protocol, SWAT has posted a response to the public comments received.

To learn more about SWAT visit www.irrigation.org /swat.

2011 Irrigation Show Sponsors The Irrigation Association is proud to recognize the 2011 Irrigation Show sponsors: Eurodrip U.S.A., Inc.

(www.eurodripusa.com), Hunter (www.hunterindustries.com), Jain Irrigation, Inc. (www.jainirrigationinc .com), John Deere Water (www.deere.com/en_US/water /index.html), Rain Bird (www.rainbird.com) and Toro (www.toro.com).

The 2011 Irrigation Show and Innovations in Irrigation Conference is the industry event you can’t afford to miss. This year’s event puts more emphasis on education, innovations and networking. What’s new? There are more education opportunities including new irrigation seminars and more opportunities than ever before for certified professionals to earn continuing education units. There is more on the show floor including an Exhibit Hall reception, an expanded New Product Contest and the show’s first ever pond and waterscape pavilion. The International Professional Pond Companies Association will hold its seventh annual INFO TANZA event at the show, including three days of pond and waterscape education seminars (separate registration is required at www.ippca.com/infoTanza-Home). For Irrigation Show details and to register, visit www.irrigationshow.org.

Irrigation Show to Welcome ASIC Winners’ Posters

The Irrigation Show will display the American Society of Irrigation Consultants’ poster presentations of award-winning design projects on the show floor. ASIC will showcase the 12 projects considered the “best of the best” of ASIC’s Excellence in Irrigation award winners from 2005-2011. Designed by independent irrigation consultants, landscape architects and public water purveyors, the posters feature large-scale, innovative water harvesting; irrigation design; and water management projects.

Renew Your IA Membership for 2012

As you look ahead to 2012, be sure to renew your Irrigation Association membership. Membership in IA is an investment in your organization, your employees and the irrigation industry itself. It demonstrates your commitment to promoting efficient irrigation and to longterm sustainability of water resources for future generations.

If your organization’s address or contact information has changed, please update it on the IA website or contact IA at membership@irrigation.org.

The mission of the Irrigation Association is to promote efficient irrigation.

For more information, call 703-536-7080, write news@irrigation.org or visit www.irrigation.org.