October 15, 2012
The Landscape Industry Certified Retail Horticulturist (formerly Certified Horticultural Technician) exam has been updated to reflect the changing nature of retail garden centres.

The updated exam is still a combination written and practical evaluation, and is based on the principles of validity (how close to it relates to the job), reliability (how objective the test is) and defensibility (how well it holds up to scrutiny).

Developed by a panel of experts, a greater emphasis was put on customer service and merchandising skills, as well as integrated pest management techniques and products.

The occupational standard was used to create a new set of written exam questions and new practical exam stations. Most notably, the forklift station has been removed from the evaluation, given the need for separate certification for operation in most provinces.

The other significant change for the new exam is an improved scoring system for the practical testing. Like the Landscape Industry Certified Technician exam, the retail exam is now based on a 100-point maximum deduction scale. This helps candidates better evaluate their performance, and turn the exam into a learning experience.

The written exam has also been given an overhaul with a new bank of questions. As part of ongoing quality control, exam questions will be monitored for problem areas and updated to ensure the best test for industry.

Dates have been set for Landscape Industry Certified designations. They are: Oct. 16, Expo, with all designations written test, 6 p.m. at Doubletree Toronto Airport; Oct. 25, All designations written test, Landscape Ontario home office; Oct. 26, last hands-on technician test this year, at Landscape Ontario home office; Nov. 16, Retail horticulturist written exam at Landscape Ontario home office; Nov. 20, Retail horticulturist hands-on test at Sheridan Nurseries, Mississauga. Information about tests, dates and locations, becoming a judge for a test, and sponsorship opportunities can all be found at www.horttrades.com/landscape-industry-certified-cht.