Two second-year DMACC Horticulture program students have successfully
completed the Iowa Certified Nursery Professional (ICNP) examination, earning
their professional certification from the Iowa Nursery & Landscape Association
DMACC students Tom Penisten of Ankeny and
Lindsey Smith of West Des Moines were recognized as the newest Iowa Certified
Nursery Professionals (ICNPs) during the 2019 INLA Awards Ceremony held in
conjunction with the 63rd Annual Iowa State University Shade Tree Short Course.
“Horticulture students spend many hours
studying plant identification, as well as the common and botanical names of
plants, in advance of taking the Iowa Certified Nursery Professional exam,”
said Randall Vos, DMACC Horticulture Program Chair and Professor. “It’s a
challenging test, and we’re very proud of Tom and Lindsey for their achievement
and dedication to pursuing professional excellence.”
ICNP certification conveys professional
status to the recipient within the green industry, and also tells the public
that persons with the title of ICNP are qualified, experienced and
Penisten and Smith both entered the
DMACC Horticulture program after previously working in other fields. Penisten,
a graduate of North High School in Des Moines, spent more than a decade working
in the restaurant business and later teaching pre-school. Smith, a native of
the Chicago area, previously worked in museum consulting.
“I love being outdoors, and when I
decided to make a career change, I focused on finding a way to make nature my
office,” said Penisten, who plans to open his own landscape design business.
“The DMACC Horticulture program has been a great fit, especially because the
instructors have so much experience working in the industry.”
Smith, who also plans to work in
landscape design, said she was impressed by the well-rounded education she received
in the DMACC Horticulture program.
“The DMACC program is very hands-on and
prepares students for many different kinds of jobs in the horticulture
industry,” she said.
Penisten and Smith enrolled in an independent
study course with Vos to help prepare for the ICNP exam, which has two parts: 1)
A plant identification section covering both woody and herbaceous plants; and 2)
A written exam focused on foundational horticulture knowledge and an area of
specialization selected by the student (garden center or landscape). Penisten
and Smith both opted for the landscape specialization.
To be eligible for certification, test
takers must achieve a score of 75 percent or higher on both parts of the exam and
show evidence of at least one year of full-time employment in the “nursery
business” or one year of study in a horticulture program at a secondary level
The DMACC Horticulture program provides
students with technical training in the broad horticulture field through
classroom, greenhouse, turf lab, tree nursery and practical on-the-job
employment experiences. Horticulture offers paths for those training for a new
career (degree), as well as for current horticulture professionals
(certificate). For more information about the DMACC Horticulture program,
please click here.
For more information, contact: Randall Vos, 515-963-7310
DMACC Horticulture students Tom Penisten of Ankeny (left) and Lindsey Smith of
West Des Moines recently earned
their professional certification from the Iowa Nursery & Landscape
Association (INLA). Both students are pursuing careers in landscape design.