DMACC Horticulture Students Earn Certification From Iowa Nursery & Landscape Association

Posted 5/6/2019

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 (INLA).

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 professional.

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 of education.

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 and Lindsey Smith of West Des Moines Earn Professional Certification from INLA.jpg 

Second-year 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.

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