Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Promoting ACE and BCE

Those of us who are involved in the ESA certification programs are continually asked "what can you tell me about certification"?  Here is a simple description of what it takes to become ACE and BCE certified:

Thanks for your interest in ESA’s certification programs. We offer two programs, ACE and BCE. Click through on some of these helpful links that will explain the difference.  Essentially, BCE is a certification program designed for those with an educational background in entomology. A minimum educational degree of a bachelor’s (in entomology or a related science) is required. For ACE, the applicant’s experience is likely to be more applied. No educational degree is required, but a person would need at least seven years’ verifiable experience in structural pest management and a current pesticide applicator’s license.

In both cases, the applicants who become certified do so because they want to do one or more of the following:
·         Advance in their career
·         Set a good example for their co-workers, employees, etc
·         Better position themselves to compete on bids where a certification is required
·         Promote the professionalism of their industry

Once a person decides that they want to take that important career step and become certified, the process is pretty simple. Here are the steps for both ACE and BCE:
1.       Applicant sends their application to ESA (applications are PDFs and are online here for ACE and here for BCE).
2.       Applications are reviewed by the Committee Chair for the program or his/her designee
·         If the application is accepted, the person is notified via email and has now officially entered the program and has one year to take their exam. This is the study period.
·         If the application is not accepted, the person is notified as to the reason. They are eligible to have ½ of the application fee returned or – in the case of a non-successful BCE application – the applicant could transfer the full amount to an ACE application, assuming they meet the qualifications.
3.       Once the applicant feels ready, they set a test date with a proctor and notify ESA of this fact (in some cases the applicants know their proctor and test date ahead of time and that information is communicated to ESA as a part of the application process).
·         A proctor is a person of high community standing who administers the exam – usually online. ESA’s preference for proctors is in this order: BCE, then ACE, then ESA member, then a trusted community member (such as a government official, college professor, etc). A proctor who has a direct conflict of interest with the applicant (e.g., immediate family member, employer/employee, should not be selected unless no other choice exists and the selected proctor is a BCE or ACE. In these cases, the proctor’s ethical agreement to abide by the BCE Code of Ethics or the ACE Code of Ethics supersedes the conflict).
·         Here are some suggestions for making initial contact witha proctor.
·         Consider using the BCE and ACE rosters to select a proctor that is geographically near you.
4.       Once the proctor is chosen and the test date is set, that information must be communicated to ESA’s Certification Department (admin@entocert.org)
5.       On or about the Friday prior to the exam, two emails are sent from ESA HQ. The BCE applicant usually takes at least two tests (one core and one specialty). The ACE applicant just takes one test.
·         An email with the exam details (including URL, username, and password) is sent to the proctor
·         An email confirming the exam is sent to the applicant
6.       Upon completion of the exam, a score flashes onto the computer screen which is unofficial. This will be confirmed or altered later by the Exam Chairman or his/her designee. If the exam was not successful, the applicant will be provided with a coaching report for their next attempt
7.       ESA HQ will send out a confirmation notification via email with a final score on the exam.
·         If successful, a newly-certified packet will arrive shortly in the mail and the applicant is now certified.
·         If unsuccessful, a coaching report will be sent. The applicant can retake the exam. A retake form is available online for both ACE and BCE. In each case, the applicant must wait at least 3 months but not more than one year in order to retest. After one year the application expires and a new application would be required for the certification process to continue.

If you want to get a sense of what the exam is like, consider taking the ACE Practice Exam. The URL is here. The username is “Sample ACE” and the password is “password”.