Please review the Recommended Chapter Guidelines for Certified Level Testing before conducting a bee school or making plans to administer the Certified-level Testing.
To become a Certified Beekeeper, Applicants must:
- Be a member of the NCSBA.
- Pass a Written and Practical examination.
NCSBA MBP tests are administered at sanctioned NCSBA events and, in the case of Certified-level tests, by local chapters. There is never any charge for taking any test offered by the NCSBA Master Beekeeper Program, although conference fees must be paid to take tests that are offered as part of the conference schedule. Those fees are for the conference, not the testing.
The NCSBA MBP Committee creates two versions of each written test per year, one for early-year bee schools and the Spring Conference and another for the Summer Conference and fall testing opportunities. Candidates must not take the same test version twice. If a candidate fails to pass a particular test version, they must wait until the next new test version is offered before retesting. The intervening time should be spent reviewing their notes, reading books from the level-specific reading list and gaining hands-on experience with honey bees.
Certified Written Tests
Certified-level Written tests are offered at the Spring and Summer NCSBA conferences, at NCSBA MBP Special Testing Events and at the conclusion of chapter bee schools.
To offer written tests locally, a chapter’s MBP Coordinator must contact the MBP committee and request the current version of the test. The MBP Coordinator will also oversee the conduct of the testing at the chapter. If a chapter does not have a MBP Coordinator, contact the NCSBA MBP Committee for the requirements of the role and guidance on how to formally appoint someone to it.
The MBP Coordinator is responsible for grading and submitting test results to the MBP committee. The MBP Coordinator should not grade tests or submit scores for candidates who have not paid NCSBA membership dues or whose membership has expired. Doing so wastes everyone’s time because those scores will be rejected by the NCSBA MBP Committee. If chapters collect chapter membership and NCSBA membership dues together, the chapter must submit the data on paid memberships to NCSBA in a timely manner. Candidates can instantly retrieve their membership numbers at https://www.ncbeekeepers.org/membership/member-number-recovery.
Certified Practical Tests
The form used for the Practical test is available online. Candidates are encouraged to study the form prior to testing to encourage efficient use of the time allotted for the examination.
The candidate is responsible for contacting their chapter’s MBP Coordinator for assistance with arranging the Practical test. Any Certified or higher-level beekeeper who is an active member of NCSBA may conduct a Practical examination under arrangement with the chapter’s MBP Coordinator. Candidates are responsible for their own Personal Protective Equipment, smoker and hive tool to manipulate the bee hive. The hives that are used for the examination are up to the discretion of the candidate and the test examiner; they do not have to be owned by the candidate.
After testing is complete, the test examiner is responsible for returning the form to the chapter’s MBP Coordinator for entry into the NCSBA’s online system. An electronic version of the results, for example a cell phone photo, is sufficient as long as the information is completely legible and the electronic format is universally readable (e.g., a JPG or PDF file). Forms with illegible content or inaccessible electronic format will be summarily rejected.
A candidate’s Certified record is stored under the online account of the chapter that created the record when they entered the Certified Written Test result. If the Certified Written Test was taken at a NCSBA Conference or a NCSBA Special Testing Event, it is stored with the NCSBA MBP Committee. If the Practical is conducted by a chapter that differs from the one that holds the Written Test record, the chapter MBP Coordinator must send the candidate’s Practical result to the original chapter’s MBP Coordinator. This is one reason that an electronic record is helpful. Contact the NCSBA MBP Committee if the chapter MBP Coordinator does not know how to contact the original chapter MBP Coordinator.
For example, Jane Beekeeper takes the Certified Written Test at Happy County Beekeepers Bee School. The Happy County MBP Coordinator creates a record for Jane online and enters her test result. Jane later takes her Practical Exam with the Lotsa Fun County Beekeepers. The Lotsa Fun MBP Coordinator should send Jane’s Practical result to the Happy County MBP Coordinator. The Happy County MBP Coordinator will then complete Jane’s online record and submit it to the NCSBA MBP Committee.
What Happens Next?
Once both the Written and Practical tests are successfully completed and the results are properly submitted by the chapter MBP Coordinator, a very nice certificate, suitable for framing, will be sent to the new Certified Beekeeper. In normal circumstances, a certificate should be received within four to six weeks after the chapter MBP Coordinator has successfully submitted the results record to the NCSBA MBP Committee. Candidates should check with the chapter MBP Coordinator if there seems to be a lengthy delay. Delays are usually caused by a delay by the Practical test examiner or the chapter MBP Coordinator in submitting records, not by the NCSBA MBP Committee.
Any questions or issues should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Testing Events
A NCSBA chapter may request that a Special Testing Event be held in their area. The NCSBA MBP Committee and the chapter will coordinate to determine a date for testing. The chapter will arrange the local logistics such as securing an appropriate venue and advertising the event within their region. Their NCSBA Regional Director should be informed of all plans so that they can assist with promoting the event. There must be sufficient interest in Journeyman and/or Master-level testing for an event to be scheduled.
Special Testing Events are not a substitute for Certified Written Testing that is routinely conducted by chapters. A chapter can conduct Certified-level testing without the direct involvement of the NCSBA MBP Committee; it is only the higher-level testing that benefits from a STE. The primary purpose of STEs is to offer Journeyman- and Master-level testing locally as a service for members who find it difficult to travel to the two NCSBA Conferences for testing. No in-hive/live bee testing will be conducted at Special Testing Events, only written tests (including Certified) and the Journeyman and Master indoors/notebook Practicals.
Chapters interested in sponsoring a STE should contact the NCSBA MBP Committee.