The Entomological Society of America (ESA) recently announced several improvements to its Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) program. Changes include:
- Requiring Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for ACE renewal
- ACE applications and renewals moving to a three-year renewal cycle
- A new ACE exam to debut in January 2014
- The debut of a new ACE Award
What follows is a review of each of the improvements:
CEUs Required. Starting in January 2014, a new requirement for renewing ACE certification will be launched. To maintain certification, ACEs will need to document a minimum of 18 hours of Continuing Education Units earned during the prior three years. CEUs can be earned for common activities such as attending conferences, training, etc. A full list of eligible CEUs can be found at www.entocert.org/maintain-my-ace-certification.
Three-year Renewal Cycles. ACE applications and renewals are moving to a three-year renewal cycle. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, an application for ACE will be effective for three years. Those applying for ACE certification will have to pass the exam and become ACE certified within three years of the application’s acceptance, with the first attempt occurring within the first year. During the three-year period, as soon as the applicant passes the exam, they will be ACE certified for the balance of the three years. They can take the exam as many times as needed during the three-year period, but failure to pass the exam within three years’ time will nullify the application. Applicants must wait at least three months between exam attempts, but not more than a year.
Also effective in 2014 is a move to a three-year renewal cycle. ACEs will no longer have to renew annually, but will still be required to maintain state pesticide applicators’ licensure continually. A random audit of current ACEs will ensure compliance. The annual fees for ACE renewal have not increased.
This aspect of the ACE process will be phased in to allow time for ACEs to accommodate the larger one-time fee in their budgeting process. For the calendar year 2014, ACEs can renew for just 2014 or they can renew for 2014-16. ACEs who choose a single-year renewal must submit a photocopy of their pesticide applicator’s license, reaffirm personal compliance with the ACE Code of Ethics (www.entocert.org/ace-code-ethics), and pay the requisite fees of $100 (ESA members) or $125 (non-ESA members). ACEs who choose the three-year renewal option will also submit their CEU reports identifying 18 CEUs earned during the prior three-year period. The renewal fee is the annual rate for three years: $295 for ESA members or $375 for non-ESA members.
New Exam to Debut. Completing a process that started in April 2012, the content for the ACE exam has been reviewed and revised to better match the daily work of pest management professionals. A panel of experts developed a new content outline which was validated via a survey to hundreds of PMPs. In August 2013, ESA convened an ACE Exam Writing Summit at its new headquarters in Annapolis, Md. During the next few months those questions will be reviewed, revised and validated, with the new exam set to debut in January 2014. ESA is developing a new ACE Study Guide, which should be available for sale soon, ESA officials say. The new exam will be based on the ACE Content Outline found online at www.entocert.org/new-ace-exam-content-outline.
The current ACE Exam (based on the prior content found online at www.entocert.org/standards-associate-certified-entomologists) will be in force until Dec. 31, 2013, at which point it will be retired.
New ACE Award. The ESA Certification Board, which leads the development and implementation of ACE initiatives, has approved the development of a new ACE award to recognize those ACEs who exemplify superior performance. Pest management professionals who have been certified as ACEs for at least three years; can document extraordinary service to the pest management industry; and can document in an essay how they have increased professionalism in the industry will be eligible for this award. Judging criteria are being developed now and the award will launch in 2014.
The changes in the program are designed to strengthen the credentials of the ACE certification by adding additional rigor, accountability and recognition. ESA says while ACE has been recognized as a pillar achievement in the careers of PMPs since its introduction in 2004, these changes will strengthen the program further and allow for continued expansion.
“Everyone involved with ACE certification has the same goal in mind — the enrichment and development of the structural pest management industry,” said Chris Stelzig, director of certification for the ESA. “Adding the CEU requirement to the three-year renewal will ensure that the ACE logo on a pest management professional’s sleeve means that they have proven themselves as among the most capable professionals in the business. And the new ACE Award is going to be a great way to recognize that achievement.”
The ACE program was developed in 2004 as a way to build professionalism in the structural pest management industry. It is designed to benefit the practicing pest control professional. One does not need an advanced degree to participate, just a solid grasp of the practical aspects of applied entomology. There are more than 665 ACEs as of August 2013.