Determine your eligibility

The first step is meeting the point requirements based on your education and experience

CGCS

As a golf course superintendent, you must qualify to apply to the certification program by first meeting the golf course superintendent experience and point requirements, as defined by your level of education in the chart below. (This chart mirrors that of GCSAA Class A membership requirements.)

GCSAA point requirements

Level of education Superintendent experience Total points
Bachelor's degree in turf or plant science 3 years 3 (2 edu)
Other bachelor's degree plus associate's degree in turf/plant science, or equivalent two-year turf certificate (i.e., Michigan State, Penn State) 3 years 3 (2 edu)
Other bachelor's degree 4 years 5 (3 edu)
Associate's degree in turf/plant science, or equivalent two-year turf certificate (i.e., Michigan State, Penn State) 4 years 5 (3 edu)
Turf certificate/short courses (400-hour minimum) (i.e., Rutgers, Penn State World Campus) 5 years 10 (6 edu)
Other associate's degree 6 years 10 (6 edu)
No degree or recognized certificate 7 years 40 (32 edu)
(Points in parentheses represent the minimum education points required to reach total points.)

Additional eligibility requirements

  • Current employment as a superintendent
  • A valid pesticide applicator's license or having passed the GCSAA IPM Exam
  • Completion of a self-assessment utilizing GCSAA's online Self Assessment Tool
  • Completion of a certification portfolio 

How to get started

Complete a Certification Eligibility Worksheet to establish and document your eligibility requirements. Upon meeting the established requirements, GCSAA will send you the certification application form to complete and submit with the application fee and your portfolio.

Plan ahead

Once your application is approved, you will enter a one-year applicant period to complete the remainder of the certification process, including the written exam, the attesting of your golf facility and your portfolio. The exam and attesting can be completed in any order within the one-year period.

However, planning ahead is essential – here’s why:

  • The attesting of your course must be conducted during the growing season.
  • A 60-day waiting period is required between exam retakes. If a re-exam is necessary (you are allowed two), you must have ample time remaining in your applicant period for completion.
  • If any additional information and/or materials are needed for your portfolio, it must be returned for regrading during your applicant period.