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Introducing the New SER Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner Program
Contributed by Jen Lyndall, SER Certification Program Coordinator

Photo: Kat McGlynn/Central Westcoast Forest Society


SER is excited to announce our new certification program for ecological restoration practitioners and practitioners-in training! We have developed this certification program in response to member interest in encouraging a high professional standard for those practitioners who are designing, implementing, overseeing, and monitoring restoration projects throughout the world.

Program Goals
The SER certification program will improve the practice of ecological restoration by increasing the competency of individual restoration practitioners, enabling employers and the public to identify proficient practitioners, and ultimately improving ecological restoration and the associated benefits on the ground. The goals for the program are as follows.
  • Goal 1: Establish and validate the credentials of ecological restoration practitioners. Until now, the criteria for competence in the field of ecological restoration have been unstated, and therefore, the sponsors of restoration projects have had no yardstick by which to choose a qualified practitioner. Although competence of individuals to address specific matters is not guaranteed, a certified individual will be recognized as having met basic education and experience requirements. This will help corporations, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and landowners identify individuals who have demonstrated proficiency in the field of ecological restoration.
  • Goal 2: Encourage practitioners to practice ecological restoration according to consistent, comprehensive “standards of practice.” Certified practitioners will strive to practice ecological restoration according to established standards and norms set forth in SER foundation documents. This will lead to the improvement of ecological restoration projects and programs due to increased adherence to technical standards and norms. 
  • Goal 3: Increase public, client, employer, and peer confidence in ecological restoration practice and practitioners. Certification will lend credence to qualified individuals who advise and give technical guidance on public policy and regulatory issues pertinent to ecosystem stressors, degradation, and restoration. 
  • Goal 4: Fill an increasing demand for a skilled workforce to design, implement, and monitor effective ecological restoration projects. As the community of certified ecological restoration practitioners grows, these individuals will become a valuable resource for worldwide ecosystem restoration problem solving.
  • Goal 5: Improve the quality of ecological restoration projects on the ground. Encouraging a higher standard of practitioner should, in turn, result in higher caliber restoration projects because those who are designing and implementing the project have the relevant knowledge and experience. 
  • Goal 6: Facilitate the exchange of information and promote the advancement of proven techniques used in ecological restoration. Continuing education courses that are tied to the SER certification program will improve the transfer of knowledge and the improvement of the practice. 
  • Goal 7: Define a clear pathway into, and provide a supportive environment within, the restoration community. This process is fundamental for the sustainability and growth of ecological restoration as a discipline. The certification program will provide new and/or uncertified practitioners with a clear understanding of the steps needed to increase their level of proficiency and certification.

Program Standards/Criteria
Practitioner certification (Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner, CERP) is intended for those practitioners who have at least five years of full-time professional-level restoration experience in addition to the required educational background. The practitioner-in-training certification (Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner-in-Training, CERPIT) focuses more heavily on recent graduates and those practitioners who do not yet have five years of full time experience with restoration, or who are still developing their knowledge base.

In order to uphold the high standards of SER, applicants for both CERP and CERPIT certification must achieve minimum standards for each of the following five elements:

  • Knowledge Base: A combination of academic credentials and/or accumulation of knowledge relevant to the profession of ecological restoration.
  • Professional-level Experience: Experience performing restoration project and/or program work, not only in terms of the number of years of experience but also in terms of the depth and breadth of an applicant’s experience (e.g., significant experience in performing pre-project baseline and reference site inventories, participating in project planning and implementation, and monitoring).
  • References: Demonstration that the applicant is held in high esteem by other restoration practitioners and has exhibited proficiency in various aspects of ecological restoration.
  • Ethics and Disciplinary Policies: Required to sign and abide by SER’s Code of Ethics and our Disciplinary Policy.
  • Foundations of the Profession: Knowledge and understanding of the fundamental concepts of ecological restoration presented in key SER foundation documents and tested through an SER E-learning course that will be available in early 2017.

Maintenance and Renewal
The CERP and CERPIT certifications will be valid for five years from the date of approval. Certification may be renewed every five years by earning approved continuing education credits. Recertification helps to ensure that certified practitioners are staying up-to-date with current research, practices, and technologies associated with this rapidly evolving profession. Appropriate continuing education opportunities are those that keep practitioners abreast of rapidly evolving knowledge, approaches, strategies, techniques and requirements in the field of ecological restoration.

Continuing education credits for recertification can be earned in a number of ways including: attendance of college- or graduate-level continuing education coursework relevant to the field of ecological restoration; specialized training (short courses and workshops) relevant to the field of ecological restoration; attending approved conference sessions and/or symposia pertaining to ecological restoration; writing, co-writing, editing, or reviewing publications dealing with ecological restoration and restoration project work; development of teaching materials and audio-visual materials; making presentations at conferences dealing with restoration; instruction of short courses/workshops; and/or approved ecological restoration volunteer activities.

Certification Fees
Although fees will be necessary to support the day-to-day operations of the certification program, we will strive to keep fees as low as possible so that certification may be accessible to all qualified practitioners. SER members will receive discounted rates for certification applications, maintenance, and renewals.

 Fee  Membership Status  Practitioner  Practitioner-in-    training
Initial Application Fee  SER Members  $250  $100
   Non-members  $350  $200
Annual Maintenance Fee  SER Members  $75  $50
   Non-members  $100  $75
Recertification Fee  SER Members  $125  $100
   Non-members  $225  $200


When Do We Get Started?
Applications will be accepted online through the SER certification program website. There will be two application windows each year – January-March and July-September. Our first application window will open January 15, 2017 and close on March 15, 2017.

We will provide more details on the certification program in the coming months through the SER certification webpage, webinars, and chapter meetings. If you have any questions please email our Certification Program Coordinator, Jen Lyndall, at We look forward to certifying all of you!


We would like to thank the following individuals for volunteering their time and energy toward the development of the SER certification program. Without their assistance and guidance, this program would not have been possible.

 Sasha Alexander  Jennifer Franklin  Carol Maxwell  Tom St Clair
 Sean Anderson  Jim Furnish  Mary Beth McCormack  John Stanley
 Todd Aschenbach  John Giordanengo  Tein McDonald  Joshua Tallis
 Joe Berg  Bonnie Harper-Lore  Carolina Murcia  Jim Thorne
 Connie Bersok  Eric Higgs  Cara Nelson  John Tobe
 Steve Bosak  Michael Hogan  Mark O’Leary  Michael Toohill
 Keith Bowers  Kris Houle  Chris Polatin  Mary Travaglini
 Bruce Clarkson  Michael Hughes  David Polster  Al Unwin
 Andre Clewell  Robert Jontos  Charlotte Reemts  Mark Vander Meer
 Juli Crane  Amanda Jorgenson  John Rieger  Shri Verrill
 Paul Davis  Kelly Keefe  Karen Rodriguez  Rebecca Vidra
 Rory Denovan  Chris Lenhart  Dave Ross  Regina Wandler
 Kingsley Dixon  Scott Luchessa  Johanna Salatas  John Wigginton
 Jen Ford  Jen Lyndall  Nancy Shaw  Steve Windhager
 David Forestieri  Mickey Marcus  Dan Spencer  


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