Bees outside edge of frames

Certification Program

Why Certify?

Demonstrate your beekeeping skills or develop them by signing up for a certification exam. Each exam has a "theme" to tangibly quantify advancement in your beekeeping expertise. When you register for an exam you also get a variety of tools to support you in your beekeeping journey. This includes test prep materials, classes, mentorship network, and more (see the benefits section below).

Who should certify?

A hobbyist looking to start beehives in their backyard, a commercial beekeeper with 10 years experience, and an aspiring beekeeping business owner would all find value in the certification. We recognize and support everyone's pursuit of education and commitment to volunteerism. Join the community and connect with other inspiring individuals. Anyone anywhere in the state can certify.

How does it work?

There are four certification levels, each building on the last and each with a different form of evaluation. The program is highly flexible to meet your needs — registration is always open and first-come first-served and you can certify from anywhere in the state. Steps for registration:

1. Apply
2. Receive an acceptance email with a link to pay
3. Pay
4. Receive access to prep resources and evaluation scheduler

Who is behind it?

These exams and the are maintained by committees of leaders, experts, and researchers that ensure a balance between practicality, function, and sustainability. A growing list of partner beekeeping organizations also guide development and cross-pollinate with us. Thank you to each of these individuals and organizations for their service.

CDFA and county offices also work with us to provide staff trainings.


  • The Levels
  •   Certification Demonstrates Prerequisites Cost
    1 Honey Bee Ambassador* Knowledge of basic theory of beekeeping. None $50.00
    2 Apprentice Well-rounded ability to setup and keep hives. At least 20 hours interacting with hives $250.00
    3 Journey Advanced theoretical and practical knowledge.

    Apprentice Certification

    4 Master Ability to generate new knowledge or systems. Journey Certification $300.00

    *Please note the Apprentice Assistant Certification has been renamed to Honey Bee Ambassador Certification. See the evaluation section below for changes to what is tested.

  • Certification Benefits
  • Individuals

    • -Demonstrate your thorough, current, science-based beekeeping theoretical and empirical knowledge
    • -Determine what parts of beekeeping are right for you
    • -Differentiate yourself in the beekeeping job market
    • -Gain access to up-to-date honey bee knowledge
    • -Get connected with other beekeepers and your local beekeeping organizations


    As an organization there are benefits to your constituent becoming certified. We can collaborate to have the exam seamlessly integrated into your program. Contact us.

    Universities: Prepare students for research.
    Hobbyist Beekeeping Organizations: Set a standard for your members to aspire to. Use the certification exams as the evaluation at the end of your internal beekeeping course. If we find your course satisfactory we will promote it for you.
    Beekeeping Companies: Ensure your staff are to professional level of beekeeping skills. Lend credibility to your business.

  • Prep Resources

  • When you register for a CAMBP Certification Exam, you gain access to a variety of prep resources. Candidates may mix and match how they'd like to prepare and tailor to their prior knowledge, learning style, and time constraints. Upon registration sample study plans are provided. Note: Prep resources are optional to use, although attending orientation is highly recommended.

    Orientations: CAMBP Administrators offer virtual orientation approximately every quarter. We review exam logistics, study resources, and answer questions.

    Study Guides: Comprehensive slide deck with information tailored to the exam.

    Practice Exams: Can be taken unlimited number of times.

    Live and Recorded Classes: A constantly updated 80+ hour curriculum taught by experts. See how class passes works here.

    Online Course: A comprehensive, interactive, asynchronous, self-paced beekeeping course (Apprentice, Journey, and Master only).

    Partner Prep Programs: If you'd like more study guidance, we recommend taking a prep course or facilitated study group provided by one of our partner organizations tailored to the exam. Some are in-person and others are online.

    Office Hours: CAMBP Administrators offer 1-1 virtual office hours for current candidates every Tuesday.

    Online Forum: Join our 500+ member forum on Slack.

    Mentorship: Learn from a mentor through the CAMBP mentor network.

  • Evaluation
  • The evaluation is different for each level. For the first three levels you can take the evaluation whenever you'd like, as long as it's before the deadline detailed below:

      Certification Evaluation Deadline
    1 Honey Bee Ambassador* Written Exam 1 year from registration
    2 Apprentice Written Exam & Practical Exam 1.5 years from registration
    3 Journey Written Exam & Practical Exam 1.5 years from registration
    4 Master Master Capstone Project and Presentation 2 years from registration

    Written Exam
    The written exam is taken online and tests theoretical knowledge. It can be taken on any computer. Time limit is two hours. More detailed information is provided upon registration.

    Practical Exam
    The practical exam is taken in an apiary and tests practical skills and knowledge. The practical exam for the Apprentice and Journey levels may be taken in one of three methods:

    Method How it Works
    In-Person Proctored

    You visit an apiary where authorized exam proctors are administering exams. We offer locations throughout the stateNote: in-person proctored only available certain times of year, typically in Spring and Summer.

    Remote Proctored You teleconference (Zoom) from any apiary and an authorized exam proctor administers your exam remotely. Requires Internet access. Exam time should not exceed 30 minutes so have all equipment ready.
    Remote Self-Administered You take a video of yourself completing all tasks asynchronously, upload it to YouTube, and submit the URL. The total combined video time should not exceed 30 minutes.

    More detailed information is provided upon registration.

    Content Tested

    The Honey Bee Ambassador (formerly Apprentice Assistant), Apprentice, and Journey levels are cumulative. Content covered in previous levels may directly or indirectly be tested on. Below is an outline of what is tested at each level.

    Level Written Practical
    Honey Bee Ambassador
    • -Honey bee history
    • -Basic honey bee biology
    • -Basic beekeeping techniques
    • -Basic integrated pest management (IPM)
    • -Identifying beekeeping tools and equipment


    • -Identify different castes in the colony and their function
    • -Open and examine a colony
    • -Managing the colony throughout the year
    • -Identify and monitor for honey bee pest and pathogens using IPM
    • -Honey bee nutrition 
    • -Prevent colony robbing 
    • -Re-queen a colony
    • -Beekeeping Equipment Familiarity: Identify,  explain the purpose of, and demonstrate usage
      of woodenware, tools, and PPE.
    • -Inspection Techniques: Demonstrate hive approach, smoker operation, hive handling, alcohol wash or sugar shake, tool disinfection.
    • -Colony Characterization: Components of the colony, maladies, record keeping.
      -Bee Marking and Queen Installation
    • -Combining and Splitting Colonies
    • -Morphology and physiology of all castes
    • -Understand in-depth aspects of honey bee queen biology
    • -Understand multiple queen rearing methods
    • -Understand biology of pests/disease
    • -Implement various pest management strategies (advanced IPM)
    • -Understand the role of and identify non-apis pollinators
    • -Understand various laws and regulations regarding beekeeping (CA)
    • -Understand various laws and regulations regarding pesticides (CA and Federal)
    • -Understand scutellata-hybrid ("africanized") honey bee biology
    • -Demonstrate/describe how to extract honey from a hive and understand honey handling
    • -Understand honey properties and varietals
    • -Understand how to process wax from a honey bee hive
    • -Understand various other hive products and their use
    • -Colony Characterization and Management: Perform full inspection with no prompts and state health of hive and provide management recommendations.
    • -Requeening
    • -Grafting
    • -Honey Tasting

    Retake Policy
    Under special circumstances, one retake of the written and practical is allowed without charge. Each subsequent exam administrative fee is $50.00.


    *Please note the Apprentice Assistant Certification has been renamed to Honey Bee Ambassador Certification.

  • Master Level
  • The Master level is a project-based capstone project. Demonstrate the peak of expertise by generating knowledge or building a system. Projects are categorized by "tracks", with each track having a defined project development framework. The tracks are as follow:

    -Native Bees and Pollinator Gardens
    -Commercial Beekeeping
    -Scientific Research
    -Education and Outreach
    -Policy for Honey Bees and Native Pollinators

    CAMBP staff works with you 1-1 to support project design and implementation and connects you to resources. A high-level breakdown of the process follows:
    1. Apply.
    2. Project Formalization
    3. Project Implementation
    4. Presentation

    Scores are Pass/Fail and depend on project success and the final presentation. You may be permitted to begin work on your capstone before completing Journey level, pending approval.

    Learn more here.

  • Maintaining Certification
  • There are annual BEE and CE requirements to maintain your certification. You must also abide by the Principles of Community.