Two bees on a landing board

Apprentice Assistant Certification

The Apprentice Assistant level of the CAMBP explores the art and skill of beekeeping prior to keeping bees, even if you live in an area where beekeeping is not possible. This level of the CAMBP is the perfect science-based introduction to the basics you need to know in order to keep safe, healthy bees. If you cannot keep bees at your location, and want an ‘in-hive’ experience, the CAMBP can recommend options.  The CAMBP requires 10 hours of volunteer service and 12 hours of continuing education each year so members maintain and expand their beekeeping knowledge and skills. The Apprentice Assistant level of the CAMBP answers this question: "Do I have what it takes to be a beekeeper and is this a hobby I really wish to pursue?" You can begin to explore this with 9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before you Start Beekeeping. We recommend you review these questions before signing up for the certification.

General Goals:

  • To learn the basic skills and knowledge to care for bees, using science-based research
  • To teach the public about the importance of honey bees, and bees in general
  • To learn how to keep a healthy bee colony

Apprentice Assistants Will Learn 

  • To recognize potential problems (hive assessment)
  • To anticipate and prevent negative events (robbing, mite loads…)
  • To start and keep a healthy colony

To Work In An Apiary Apprentice Assistants Must:

Written test includes:

  • Identifying beekeeping tools and equipment

Practical test includes (and is dependent on mentor availability)

  • Describing the parts of the hive
  • Lighting and using a smoker
  • Recognizing the stages of brood (workers, drone and queen cells)
  • Recognizing the different castes of bees
  • Finding or describing the queen
  • Differentiating between brood, pollen, nectar, and honey
  • Recognizing propolis and describe its function
  • Describing the layout of a brood nest (“the perfect frame”, placement of honey, pollen and brood)

Become an Apprentice Assistant (AA) 

Fill out the application below. Expect an email with your registration link in January.  Once you register and pay, you will receive the Apprentice Assistant Study Guide to assist in you in preparing for your written and practical test. You will also receive links to 3, live, online study halls, facilitated by CAMBP staff, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet other new beekeepers and ask questions to prepare you to take the written and practical test (in person or over Zoom depending on the COVID restrictions). Exams are held in September of each year. Passing grade is 80%.

 Apprentice Assistants in training have access to:

  • The CAMBP member network
  • Webinars 
  • CAMBP member news   

Participants can choose to take the written online exam, the practical exam or both. Certificates of completion are issued for theory and practical skills. Pass both with an 80% and be eligible to apply for the Apprentice level.

As a certified Apprentice Assistant, members volunteer (Beneficial Education Experiences, BEEs ) and promise to keep learning (Continuing Education hours, CEs) and record their education and volunteer service hours in the member portal. 

  • 10 BEEs = 10 hours, and 12 CEs = 12 hours per year
  • Recording begins AFTER certification, between September 30 and October 1 each year

Beneficial Educational Experiences examples include:

  • Assisting a CAMBP Apprentice in presenting a bee-related lecture or workshop to non-beekeeping group (youth or adult).
  • Holding office in a local beekeeping association.
  • Assisting a CAMBP Apprentice in mentoring members of youth organizations (4-H, Scouts, FFA), etc. with a bee-related project.
  • Assisting a CAMBP Apprentice in giving a public demonstration on beekeeping at fair, festival or similar public event (hosting a booth or a table).
  • Assisting a CAMBP Apprentice in apiary yard maintenance
  • Assisting a CAMBP Apprentice in honey extraction
  • Continuing Education hours may include:
    • Listening to a science-based beekeeping podcast or lecture, reading beekeeping magazines and books, reading honey bee research articles, attending beekeeping trade shows or conferences, taking science-based courses online and in-person.

Cost of the Apprentice Assistant level is $50. You can choose to remain an Apprentice Assistant after your first year, or enroll in our certified Apprentice level. Classes start in January and end in September. Online and in-person classes are not covered in the $50 registration fee and are optional, as all information needed is in your study guide.  

Contact with questions.

 Apprentice Assistant Applications for 2023 will open November 30