Beekeeping Certifications

Master Beekeeper Certification


 To provide the information, advice and hands-on experience necessary for an individual with no beekeeping skills and or an existing beekeeper to obtain a master certification in beekeeping. How to obtain equipment, honey bees and manage a colony that meets acceptable beekeeping requirements.

 The program will offer four levels of training and advancement, Apprentice Beekeeper, Experienced Beekeeper, Master Beekeeper, Master Craftsman Beekeeper.

Each applicant must meet certain requirements for each level to become certified.


Apprentice Beekeeper

  1.  The Apprentice Beekeeper must be a registered beekeeper in Alabama or their home state. In Alabama hives must be registered with the Alabama Dept of Agriculture and Industries.
  2. The Apprentice Beekeeper must own or have owned at least one colony of honey bees for a least one season prior to taking the exams. They must have in possession at least one colony or more when they take the certification exams.
  3. The Apprentice Beekeeper must score at 70% or higher on a written examination. The written test includes, but in not limited to beekeeping classes and materials provided from references on Apprentice reading lists. These exams are given once a year. The test and class lectures will be at the Alabama Beekeepers annual meeting in October each year.
  4. The Apprentice must score 70% or higher on a practical examination. The practical exam can include, but in not limited to: describing the physical parts of a beehive; igniting and properly using a smoker; recognizing the various stages of brood, differentiating castes and finding (or at least describing) the queen; differentiating between brood, pollen and capped honey cells; recognizing propolis and describing its function; and describing the layout of the brood nest (placement of honey, pollen and brood), etc….


The program will be administered by certified directors set by the sponsoring body or advisors.

 It can take up to four years to complete the program. There is not minimum age requirement for the beginning beekeeper certification but, some examinations may be difficult for younger applicants under 12 years of age and may need more supervision to successfully pass some written and practical test.


  1. Biology of the Honey Bee (life cycle of each caste)
  2. External structures of the Honey Bee
  3. life span of a Honey Bee (summer/winter)
  4. Be able to maintain and light a smoker
  5. All parts of a honey bee hive and accessories
  6. How to start a bee hive (splits, swarms packaged bees, etc)
  7. Tools of a beekeeper
  8. Disease’s and pest of the Honey Bee
  9. Off season management
  10. Products of the Bee hive
  11. Open a hive and describe the location of the Honey, brood, pollen, locate the Queen, show difference between Queen, Drone and Worker bees.
  12. 12.    GOOD LUCK



Journeyman Beekeeper

A.  The candidate for the level of certification must have held the Apprentice Beekeeper certification for at least one year and have been practicing beekeeper for at least two years. They also must be registered beekeeper in Alabama or their home state.

 B.  The candidate must show proof of passing at least 12 hours of honey bee training with a score of 80% or more. These will focus on:  

(1) honey bee pests/parasites/pathogens;

(2) difference between social wasps and honeybees;

(3) pollination, honeybee biology;

(4) pesticides and how they affect the honeybees;

(5) Africanized honey bee characteristics


(C)    The candidate must score 70% or more on a written examination. The written exam can include, but is not limited to the previous classes listed in section (B). This exam will cover more information than required in the Apprentice Beekeeper level. The exams will cover information as set by the Certified Directors in provided classes as set at different teaching sites and are made available to the beekeeper.

Example: class room studies, or internet.

D) The candidate must score 70% or more on a practical examination. The practical exam can include, but is not limited to; scoring a jar of show honey,. Reading pesticide labels and determining which is safest to use around honey bees, identifying several beekeeping items, examining honey labels for errors, distinguishing between bees, wasps, hornets, etc., and identifying anatomical structures of a bee and a flower.

E)  The candidate must perform and document completion of five (5) public service credits using the public service credit form provided by the Certified Board for Directors. The candidate can submit extra public credits which are encouraged, but they can not be used in higher certification levels.

Recommended Study

  1.            Biology of the Honey Bee (Life cycle of each Caste)
  2.            External structures of the Honey Bee
  3.            Life span of Honey Bee (summer/winter)
  4.            Be able to maintain and light a smoker
  5.            All parts of a honey bee hive and accessories
  6.            Tools of a beekeeper
  7.            How to start a bee hive (splits, swarms, Packages, etc.)
  8.            Disease’s and pest of the honey bee
  9.            Off season management
  10.            Products of the bee hive
  11.           Open a hive and describe the location of the honey, brood, pollen, queen, show difference between Queen, Drone and worker
  12.         GOOD LUCK

Documentation of Public Service Credits

Alabama Beekeepers Association Master Beekeeper Program


(To be completed with assistance from Master Beekeeper Program Candidate and signed by representative from organization sponsoring /hosting the even

On this date _____/____/_____, a candidate for the Alabama Beekeeper Association Master Beekeeper Program, Provided or completed an act of public service, which covered the following subject matter related to beekeeping, honey bee pollination or honey production.    ( Please circle applicable areas)

1.         Presenting bee-related lecture or workshop to non-beekeeping group

2.         Officers position in local beekeeping association

3.         Appointment by local County Extension office or other municipal agency as expert

Contact on bee- related questions or issues.

  1. Assisting members of youth organizations with project work.
  2. Mentoring a new beekeeper though at least one complete season6.
  3. Public demonstration on beekeeping topic at fair, festival, or similar public event
  4. Providing a hive of bees to pollinate a public garden
  5. establishing and maintaining observation hive for school or civic group
    1. Other______________________________________________________________________

Organization name:_____________________________________________________

Name of Event: ______________________________________Date:____/_____/___

General Description of Event: ________________________________________________________

Estimated number of participants/attendees: ____________________________________

Printed Name/Title of Representative: _________________________________________

Signature of Master Beekeeper Representative: _________________________________

Contact Information (phone and/or email) for Signee: ____________________________


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