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Prepare Your Application Materials

Here are the requirements for the ESA certification levels. Please choose the level that is appropriate to your level of education and experience.

Required Documents and Information All New Certifications
Upgrade to a
Higher Level
Recertification as EiT, AE, CE Recertification as Senior Ecologist
Cover letter X X X X
Curriculum vitae or resume X X X X
2 letters of recommendation X X X  
Transcript(s) X X    
Graduation and Degree Name(s) with Date(s) X X    

To upgrade to the status of Certified Ecologist Emeritus or Senior Ecologist Emeritus, please contact Only a current CV and cover letter are required to apply, as long as other requirements are met. You must have been certified at the adjoining level for 10 consecutive years and no longer be working full-time.

Cover Letter

All applications for certification, including at the highest levels, require a cover letter. Use this document to introduce yourself and your work, and specifically why your credentials are appropriate for the level applied for. To emphasize: Be specific. Cite individual courses that you feel meet the requirements, an activities appropriate for the level. Explain grades below the minimum level, or why you are submitting an unofficial transcript. Use this opportunity to convince the people reviewing your application that you are qualified for the level you’re applying for.

CV or Resume

A full CV that lists all of your academic and professional credentials is a fine document to submit for consideration, but a simpler resume will serve just as well. Regardless of format, the document should include dates associated with all activity (start and end).

Letters of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation should speak to the recommenders’ direct experience with the applicant’s academic, research or work history. It should be a first-hand confirmation that the applicant has demonstrated academic, research or work expertise in the field of ecology. Recommenders should be colleagues, supervisors, advisors, or other individuals capable of evaluating your credentials in an informed and objective manner. Do not request a reference or letter of recommendation from a subordinate or a family member. At least one recommender must be an ESA member or Certified Ecologist, Certified Senior Ecologist, or Emeritus. Applicants from a country other than the United States who cannot obtain a letter from suggested recommenders may submit two letters of recommendation from a supervisor, advisor or colleague, and a personal statement explaining why you are unable to provide letters of recommendation from ESA members or a certified ecologist.

Letters of recommendation must be on company letterhead, signed by the recommender and uploaded in .pdf format via the form the recommenders will receive by email. If a recommendation’s agency/company prohibits use of letterhead for such instances, the letter of recommendation may be provided with no letterhead, but must contain an explanation describing the policy.


Transcripts that you submit in your application may be either official or unofficial, but an unofficial transcript must appear on institutional letterhead. Your transcript/s will be checked to validate that you meet the minimum educational requirements and to measure your length of professional experience. If there may be concerns about content of a particular course or a grade for it, the cover letter is the appropriate place to provide explanation.


Now that you have your materials together, you’re ready to apply!