Professional Ecologist Certifications

Application Process

Applications must be complete and must include all information required in this Requirements Checklist and on the appropriate form. Incomplete applications may be rejected, or additional information may be requested of the applicant to clarify incomplete application information.

All applications are due by February 1.

Applications submitted without full payment or late applications will not be reviewed.

All certification applications will be approved or denied in June and applicants can expect to be notified of their status in August. Approved candidates for certification will receive an official certificate reflecting the level of certification and years that the certification is active.

After five (5) years, all certified ecologists will be asked to apply for re-certification via email. Re-certification at a higher level than previously certified requires the submission of a Certification Upgrade Application.

Certification is valid for 5 years. There is a 1-year grace period for re-certification, after which certification lapses. For lapsed certification, candidates must reapply using the Application for New Certification (All Levels).

All certifications are retroactive to June 1 and expire June 30.

Application & Re-certification Fees

Certification Category ESA Member Fee Non-Member Fee
Ecologist in Training    $95  $205
Associate Ecologist    $95  $205
Ecologist  $160  $330
Senior Ecologist  $160  $330
Streamlined Application (Senior Ecologists only)  $160  Not applicable

Certification Process Timeline


The ESA certification opens for applications.



Applications Deadline: February 1.

Please note that payment must be submitted with your application or it will not be considered. Late applications will not be considered.



The Board of Professional Certification meets to review all applications. The Board will determine which applications are accepted or rejected, and which require additional information.

Applicants who need to submit additional data shall be contacted during this period for the Board’s final review.



The Board of Professional Certification will finish its final review of incomplete applications.

All applicants will be notified of their certification status; questions regarding the results and/or appeal requests may be submitted.

Appeals Procedure

A decision of the Board of Professional Certification may be appealed in writing to the ESA Executive Director, who will initiate the appeals process through the ESA Professional Ethics and Appeals Committee.

Disciplinary Procedure

The Board of Professional Certification, with approval of the Professional Ethics Committee, shall have the authority to censure a certification, to suspend certification for a stated period, or to revoke certification on the finding that an individual has willfully violated the Code of Ethics or misrepresented the facts at the time of certification. Such a finding may be reached by concluding that an allegation of improper deportment is true. Such an allegation may be presented to the Board in writing, by any member of the Ecological Society of America. Anonymous allegations will not be entertained. Anyone named a party to such proceeding shall be informed in a timely manner of the evidence brought forward and be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations.

The Board will forward all material to the Professional Ethics Committee. After review of the case by the Committee and the board, the Board will render a written decision informing the certified ecologist, the individual who initiated the allegation, and the Governing Board. Any such action of the Board may be appealed to the Governing Board, whose decision will be final.