Certification Requirements for the Journey Beekeeper

To be certified as a Journey Beekeeper the participant must satisfy six (6) requirements.  It is expected that these requirements will be accomplished within 3 years of acceptance into the Journey program.  An extension may be granted upon request.
1.  Pass an open book written exam with a score of 90% or better.
The written exam is open book.  The written exam is timed.  The student has 30 days from receipt to complete and return the exam.  The exam will contain true/false, multiple choice questions and essay questions.  Exam content is divided among three areas:  Biology, Practical beekeeping, and Contemporary Issues. There is no one text book for the Journey Beekeeper but several that are recommended reading.
Even though no one text book is the source for the exam questions, the recommended texts below will have the information to answer exam questions.  Questions about contemporary issues, by virtue of their immediacy, will not necessarily be found in the suggested texts.  University/government sites, journals and newsletters, and organizations listed in the additional resources provided to participants can provide information sources for answering questions about contemporary issues.

  • Caron, D.M. 2013. Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping. Wicwas Press.
  • Sammataro, D., and A. Avitabile. 2011. The Beekeeper’s Handbook (fourth edition). Comstock Publishing Associates.

2.  Pass a practical exam (in hive and lab) with a score of 80% or better for each section.
The 200-point practical exam consists of two sections: an open hive inspection using a Langstroth hive (100 points), and a lab examination including evaluation of jars of honey, and identification of pests, parasites, and pathogens and other causes of problems in a honey bee colony (100 points). The sections may be taken on separate occasions or together. A passing score is 80 points for each section.
Dates and locations of the exams will be communicated as scheduled. Please note 3 years of beekeeping experience is necessary in order to sign up to take the Practical exam.
3.  Engage in public service activities that earn 30 public service points and submit a worksheet detailing public service points earned.
Educating the general public as well as fellow beekeepers is a major component of the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program.  Public service is a key element of the Journey Beekeeper level certification. During the Journey Beekeeper program, participants demonstrate their knowledge and skills by giving back to the community and other beekeepers.
A total of 30 public service points meets this requirement.  Points must be accummulated in at least 4 service categories with no more than 50% of the total points (15) in one category.
Public Service activities educate and serve others in a number of ways, and include talking about bees in schools, collecting swarms, writing articles, and organizing or staffing booths at public events. Entering products of the hive in honey shows and judging a honey show are other examples of public service.  Service to the beekeeping community is also a key part of this program. For instance, a participant may earn points by becoming active on the board of a local or state bee association, mentoring new beekeepers, or giving a talk at a local bee club.
For the most current list of Public service points select Beekeeper Documentation under Helpful Links.  Select Journey Documents from the drop down menu and click apply. 
4.  Submit responses to 12 Guided Studies
The completion of guided studies is another requirement for Journey Beekeeper level certification. The two guided studies on Varroa mites are MANDATORY. The choice for the remaining 10 is up to the student. It is suggested that students complete one Guided Study per quarter in order to meet the requirement of 12 within 3 years.
The guided studies provide an opportunity to:

  • Be introduced to the literature available on honey bees and beekeeping
  • Increase confidence to research to find answers to questions independently
  • Discern among sources of information in terms of quality and credibility
  • Focus on information within a framework that can be used as a reference over time
  • Respond with information on a specific topic in one’s own words

Directed studies are done on a “completed/not completed” basis according to the criteria provided. In the event that a given study is noted as “not completed,” the committee will provide guidance for completion. Additional information on directed studies will be provided upon enrollment.
5.  Own and maintain a colony of honey bees under personal management for 3 successive years.
The ability to successfully manage a colony over 3 successive years is another requirement for certification as a Journey Beekeeper.  This means that the participant is responsible for his/her personal hive(s) continuously over this period of time.
The committee recognizes that colonies are lost for many reasons and that there may be a hiatus in direct ownership (e.g., a colony dies at the end of winter or early spring and the participant has to wait until later in spring to purchase a package, nuc, or colony).  A time lapse of personal management in this circumstance meets the requirement as long as the break in time is documented and appropriately managed.  A break in personal management that exceeds a reasonable amount of time between the loss of a colony and the time it takes start another would not meet this requirement.
6.  Submit a log of colony management documenting continuous management activities for 3 successive years.
Participants are required to maintain a log that covers 36 consecutive months (3 years) for the colony of bees under their personal management.  Each visit to the hive is documented. Logs kept for the Apprentice Beekeeper level will be honored.
The participant selects the format for his/her log.  Although there are numerous ways to document maintenance activities, the log needs to document specific information that includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Date and time of day
  • Weather conditions
  • What is blooming in the vicinity of the hive
  • Description of what is found: for example, brood pattern, bees bringing in pollen, and smell
  • Notes of actions taken: for example, mite counts, medications given, and feeding (what and how)
  • Notes about what needs to be checked, considered, or brought for the next visit
  • Notes of anything unusual or unexpected: for example, too many drones, aggressive bees, and so forth
  • Questions to consider, research or discuss with other beekeepers

For the technologically inclined, participants may keep a log online with Hive Tracks (www.hivetracks.com). Records from Hive Tracks may be printed out and submitted with other completed materials when applying for Journey certification.