Apprentice Beekeeper Level

Welcome to the Apprentice Level!

The Apprentice Beekeeper is the first level of certification in the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program. This level is designed to give those just starting in beekeeping solid information and support, with the goal of increasing retention of new beekeepers as they develop confidence in their ability to keep bees. The training, experience, and guidance provided at the Apprentice Beekeeper level provide the student with:

  • The knowledge and confidence to keep bees in Langstroth hives
  • Hands-on experience working with bees, including use of tools and equipment
  • Information about the costs and "how-to's" of obtaining bees to get started as a beekeeper
  • Opportunities for training and mentorship
  • Exposure to resources to improve skills and stay current in beekeeping

Participation Criteria

Enrollment in the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program at the Apprentice Beekeeper level begins with submission of a completed application form. Subsequent placement in the Apprentice level is based on the incoming student’s beekeeping experience (see chart below).

Students in the Getting Started program are not assigned a mentor and in most cases will be accepted into the program. Students who complete the Getting Started program have priority for mentor assignments the following year. Assignments are based on the availability of volunteer program mentors in the student’s region. Traditional students are assigned a mentor based on availability in their area.

Enrollment Process

If you are interested in our program, the first step is to put your name on the Apprentice Waiting List. Each year in late summer we send applications to everyone on the list. Once applications are received, we assign people a spot in the program based on the availability of mentors in their area. Then program fees are collected, and your registration is finalized. Classes begin in January of each year. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Computer Access

Students participating in the Oregon Master Beekeeper program are required to have access to a computer, tablet or other means to send/receive email and to access the internet. Access to email and the web are essential for students in the program.

Email provides an efficient means to communicate with the many students in all levels of the program. Each student account requires an email address as part of the set up. Internet access allows students to access resources, exams, class videos, progress reports, etc. The ability to download and later upload program materials is also dependent upon web access.

If you do not have access to a computer or other means of communicating electronically, please let us know.

Which tier of the Apprentice Program is right for you?

Our Apprentice program is separated into three tiers - placement is determined by your level of experience when you enter the program. Please view our 'OMB Apprentice Program Chart' linked below for a detailed description of program requirements for each tier.

'Getting Started' Apprentice Program

  • Zero to 1 year of experience
  • No hive required - no assigned mentor

Traditional Apprentice Program

  • 1 or more years experience
  • Hive access required - mentor assigned

Challenge to Apprentice Certification

  • 5+ years experience
  • No mentor assigned
  • Fast-track to Journey program

Apprentice Program Waiting List

The enrollment process begins in late summer when notices to complete an application are emailed to those on the waiting list. The waiting list remains open through July 31st of each year.

Respondents are notified when a match with a mentor is made. At that time, the student pays the enrollment fee. Before the first class, the student will receive the approved text and other related forms and materials.

Classes and access to your mentor usually begins in January each year.

Challenge to Apprentice Certification

If you have five or more years beekeeping experience, your knowledge may qualify you to start the Oregon Master Beekeeper program at the Journey level.

Please review participation and certification requirements before applying (linked above). To initiate the challenge process, please complete the online application and be prepared with your payment (contact Jen Holt for the payment link). When we receive your application and payment, we will notify you so that you may begin the challenge process.

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