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Let’s get started with the beta test this summer!

The CCREF and the USCC are pleased to welcome you to the Certified Compost Operations Manager (CCOM) program. The CCOM was developed in part by a grant from the 11th Hour Foundation to the CCREF. The CCOM path follows a standard, three-step process which defines all accredited programs for certification of professionals in specific fields and businesses:  This process takes you to the next step in your career: 

Step 1

Verify you meet clearly-defined professional and education qualifications by completing and submitting an online application to become certified.

Step 2

Schedule, take, and pass the certification exam. 

Step 3

Receive test results and confirmation from the Certification Commission that you passed or did not. If you pass, start celebrating—You’re Certified!

Before the official CCOM application and exam are administered, we need to test-drive the exam and we need your help to do so. We need 150 to 200 people to “test the test” to see if it is too easy, too challenging, or just right. To do this, you will have 2.5 hours to complete the test, which contains more than 100 questions. There are multiple test formats so each test taker will have a slightly different test. After you register online to take the beta version of the certification test,  we’ll stay in touch by email and further information, updated on this website, with instructions about testing sites and what to bring to the exam.

The first question everyone asks is “What about preparation for the test? “ That’s the beauty and no risk of the beta test.  No preparation is required because the beta test wants to know what everyone with compost industry knowledge knows and has learned already. This is a come-as-you-are in your career event for all.  Anyone with compost industry knowledge should step forward and take the beta test for the CCOM Certification. The only preparation we recommend is a good night’s sleep and a sharp mind.

The beta test is free for the first 200 people who register here, then go on to take the test.  Once the beta testing is complete, the formal application and certification exam opens up to all and requires application and testing fees. 

The one-time, special incentive to take the beta test is this: If you pass the test and decide to go on to complete all steps to achieve the CCOM credential, you don’t have to take the test again and the application and test fee required for the fully-authorized professional certification (CCOM) is greatly reduced.   If you do not pass the test and decide to go on to complete all steps to certification, you’ll get to take the test again and complete the qualification application—at a greatly reduced fee.

The beta test is a special offer: there is no cost, no application, no need to verify education and professional requirements. This is the only time the CCOM certification test works like a practice test. It is the only time you can take the test for free to find out how well you would do after September when the finalized, total, official test launches.

Register for the beta test today... it’s free, you are helping the industry and there is no risk to you.

YES! If you have experience with composting and/or compost facility management then you are qualified. Even if you have NO experience in the industry, please register! Your participation in the test helps us gauge the strength of the exam questions and ultimately make the exam the best it can be.

Yeah, but how do I know if I am prepared?  You may not be.  You may be more than prepared. We want everyone. There are NO qualifications or prerequisites for the beta test.  Qualifications, prerequisites and requirements come later, in the total candidate experience.

Here’s the benefit of doing this now:

  1. Taking this exam is better than a practice test for the total certification process which opens up to all later this year. 
  2. You are among the first to see what the questions are like.
  3. If you can’t answer all questions you gain insight to areas of knowledge you need to develop further.
  4. You may discover you have the knowledge, skills and abilities it takes to succeed at completing certification requirements.

And it gets better…

If you find out you passed the exam the first time (beta) and you qualify for the certification, you can use your exam results to become fully certified.

For example, you find out in September you passed the beta exam. You then complete the certification candidate application form on the website to fulfill experience and education requirements. Next, you pay a deeply discounted test fee of 50% or less -- just for those who take and pass the beta exam.  The normal cost for the certification test is $315 for USCC members and $349 for all others.   That’s how a passing score, plus qualifications earns you the CCOM designation.

Testing window is July 5 to August 15.

Only for the beta test, the Certification Commission is working with industry leaders in 18 states to arrange for a specific date and time during the testing period to designate their facility as a secured environment where 5 or more test takers can check in and take the test.    

As we get confirmed host sites for the test, we will update this list. 

So far, here are the states we are contacting: 
  • CA, CO, FL, MA, MN, MD, ME, MI, MO, NC, NY, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, VA, WA.  
So far, here are the confirmed beta test locations:
  • July 5 – MI
  • July 7 – NC
  • July 12 – ME + TX-San Antonio + TX-Dallas + MI-2nd group
  • July 15 – OR + WA
  • July 19 – CA + TN
  • July 21 – NY, New York City
  • July 25 – CA-San Jose
  • July 27 – OH + VA
  • August 1 – MD
  • August 3 – CA-Bakersfield
  • August 4 – CO + MA
  • August 5 – TN
  • August 8 – NY, Onondaga County + MN + FL
  • August 10 – VA-Newport News
  • August 11 – TN
  • August 12 – NC
What if there isn’t a beta test site near me? No matter where you live, please register because we need to match up test sites with as many people from your area, from your state. 

Which brings us to…
The biggest reason you need to register:  The more from your area who register, the harder we work to get a test site near you. At this point, we don’t know how close we can get to you. You may need to drive an hour or more to the test location closest to you. 

What if you waited to register and found out you missed the test window in your state? Ah ha!  That is why we encouraged you to register as soon as possible.  Go ahead, register now and if there are enough additional from your area checking in we will do all we can to get a second place and time set up for you. 

Participating is fascinating and fun! After you register for the beta exam, you get an email from the Certification Commission telling you which test site is closest to you and the date to go there for your test. Usually, this is a small group of 5 to 10 people going to each test site. Once there, the host for the site welcomes you, gets everyone settled in to start the test, then provides the login and password for your test. Simply open your laptop, take the test, then visit or network with colleagues afterward.

After the day of your beta test, you will wait several weeks to find out the exam results because the Certification Commission has to conduct a complete psychometric analysis (remember, we are testing the test!). When the official test is launched in the fall, the process is different. You’ll need to apply, verify education, professional experience, and then register to take the test at one of 400 test centers throughout the US. The beta is special: there is no cost, no application, no need to verify education and professional requirements.

Duration: 2.5 hours

Length: Over 100 questions and the test is presented in more than one form (yep, the composter next you during test time is taking a different version of the exam!)

Results are completely confidential. Nobody will know that you took the exam or whether you passed or failed it, unless you tell them.

The 9 Knowledge Domains covered on the test include:

  • Business Acumen: marketing, sales, and customer relations
  • Composting Purpose and Vision: understanding of compost role in sustainability
  • Composting Science: the role of chemistry and biology in composting
  • Equipment and Services Management: use and maintenance
  • Feedstock Management: blends, recipes, and geography 
  • Health and Safety: controlling disease, fire, and protective equipment
  • Process Control and Quality Assurance: field testing, sampling, and lab analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance: local, state, and federal regulations and standards
  • Site Management: layout needs, controlling tonnage and volume, odor management
     

About the Certified Compost Operations Manager (CCOM)

In response to demand for talent and expertise to operate and manage composting facilities, the USCC Certification Commission is developing industry recognized certification programs.

The CCOM is the first in a series of compost manufacturing industry certifications designed to recognize the accomplishments and competencies of composting professionals. 

Read more about CCOM

Meet the Commissioners

Meet the Commissioners

The Commissioners are Jerry Bartlett, Bartlett Ventures; Tom Del Conte, Del Conte’s Landscaping, Inc.; Jack Hoeck, Rexius; Scott Subler, ClimeCo Corp., and Mark Rose, The LETCO Group, Living Earth LLC.

Read more about the Commissioners

 

5 great reasons to register for the beta test

1
Complete the application.
2
Meet the eligibility requirements.
3
Take and pass the CCOM examination.
4
Receive your certification.
5
Maintain through ongoing education.
 

About the Certified Compost Operations Manager (CCOM)

Welcome to the home of the Certified Compost Operations Manager (CCOM)

In response to demand for talent and expertise to operate and manage composting facilities, the USCC Certification Commission is developing industry recognized certification programs. The CCOM is the first in a series of compost manufacturing industry certifications designed to recognize the accomplishments and competencies of composting professionals.

Most of all, this website is totally about creating the best Total Candidate Experience possible, throughout the professional life of everyone who enters, advances and then achieves mastery in the organics recycling industry. Here is where the USCC Certification Commission provides the framework and environment for every composting professional to create their own path of success through decades of practice.  The framework includes standards, policies, code of ethics, applications, and a certification test.  The environment includes everything we can do to provide the information, support, credibility, and community of colleagues, customers, employers and regulators it takes to encourage you to achieve CCOM Certification and stay current through recertification every 3 years. 

For the next few months, the emphasis and the buzz is all about getting the word out for the beta test phase, which is this summer.

Why does this matter?

Whether you register, here and now, to step into the beta test experience—for free (no fees at all) in order to begin fulfilling requirements for the CCOM or choose to wait until this fall to apply for the fully-developed, more streamlined certification testing experience and pay the application fees and test fees, what stands behind this test matters.

Every professional certification developed and administered by the USCC Certification Commission has at its core the one study required of all correctly designed, fair and credible certifications—the Scope of Practice Study and Analysis. For the Certification Compost Operations Manager (CCOM) credential, USCC conducted the Compost Operations Manager Scope of Practice Study during the summer of 2015.  More than 7,000 composting manufacturers, educators and regulators received email invitations to participate in the study.  Survey respondents represent all stakeholder groups in all available configurations including all ten US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regions along with sixteen countries outside the United States.  The respondents also effectively exemplify stakeholders by facility type or role (government owned facility, non-profit facility, for-profit facility, teacher/trainer/educator, regulator, and consultant) and across two key experience levels (less than five years of experience versus five or more years of experience). 

In addition to the required amount of statistical data needed to complete the study and determine the certification test blueprint, the investigation included open conversations in focus groups and in surveys to find out why people in the organics recycling industry—and those who teach it and regulate it—feel so strongly that the time has come for professionalism and nationwide certification.

Top six reasons why compost operations managers will choose to become USCC Certified:

  1. Professional certification is required for promotions or salary increases.
  2. Certification is essential for career development.
  3. Certified professionals ensure public safety.
  4. Certification is required or preferred by the employer.
  5. Certification shows professionalism and improves the public’s view of us as professionals.
  6. Certification may now be or eventually will be required for regulatory compliance.

Hundreds of compost operations owners, managers and workers have joined the conversation about the value and importance of achieving USCC Certification.  Through this website and many other ways of listening and sharing your comments, we shall tell your career story and provide your reasons why CCOM is important.   Here’s what people in the composting industry are saying:

“We can see that all of the knowledge areas that are covered in the certification test design are important to creating a holistic compost operation that addresses many elements of business operation.”

“I’m glad to see that years of running a site counts as part of the qualifications to gain admission to the certification test.”

“Education is extremely important because this is an ever-changing field.  So glad to see the education requirements to qualify for this certification.”

“We are diverse and located in remote areas so it’s great to see the certification process is available online.”

“We believe this certification will help us with development and the progress of composting operations and procedures.”

“The number one reason for a CCOM to be certified is to obtain the skillset to run an environmentally safe and beneficial compost facility for the local community.”

What makes the CCOM Certification valuable?

The USCC Certification Commission developed a certification which will fulfill these promises:

  • Be globally recognized across the industry
  • Enable composting professionals to demonstrate they have met specified criteria and achieved a level of understanding of and familiarity with organics recycling standard practices 
  • Support organizations in establishing best management practice through improved business and environmental outcomes, as well as a clear career development path for compost professionals
  • Advance composting and facility operations management as a profession by clarifying the distinctive nature and value of the compost operations manager role.
 

Meet the Commissioners

The mission of the US Composting Council (USCC) Certification Commission is to develop and administer national, valid, credible, vendor-neutral certification programs for organics recycling professionals which enhance the profession of organics recycling facility management and in turn benefit the communitiy's business and environmental outcomes. 

The Certification Commission leadership and authority is vested in a group of five Commissioners who acknowledge and agree on the mission, purpose and governance of the USCC Certification Commission. You can count on the integrity and credibility of the Commissioners to make the USCC Certifications the preferred credentials, throughout the industry, and throughout the country.

The Commissioners are Jerry Bartlett, Bartlett Ventures; Tom Del Conte, Del Conte’s Landscaping, Inc.; Jack Hoeck, Rexius; Mark Rose, The LETCO Group, Living Earth LLC; and Scott Subler, ClimeCo Corp..

USCC Certification Commissioners

From left: Cary Oshins, USCC Director of Education and Staff Liaison to the Commission, Jerry Bartlett, Scott Subler, Jack Hoeck, and Mark Rose. Not pictured is Tom Del Conte.

USCC Certification Commissioners meet in person and by web conference every month to provide direction, policies and leadership necessary to build and grow the business of professional certifications for the organic recycling industry.

In Memoriam--The Commissioners dedicate the beta testing events throughout the USA to the memory of their colleague, friend, and former inaugural Commissioner, Chuck Wilson. 

Do you still have questions about the beta test for the CCOM Certification?

 

There will be a phone number and a customer service live voice later this year--after we complete the beta test phase and prepare to launch the fully operational system for applications, qualifications, certification testing and continuing education for recertification. If you prefer regular mail, you may write to us at the address shown here.

© 2016 USCC Certification Commission