CCA candidates must first have a minimum of four years of experience. This can be a high school diploma and four years of advisory experience, a college diploma and three years of experience or a university degree and two years of advisory experience. Once a candidate has obtained the minimum requirement, they must pass a national and state/provincial exam focused on the four main knowledge categories. After passing the exams, a candidate must sign and honor the CCA Code of Ethics and maintain 40 hours of relevant continuing education every two years. Becoming a certified crop adviser is voluntary and helps to further an individual’s career.
Choosing a CCA can be a costly investment, so it is important to select the right one. First, it is critical to know which services are required from the CCA. Anyone looking to hire a CCA should make a list of potential candidates with references to examine past experience and quality of work. The right CCA will have knowledge and experience with the types of crops the grower is producing, as well as with land in the general area. The grower should understand the CCA’s fee structure and service offering before making a decision. Another important consideration is the CCA’s views on input management, yield goals, and cropping methods. This is very important since the grower needs to be comfortable with their methods and advice to maintain a strong relationship.