Schedule an Exam

Upcoming Certification Events

Can’t make it to a scheduled event? See the “Registering for an Exam” section below to request a different date/venue.

Available Certification Exams

Order-Level Exam (Citizen Science Exam)

The order-level exam includes aquatic insects and noninsects with image collages drawn at random from a bank of images. The exam is a 20-question, multiple-choice, timed 45-minute exam. The exam is an honor code, non-open notes exam. When payment is received, the exam coordinator will email an access code for the exam from within 3-5 business days. Once the access code is received the candidate can take the exam at any time. The exam will be scored immediately after completion. Upon certification, a digital certificate will be available for download. Those wishing to be listed as certified taxonomists will need to reply back to with the correct information.

Family-Level Exam

The family-level exam includes aquatic insects only with image collages drawn at random from a bank of images. There is a family-level practice quiz available here.

Genus-Level Exams

Five genus-level exams are available:

  • Group 1: General arthropods (specimens), East and West* testing. Genera of Crustacea and arthropods other than Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT, see Group 2) and Chironomidae (see Group 3). Immatures and adults as appropriate.
  • Group 2: EPT (images), East and West* testing. EPT genera (nymphs and larvae only).
  • Group 3: Chironomidae (images)**, North American. Chironomidae genera (larvae only).
  • Group 4: Oligochaeta (slides)**, only North American genera.
  • Group 6: Diatoms, level 1. Take the practice quiz

*“Eastern” genera will be those occurring east of the Rocky Mountains and “Western” genera will be those occurring in and west of the Rocky Mountains. It should be noted that geographic and phylogenetic coverage of this examination may be modified as testing protocols are improved. Candidates should be prepared to identify genera from throughout the examination region.

**Chironomidae and Oligochaeta exams are not divided into Eastern and Western genera.

Species-Level Exams

Registering for an Exam

Taxonomic certification exams are available all year round upon request to the Taxonomic Certification Program Coordinator, at designated testing centers† and may also be administered in connection with a course or workshop (see Upcoming Events above).

  • Complete the interest form† and choose from the list of scheduled exams. If you cannot attend one of the scheduled exams, you may request a test date at the testing center† nearest you. Questions? Contact the Taxonomic Certification Program Coordinator.
  • If your examination is specimen based, you will need to sign up and confirm a supervisor a month or more before your requested examination date. Image-based tests may be set up closer to your requested date.
  • Payment must be received prior to testing. Review the Fees and Payment Options. Discounts are available for Society for Freshwater Science members.

†These links may be blocked by some firewalls. If you cannot reach them, please email to request an exam date and location.

Want to know what to expect? View the exam instructions.