Host an Examination

The Society for Freshwater Science (SFS) welcomes applications from locations interested in hosting genus-level taxonomic certification examinations (TCE). Typical locations would be academic institutions, government laboratories, consulting laboratories, or other similar locations. A genus-level TCE may also be administered in connection with a course or workshop, by prior arrangement with the Taxonomic Certification Program Coordinator.

Testing Center Requirements

  1. Each testing center must be staffed by an examination supervisor and an alternate supervisor who are SFS members.
  2. The testing center must provide: (a) dissecting microscopes with magnification of at least 40X and fiber-optic incident and transmitted light and (b) compound microscopes with magnification of at least 400X (1000X preferred). Each type of microscope must be in sufficient number to accommodate the registered candidates. Candidates may bring their own microscopes.
  3. Candidates must provide their own literature, forceps, and other examination tools.
  4. The testing center must provide examination dishes, alcohol, and other necessary supplies.
  5. The genus-level TCE will be open book. Responses will be handwritten on a genus-level TCE answer sheet.

A maximum of three hours will be allowed for the examination of each taxonomic group. When more than one taxonomic group is being attempted in a single examination, each taxonomic group will be examined in succession with up to three hours allotted for each taxonomic group.

Apply to Be a Testing Center

If you are interested in becoming a genus-level testing center, please complete this application form*.

*This link may be blocked by some firewalls. If you cannot reach it, please email to register.

Examination Supervisor Requirements

Genus-level TCE supervisors will be selected by the Taxonomic Certification Committee and should be members of SFS. If you have interest in being a genus-level examination supervisor please contact the Program Coordinator at

Supervisor Duties Before the Examination

  • Candidate registration will close at least one month before the scheduled examination date. All candidates should register for genus-level testing through the TCP website. The list of candidates for a testing center will be forwarded directly to the Examination Supervisor.
  • The examination supervisor will ensure that the necessary facilities and equipment are available for each candidate on the examination date. These include a laboratory-type workstation with an appropriate microscope, Petri dishes, 70% ethanol, and wash bottles at each station.
  • The examination supervisor will be available to receive the test sets from the Program Coordinator’s shipper at a pre-arranged address and date and ensure that the sets are at the testing center on examination day.

Supervisor Duties During the Examination

  • The examination supervisor will supervise the conduct of the Genus Level TCE and ensure all candidates follow standard examination practice
  • The examination supervisor will review the instructions, particularly the replacement of specimens, if necessary, with the candidates before starting the examination.
  • The examination supervisor will examine any specimen before replacement and ensure the candidate’s concern is valid, and then distribute replacement specimens if necessary. Please note that the only reason for changing slide-mounted material is if it has been damaged in transit. If a specimen is replaced, note the fact that the specimen has been replaced and the replacement specimen’s test set and number on the candidate answer sheet.
  • The examination supervisor will receive the candidate’s written results on test completion.
  • The examination supervisor will receive fees in those cases where candidates pay on-site.

Supervisor Duties After the Examination

The examination supervisor will dispatch the test sets, the test results, the questionnaires, and any received fees in the shipping case to the Program Coordinator by courier service as soon as possible after the examination.

For shipping from the U.S. to Canada you must have a FedEx International Air Waybill and a commercial invoice. These will be provided in the case(s) with the test sets and will be filled out but both documents must be dated and signed by the supervisor. The original waybill copy and the new waybill, commercial invoice, and genera lists must be in the poly shipping pouch on the outside of the case. You may call FedEx for pick up at your office.