Master Beekeeper Program

logo master beekeeperThe South Carolina Master Beekeeping program began in 1996 and is designed to provide interested students with the basic knowledge and skills needed to become successful beekeepers and to be able to share their enthusiasm and knowledge with the public.

A successful beekeeper is one who can keep their bees alive for at least one year, and though this is not an impossible task, beekeepers who participate and complete training programs have a better chance of being successful beekeepers.

There are four levels in the Master Beekeeping Program with each one progressively more difficult than the previous level both in terms of knowledge requirements and skill levels. Student knowledge and skill are determined through written and practical tests. Also, successful participants are required to perform public service for honey bee education.

For information related to when and where Certified Beekeeping training classes will be held, contact your Local Beekeeping Association. Information related to when and where the Journeyman, Master, and Master Craftsman classes or seminars may be held will be posted on this website under Events.

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In reaching your goals for Public Service Credits please download the form and complete as you sign off each credit. Download Public Service Credits Form.

Current SC Master Beekeepers

Current SC Beekeeper Master Craftsman

This training program is administered by the South Carolina Beekeepers Association. Questions related to the Master Beekeeping Program should be directed to SCStatebeekeepers@gmail.com

Requirements and General Information

The Master Beekeeper Program (MBP) is a five year beekeeper training and certification program administered and provided by the South Carolina Bee Keepers Association (SCBKA). Entry into the program is attained by joining the SCBKA, a local bee association, attending a Certified Class and passing the certified examination. There is no age limit for entry into the program although the examination may be too difficult for children under 12 years of age. All students must enter the program at the Certified Beekeeper level and no students are permitted to skip levels.

The program offers four levels of training and advancement: Certified Beekeeper, Journeyman Beekeeper, Master Beekeeper and Master Craftsman Beekeeper. All ranks take a minimum of one full year between levels to complete with the exception of Master Level, which takes 2 years. Opportunities for advancement in the program occur on exam day and upon meeting all the requirements for the level of advancement desired.

The training and examination consists of two parts, the written and a practical examination. The exam day is when Journeyman, Master and Master Craftsman should submit their required documentation for public service work to the MBP Manager/Committee.

Click here for examination information.

Additionally, we hold award ceremonies to congratulate all those who have successfully passed the written and practical exams at that season’s respective spring or summer conference.  Attendance at these award ceremonies is not required, but is encouraged. The spring and summer conferences require separate registration from the MBP registration.

On the next two pages are lists of requirements necessary for a candidate to fulfill in order to achieve each level in the Master Beekeeper Program. It is important that candidates read the requirements closely and make certain that all requirements are met in order to advance in the program. Additional Program stipulations (program status, limitations, guidelines and re-tests) are now listed in Appendix G. Master Beekeeper of the Year requirements and information are listed in Appendix H.

If at any point you wish to discontinue the program, please contact us directly. Please also be sure to keep us informed of your current mailing address, email address and phone number as we do use all methods to contact you for various reasons throughout your enrollment in the SCBKA Master Beekeeper Program.

Summary of requirements needed to achieve each level in the SC Master Beekeeper Program Level

Registered Beekeeper WrittenExam PracticalExam OralExam Public Service Credits Core Credits Major Credits Research/Extension Project
Certified x x x
Journeyman x x x 5 – *
Master x x x 10 5 3 x (project approval)
Master Craftsman x x x 15 8 5 x
Credit totals 30(minimum) 13** 8**

Requirements for Each Level: (click the link below to go to that section)

MASTER BEEKEEPER

This training program is administered by the South Carolina Beekeepers Association. Questions related to the Master Beekeeping Program should be directed to scStatebeekeepers@gmail.com

Certified Beekeeper:

  • Must be a current South Carolina state registered beekeeper.
  • Must own at least 1 colony of honey bees for at least 1 year. Special exceptions to this rule will be considered.
  • Must score a 70% or higher on the written examination. The written test can include but is not limited to materials covered during previous certified classes, and books/other literature on the Certified Beekeeper reading list (see Appendix E).
  • Must also score 70% or higher on the practical examination. The practical examination can include but is not limited to being able to describe the physical parts of a beehive (common terms); light and properly use a smoker; recognize the various stages of brood, different castes of bees, and find or at least describe the queen; differentiate between brood, pollen, capped honey; recognize propolis and describe its functions; describe the layout of a brood nest (placement of honey, pollen, and brood), etc.

Journeyman Beekeeper

  • Must have held the Certified Beekeeper level for at least 1 full calendar year and should have been a practicing beekeeper for at least 2 years with 1 year after complete of Certified Level. Also, must be a current South Carolina State Member. Special exceptions to this rule will be considered.
  • Must score a 80% or higher on the written examination. The written test can include but is not limited to materials covered during previous Journeyman class, and books/other literature on the Journeyman Beekeeper reading list (see Appendix E). This examination will cover more information than that required at the Certified Beekeeper level. The testable material will closely adhere to information taught in the Journeyman training modules.
  • Must score 80% or higher on a practical examination. The practical examination can include but is not limited to: identifying pests, parasites and pathogens, reading pesticide labels and determining which is the safest to use around bees; identifying several beekeeping items; examining honey labels for errors; distinguishing between bees, wasps, hornets, etc.; and identifying anatomical structures of a bee, flower, etc.
  • Must perform and be able to document participation in 5 public service credits (see Appendix A). The Public Service Credit Documentation Form is only a supporting document and should not be the only evidence of a completed PSC.

Master Beekeeper

  • Must have held the Certified and Journeyman Beekeeper levels 1 year each and should have been a practicing beekeeper for at least 2 years. Also, must be a current SCBKA registered beekeeper. Special exceptions to this rule will be considered.
  • Must demonstrate/document 10 additional public service credits beyond that required for the Journeyman Beekeeper level (see Appendix A).
  • Choose and declare major (see Appendix C) and demonstrate/document expertise in 3 of 10 credits within the major. We refer to these as “major credits.”
  • Must demonstrate/document expertise in 5 credits outside your major. We refer to these as “core credits“. These core credits can be chosen from Appendix B. In addition to this, you may choose credits from other majors to fulfill your core credits.
  • Must score 80% or higher on the written examination. The written examination can include but is not limited to materials covered during previous lectures and/or books/other literature on the Master Beekeeper reading list.
  • Must pass practical which will include a lab portion and must pass an oral examination. Nominee will be tested by at least three individuals on the review board. The candidate is tested on one specific area of his or her choice (major) as well as on general knowledge of those areas related to honey bees and beekeeping.

Master Craftsman Beekeeper:

  • Must have held the Master Beekeeper rank for at least 2 years and should have been a beekeeper at least 5 years. Also, must be a current SCBKA registered beekeeper. Special exceptions to this rule will be considered.
  • Must have 15 additional public service credits beyond that required for a Master Beekeeper (see Appendix A). “Extra” public service credits obtained while certifying for the Master Beekeeper Level cannot be applied to the 15 total public service credits needed to achieve Master Craftsman Status.
  • Must satisfy 5 additional new credits toward your declared major (for a total of 8 credits toward major – 3 credits were completed in the Master Beekeeper level). We refer to these as “major credits“. If student changes major, he/she must re-declare new major with the MBP board or advisors, and still satisfy 8 total credits toward new major unless previously acquired credits overlap with new major.
  • Must demonstrate expertise in 8 additional new credits outside your major (for a total of 13 credits outside major – 5 credits were completed in the Master Beekeeper level). We refer to these as “core credits“. These credits can be chosen from Appendix B. In addition to this, you may choose credits from other majors to fulfill your core credits.
  • Must demonstrate communication skills (see Appendix D).
  • Must pass an oral examination. Nominee is tested by at least three individuals on the review board. The candidate is tested on one specific area of his or her choice (major) as well as on general knowledge of those areas related to honey bees and beekeeping.