Exam Information

The ACE examination is "closed book," online, and administered by a proctor who remains in the room during the test. It consists of 150 multiple-choice and true-false questions and should be taken in one sitting of 3-hours or less. Once set, the applicant should send their exam date and proctor information to ace@entocert.org with at least 10 days' notice. Exams are scheduled weekly and instructions are sent to the proctor and applicant 7-10 days before their exam date, including the username and password to access the exam. The exam is rigorous by design. The Certification Board feels that applicants, regardless of how long they have been in the industry, should prepare for the exam with a minimum of 40 hours of self-study prior to attempting the exam. To prepare, ESA suggests the following study materials:

  1. IPM for the Urban Professional: A Study Guide for the Associate Certified Entomologist 
  2. NPMA Field Guide to Household Pests app (available for Apple iOS or Google

General Guidelines

The ACE examination is designed to recognize practicing pest management professionals who have a solid grasp of the practical aspects of applied entomology. The major categories of competency covered by the exam include these four areas:

  • Inspection and Identification (45% of the exam)
  • Monitoring (12% of the exam)
  • Selection and Implementation of Control Methods (28% of the exam)
  • Evaluation (15% of the exam)

Content Outline

The content outline is the four Domains broken into a series of Skills and Tasks. It is more detailed information on the types of materials covered in the examination

Sample Exams

You can take a sample ACE exam. This will give you a better understanding of the types of questions asked and your overall preparedness for the exam. The sample exam can be viewed here: https://goo.gl/forms/7VxAVv6UWR2jMqsu2

Study Guides

As mentioned, there are two recommended study materials, and any number of additional resources that can help prepare applicants. 

  1. IPM for the Urban Professional: A Study Guide for the Associate Certified Entomologist 
  2. NPMA Field Guide to Household Pests app (available for Apple iOS or Google

Familiarity with information in these references, along with solid hands-on experience in the pest control industry, and participation in ongoing continuing education should adequately prepare prospective ACE candidates to take the certification exam.

Additional resources to consider include:

Drs Mike Merchant, BCE (TAMU) and Bob Davis, BCE (BASF) have developed a series of PowerPoint slides that are available to approved instructors of an ACE review course. The slides follow the course outline. A copy of the slides may be requested by emailing Dr. Merchant or Dr. Davis for proctors and instructors. The slides are not meant for self-study. 

Review Courses

Many applicants to the ACE program find it helpful to sit through a review course. However, you should view them as an enhancement to your training, not as a stand-alone way to prepare. On rare occasions, ESA hosts ACE review courses, though mostly the education community provides this training. If you are hosting an ACE Review Course and would like it added, please send the details to admin@entocert.org.

For each of the classes and courses cited below, please be aware that in almost every case you will need to register twice -- once with ESA to apply to become an ACE and once with the organization hosting the course.

Additionally, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has developed a set of webinars that ACE applicants can use for independent study. Click here for more information.

After the Exam

The exam is scored immediately by the testing software and a score is sent to the applicant. Passing score is 75%.

If the exam is passed, ESA will contact the applicant with an official welcome to the ACE program. The ACE is issued as a digital credential and the applicant will also be mailed a physical welcome kit. Digital credentials can be shared in the holder's mobile wallet as well as shared online. Renewals will be every 3 years and will require CEUs, but not retesting. 

All applicants must pass the exam within 3 years of their application acceptance date or the application will expire.

If an applicant does not earn a passing score the first time they take the exam, they can retake it no sooner 30 days and no more than 365 days later. To schedule a retake, the applicant need only email ace@entocert.org with their exam date and proctor. As with scheduling initial exams, please make sure to give ESA staff at least 10 days' notice. There is no fee to retake the ACE exam.