To become a BCE, in addition to fulfilling the other requirements, each applicant must score at least 70% on the BCE Core or Qualifying exam and at least one specialty examination. One specialty is included in the examination fee, all additional specialties require an additional fee. Nearly all BCE examinations are administered online through the internet. The test instructions will be sent to your proctor about a week prior to your exam. To get a sense of the types of questions asked as well as the style and the format of the exam, please view the sample exam here:


If you are an international BCE candidate, and having trouble finding the recommended books, please email us, we can help you!


BCE Core/Qualifying Exam

You must have applied and been accepted into the BCE application process prior to taking this exam.  After you have been accepted into the program, confirm with your proctor a date when you are ready to take the exam and inform the ESA Certification Coordinator by email to The Coordinator will e-mail instructions one week prior to the scheduled test date  to you and your proctor. This exam is administered online.  If your exam date changes please notify the Certification Coordinator at your earliest convenience.

Topics to study for the General Entomology Qualifying exam:

  • History of Insects & Entomology
  • Importance of Insects to Humans
  • Taxonomy, Classification, and Identification
  • Insect & Arthropod Anatomy, Biology, Morphology, and Physiology
  • Insect & Arthropod Management
  • Laws and Regulations Related to Insects & Arhthropods
  • BCE Code of Ethics

Helpful Study References

  • Adams, J. ed. 1992. Insect Potpourri. Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, FL. 336 p., ISBN: 1-877743-09-7 [hb].   
  • Borror, D.J., and R.E. White. 1970. Peterson Field Guide [to] Insects. Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, NY. 404 p., ISBN: 978-0-395-91170-9 [sb].  
  • Brandenburg, R.L., and M.G. Villani. eds. 1995. Handbook of Turfgrass Insect Pests. Entomol. Soc. Amer., Lanham, MD. 140 p., ISBN:  0-938522-52-3  [sb].  
  • Byrd, J.H., and J.L. Castner. eds. 2010. 2nd ed. Forensic Entomology. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 681 p., ISBN: 978-0-8493-9215-3 [hb].  
  • Debboun, M., S. Frances, and D. Strickman. eds. 2007. 2nd edInsect Repellents Handbook. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 495 p., ISBN: 978-1-4665-5355-2 [hb].   
  • Gold, R.E., and S.C. Jones. eds. 2000. Handbook of Household and Structural Insect Pests. Entomol. Soc. Amer., Lanham, MD. 154 p. ISBN: 0-938522-78-7 [sb].
  • ICZN. 2000. 4th edInternational Code of Zoological Nomenclature. The International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, London, UK. 306 p. ISBN: 0-85301-006-4 [hb]; This code has been amended twice, as of 1 January 2012, with the current “e-version” available at:
  • Heymann, D.L. ed. 2008. 19th edControl of Communicable Diseases Manual. Amer. Publ. Health Assn. (APHA), Washington, DC. 746 p. ISBN: 978-87553-189-2 [sb].
  • Levi, H.W., and L.R. Levi. 1990. Golden Guide [to] Spiders and their Kin. Golden Books, New York, NY. 160 p., ISBN: 0-307-24021-5 [sb].
  • Mullen, G.R., and L.A. Durden. eds. 2009. 2nd edMedical and Veterinary Entomology. Academic Press, Orlando, FL. 637 p., ISBN: 978-0-12-372500-4  [hb].
  • Triplehorn, C.A., and N. F. Johnson. 2005. 7th edBorror and DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects. Thomson, Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA. 864 p., ISBN: 0-03-096835-6  [hb].
  • WHO. 2004. Global Strategic Framework for Integrated Vector Management. WHO, Geneva. 12 p.
  • Zim, H.S., and C. Cottam. 1987. Golden Guide [to] Insects. Western Publ. Co., Racine, WI (Div. of Golden Books, New York, NY). 160 p., ISBN: 0-307-24055-X [sb].  
  • Inward, D., G. Beccaloni, and P. Eggleton. 2007. Death of an order: a comprehensive molecular phylogenetic study confirms that termites are eusocial cockroaches. Biology Letters 3:331-335.