IOIA offers Field Training courses designed as a structured apprenticeship for organic inspectors. Participants work with experienced inspectors to participate in and complete organic inspections and reports. Participants are evaluated on their participation during the course and their successful completion of inspection reports.
IOIA recommends apprenticeship with an experienced inspector. Apprentice inspectors who are interested in an informal apprenticeship should contact experienced inspectors in their area and ask to accompany them on one or more inspections as an observer. Some mentors are willing to take apprentices. Others are not. Some charge for their services; many do not. In some cases, veteran inspectors have paid the apprentices as assistants. In all cases, apprentices should expect to pay all of their own expenses during the apprenticeship. Some certification agencies have specific requirements for new inspectors. In all cases, the apprentice inspector completes at least one inspection while observed by the veteran. The experienced inspector is responsible for the quality of the report, signs the final draft, and is paid for the inspection.
Apprenticeship in each category (Crops, Livestock, and Processing) is recommended before seeking work of that category. Prospective inspectors should contact individual agencies for more information specific to that agency.