Apprenticeship Opportunities

Organic Valley CowsOrganic Livestock Inspector Apprenticeship Intensive July 24-29

Organic Valley headquarters in Wisconsin

IOIA offers Apprenticeship Intensives 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. Apprentices are expected to be ready to conduct solo inspections upon completion of an Intensive course.

Potential inspectors who have completed basic training work with an approved mentor to complete an intensive week-long course of inspections, followed by a year-long support component whereby the mentor acts as a resource for the apprentice as he/she gains experience. 


ACA/IOIA Apprenticeship

Organic apprentices are needed! In this unique partnership, IOIA will match apprentices to experienced mentor inspectors in a structured apprenticeship including 4 inspections (2 observing the mentor and 2 being observed by the mentor).

Simple application process
No registration fees
Efforts will be made to regionally match apprentices and mentors
Build a foundation for formal inspector apprenticeship and credentialing

IOIA, in partnership with The Accredited Certifiers Association (ACA), aims to complete a Mentor Job-Task Analysis for Organic Inspector Mentorship. This project is funded by a Cooperative Agreement between ACA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), National Organic Program (NOP).

IOIA is seeking newly trained inspectors who will participate in this project as apprentices. Ideally, these potential apprentices will have taken basic training in one or more of the 4 NOP accredited scopes (crop, livestock, processing, and wild crop). Both independent and staff inspectors are encouraged to apply. Apprentices will not be paid for their time, and they must pay their own travel expenses.

ACA and IOIA are also seeking experienced organic inspectors to serve as mentors. Mentors will provide guidance, support, and training to new inspectors as they gain experience in the field.

Apprenticeships must be completed by August 31, 2023.


IOIA recommends apprenticeship for all newly trained inspectors with an experienced inspector (mentor). Apprentice inspectors who are interested in an informal apprenticeship may 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 is recommended before seeking work of that category. Prospective inspectors should contact individual agencies for more information specific to that agency. 

Click here to apply for the ACA/IOIA project.