Field training classIOIA offers Field Training courses designed as a structured apprenticeship for organic inspectors. Participants work with experienced inspectors to participate in and complete two organic inspections and reports. Participants will be evaluated on their pre-course assignment, participation during the course and their successful completion of two inspection reports. IOIA typically holds Field Training courses two to three times per year.

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.

Informal apprenticeship in each category (Crops, Livestock, and Processing) is recommended before seeking work of that category and is usually accepted by certification agencies. Prospective inspectors should contact individual agencies for more information specific to that agency.

IOIA recommends the following steps:

  1. Successful completion of IOIA inspector training.

  2. Accompany experienced inspector on at least 3 inspections, writing reports for the 2nd and 3rd inspections for review by the mentor.

  3. Submit an additional 7 inspection reports for review and evaluation by the mentor.

  4. Mentors evaluate the work of the apprentice and may right a Recommendation Letter.

  5. Inspectors seek work from certifiers. Certifiers will typically require proof of training; a fee schedule; and conflict of interest and confidentiality agreements.

  6. Completion of the IOIA Training Verification Form after either 5 supervised inspections or 10 inspections for a certifier.

  7. IOIA Inspector Membership

  8. IOIA Inspector Accreditation

  9. Continuing education (both organic and non-organic) annually in the category. This should include 200-level training in the category (Crop, Livestock, Processing) through IOIA webinars. It might also include Advanced 300-level Training. IOIA provides 300-level training annually at the Annual Meeting, at several other locations during the year, and by webinar. Certificates are awarded to participants who complete all course requirements.