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‚ÄčOdor Management Certification Program

Created under Act 38 of 2005, the Facility Odor Management Program, administered by the State Conservation Commission (Commission), requires certain agricultural operations to develop odor management plans following planning criteria established under Act 38 for new or expanded animal housing or manure storage facilities.  Act 38 requires that a certified Odor Management Specialist develop the odor management plan.  The Department is mandated under Act 38 to establish an odor management certification program.  The requirements for the Odor Management Certification Program are created by regulation establishing odor management specialist categories (commercial, public and individual); training and examination requirements and planning requirements that intend to demonstrate a person's competency in developing or reviewing odor management plans.

A person interested in certification may apply for one of three certification categories.  A 'commercial' certificate allows a person to develop odor management plans for an agricultural operation.  This certification is appropriate for private sector consultants.  A 'public' certificate allows a person to review odor management plans, or recommend approval to a conservation district or the State Conservation Commission.  This certification type is reserved for employees of conservation districts or state employees.  An 'individual' certificate allows a farmer to develop an odor management plan for his or her own agricultural operation.

Certification Process

Nutrient Management Specialists currently holding a valid certification issued by the Department cannot develop an odor management plan.  Interested persons must obtain an Odor Management Specialist certificate to write an odor management plan.  Applicants for certification must attend a series of courses designed by the Department to address odor management planning principles and technology and pass an examination administered by the Department.  Successful completion of the training courses will grant a person 'provisional' certification, which will allow an applicant to begin writing odor management plans and complete 'final' certification requirements.  At this stage of certification, an applicant for 'commercial' or 'public' certification granted 'provisional' certification has 2 years from the date of issuance to complete the planning requirements.

Upon successful completion of the required coursework and examination, each category type must complete planning activities to demonstrate the applicant's ability in developing or reviewing an odor management plan.

  • A 'commercial' odor management specialist must prepare two (2) plans which comply with Act38 requirements and the Facility Odor Management regulations.
  • A 'public' odor management specialist must prepare one (1) and review one (1) plan in compliance with Act38 requirements and the Facility Odor Management regulations.

When an applicant has completed the required coursework, passed the examination and completed the appropriate planning requirements, the Department will notify the applicant of their eligibility for 'final' certification, at which time the applicant will be required to submit an application and the appropriate certification fee (as noted below) to apply for 'final' certification.  All fees must be paid by check, or money order made payable to the "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

Certification & Examination Fees

  • Exam - $30.00 (Commercial & Public; Individual - no fee)
  • Commercial - $200.00
  • Public Review - $25.00
  • Individual - $15.00

Coursework Information and Registration

Persons interested in becoming an Odor Management Specialist will need to complete the following required trainings in order to write odor management plans.  Applicants must register with the Department to attend the required coursework and examination.

Odor Management Orientation & Plan Writing - This training provides a comprehensive introduction and overview of the Act 38 regulatory requirements for odor management planning.  Training includes learning how to use the Odor Site Index, development of farm maps, understanding impacts of odor on communities and learning how to develop an odor management plan.

  • Odor Plan Review & Examination - An Odor Management Plan that the participants completed from the Odor Plan Writing training will be reviewed in this class.  At the end of this training if successful, the participants will have completed their first plan towards meeting their final certification requirements. The Odor Management Exam will be administered at this training.

You may register for coursework and exams on the PaPlants website.  In order to register for the required trainings, you must register as a PaPlants User.  To become a 'PaPlants' user, applicants must complete the Odor Management Certification Program application.  You will receive a 'PaPlants' User ID and Pin Number.  Use this information and the PaPlants Users Guide to register for coursework.  Once you register for coursework, registration confirmation and directions to the training facility will be sent to you if you have supplied a valid email address.

Training & Examination Dates

Current Odor Management Certification training dates:

Classroom trainings are offered twice a year.  Training dates will be posted on this website as they are scheduled.

Continuing Education

Certified odor management specialists must obtain continuing education credits (CECs) to maintain certification.  Required CECs must be obtained in the amounts noted below before the certificate expires:

  • Commercial & Public Specialists - 6 CECs every three years.
  • Individual Specialists - 3 CECs every three years.

Training courses providing CECs must be pre-approved by the Department.  A listing of available continuing education courses is available online at 'PaPlants', Odor Management - CEC Meeting Search.