Overview of Technical Service Provider Certification Process
Certification (valid for a three year period)
1. Determine if you want to be certified
Access the NRCS national TechReg web site at:
Click on the “Practice Categories and Eligibility Criteria Options” link
from the section titled Conservation Practice
Design, Installation, and Checkout. Review the categories
that you have an interest in for certification and the criteria that you
must meet to receive certification.
Click on “TSP Certification Agreement” link located in the
TSP Resources box and review.
Continue if you meet all the required criteria and wish to apply for
2. Request certification.
“Getting the appropriate accounts and passwords needed to request
Click on the “Become A TSP” link located in the TechReg –
TSP Registry box on the right side of the page. Your web browser will be
directed to a step-by-step guide for registering as a TSP.
Click on “Obtain an eAuthentication Level 2 Account” link
located in Step 1 of the Step-by-Step Guide for Registering as a TSP if
you do not have an eAuthentication (eAuth) account. You will be taken to
the eAuth registration site. Complete all of the required fields as part
of requesting an account. The security questions are used in the case of
a forgotten password and a password re-set is needed.
Selected passwords must meet strict requirements. Help for completing
your user information is available by clicking the link located below
the password field.
Once the necessary information is submitted, an email will
be generated providing instructions in how to activate your eAuth
account. The eAuth account must be activated within 7 days. Click on the
“ACTIVATE MY ACCOUNT” link in the email. Responding to the account
activation email by clicking on the link is a critical step in the
account registration and activation process and cannot be bypassed.
After you click on the email link, visit a local USDA
Service Center in person. Notify the USDA personnel that you need a
Local Registration Authority to validate your Level 2 account request.
The USDA employee at the Service Center will verify your identity and
activate your account on the USDA side. You can find the location and
contact information for a Service Center near you at
http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app. It’s a good idea to
call ahead to verify whether or not a Local Registration Authority is
available to verify your identity and activate your account. (Generally
there are only one or two individuals in a local USDA Service Center
available to process a Level 2 account activation). It’s also a good
idea to print the email message and bring it with you to the local USDA
Service Center as contact information included in the message will
assist our personnel in locating the right record in the national eAuth
database. TechReg will not allow you to login and start building your
TSP profile until you have had your identity verified and your eAuth
Level 2 account activated on the USDA side.
Once your account is activated by the USDA employee, you
should receive an email stating that your account is ready for use to
access USDA applications (i.e., TechReg).
Note: Neither an activated level 2 eAuth account nor an
assigned TSP application number means you are certified.
Detailed instructions for the Application Process are
available under Step 2 of the “Become a TSP” link for printing or
Return to the main TSP site and click the “Log into TechReg
Website” button. Use your activated userID and password to log into the
TechReg site and follow the instructions referenced above to build your
profile and request certification.
“Registering for an AgLearn account”
NRCS provides TSPs access to The Agriculture Learning (AgLearn)
Service educational services for USDA federal employees, contractors,
partners and customers. NRCS provides
TSPs so that they may take online courses needed for certification or
Please note that Conservation Planning Modules 1 – 5 and the TSP
Orientation Course are basic requirements for certification in all
categories and conservation activity plans. Some categories and
conservation activity plans require that additional training be
completed through AgLearn.
DO NOT click Login. Click the link for “Sign Up Now” that is located
below the Login button.
On the following page, click Register. At this point, you will be
asked to Login using your eAuth userID and password)
Complete the registration page.
Agency: Select Natural Resources Conservation Service, or NRCS
USDA Organizational Unit: Select Illinois TSP
Name of USDA Official to Sponsor Access to AgLearn: Select David
Are you a USDA Contractor, Partner, or Student?: Select Partner
You may see two other blanks to complete concerning who is your
point of contact. Enter the name and email address of the person who
activated your eAuth account. The email address format is
If you are unsure of the address of the individual activating your
account, use firstname.lastname@example.org.
An email should be auto generated by AgLearn and sent to the email
address of record in your eAuth profile if you have successfully
registered for an AgLearn account. If you do not receive an email from
AgLearn indicating that your request is being reviewed, then your
request did not get submitted successfully.
Wait until the designated USDA State Training Officer activates your
account. Account activation may take up to 3 working days. The training
officer will contact you upon activation of your AgLearn account.
3. Common issues and problems in requesting certification:
Profile Part 1 Section A. Contact Information. You are responsible for
keeping your contact information up to date. Use the “Add/Update Contact
Info” button to make necessary changes.
Profile Part 1 Section B. Associated Companies/Agencies. This section is
normally left blank and only used when you wish to have an affiliated
business or agency appear on TechReg.
Profile Part 1 Section C. Accreditations/Licenses. Certification
criteria for some categories require licenses or accreditations. Your
application will not be processed if required licenses or accreditations are
not shown in this section or if your license has expired.
Profile Part 1 Section E1- Professional References. Always fill this
section out and try to provide references from clients. Certification
criteria for some categories require references specific to the category or
practice for which you are requesting certification (indicated by the red
“Required” text as part of the qualifications necessary for the
certification category found in Section G1 or G2). In such cases, your
application will not be processed if Section E1 is not completed.
Additionally, NRCS staff will be looking at this section carefully for all
Profile Part I Section F-Familiarity with NRCS Guidelines, Criteria,
Standards, and Specifications. Section F is often left blank or is lacking
in specifics. The NRCS will not certify you until you have familiarized
yourself with NRCS conservation practice technical guidance for planning and
implementation of conservation practices.
Profile Part 1 Section F1 NRCS Conservation Planning Training
Requirements. Not indicating that you have taken Modules 1-5 of the
Conservation Planning course or have equivalent knowledge leaves your
application in a “pending” or “incomplete” status.
Profile Part 1 Section F2- TSP Orientation. (Does not apply to renewal
requests.) Not indicating that you have taken the TSP Orientation course
leaves your application in a “pending” or “incomplete” status.
Profile Part 2 Section G1-Certification Categories. Select and add the
category (ies) for which you are requesting certification. Then indicate how
you are qualified to be certified in each requested category by clicking on
the “Confirm Qualifications” button. To confirm your qualifications, select
the option within each requested category which lists the criteria that best
describes your situation. Toggle your preferred option by clicking the radio
button in the far left column). Then indicate “how the criteria was met”
(Check the appropriate boxes, such as education, work experience,
references, &/or NRCS familiarity). “Save” your entries. This section should
show a “ready to sign” status (as in ready for signing your certification
agreement) if you have completed and saved everything correctly. Repeat the
process for the other requested categories if you are requesting
certification in multiple categories. After signing the agreement in section
J this section should show a “submitted” status (as in submitted for
review). If you miss something, your application will show “pending” or
“incomplete” and you won’t be allowed to sign your certification agreement
and your certification will not be reviewed. The only status you ultimately
want to see is “submitted”, indicating your application has been submitted
Profile Part 2 Section G2-Conservation Activity Plans. Select and add
the Conservation Activity Plans (CAP) for which you are requesting
certification. Landusers who enter into contracts with NRCS for financial
assistance in the development of various types of management plans such as
nutrient management, forest management, comprehensive nutrient management,
etc. must have those plans developed by a qualified TSP who has been
certified for development of the CAP for the landuser. Indicate how you are
qualified to be certified in each requested CAP by clicking on the “Confirm
Qualifications” button. To confirm your qualifications, select the option
within each requested CAP which lists the criteria that best describes your
situation. Toggle your preferred option by clicking the radio button in the
far left column). Then indicate “how the criteria was met” (Check the
appropriate boxes, such as education, work experience, references, &/or NRCS
familiarity). “Save” your entries. This section should show a “ready to
sign” status (as in ready for signing your certification agreement) if you
have completed and saved everything correctly. Repeat the process for the
other requested CAPs if you are requesting certification in multiple CAPs.
After signing the agreement in section J this section should show a
“submitted” status (as in submitted for review). If you miss something, your
application will show “pending” or “incomplete” and you won’t be allowed to
sign your certification agreement and your certification will not be
reviewed. The only status you ultimately want to see is “submitted”
indicating your application has been submitted for review.
Mistakes are often made in sections G1 and G2. Some candidates fail to select
or toggle an “option.” Others fail to check one or more “how criteria were met”
boxes making the application “pending” or “incomplete.” Others fail to provide
references in Section E1 when references are mandatory.
Profile Part 2 Section H-Services. Many applicants select all the
conservation practices (services) available through the category (ies)
selected in Section G1 rather than limiting services to those for which they
Profile Part 2 Section I – Servicing Areas. If you wish to limit your
service to a specific county or counties within the state, the service area
can be specified in Section I.
Profile Part 2 Section J-Certification Agreement. Applicants sometimes
do not complete this section even though everything else has been correctly
completed. TSP candidates must review and electronically sign the
certification agreement. Certification agreements that have not been signed
will show a “Ready to Sign” status for all requested certification
categories (or possibly an “incomplete” status) and will not be “Submitted”
to NRCS for review. Anytime you “update” Section G1 or G2 you will have to
re-sign the Part J certification agreement. However your original
certification renewal date remains the same. Successfully completing your
application puts it into a “Submitted” status in Section G. If it says
“Submitted” you know that state TSP Coordinators have been sent your
application for review. Additionally, you will receive an E-mail telling you
that you have successfully requested certification.
4. Review of requested certification.
NRCS employees in each state you are requesting certification in will
review and verify your application by:
Checking required licenses
Checking completion of required courses
Checking references when these are a required criteria
Occasionally asking for work examples on certain practices
such as “prescribed burning ”
Often asking you how you became familiar with NRCS
standards and policies
Occasionally asking you about your experience with specific
conservation practices (services) that you are requesting certification
for within a category
Some states will interview you
Your certification is valid for three years. You will be notified by NRCS via
e-mail or letter at least 60 days
in advance that it is time to request renewal.