To become a beekeeper, professional beekeepers recommend that you educate yourself on the bee life-cycle, honey production, honey harvesting and beekeeping safety. Although you can become a beekeeper without a formal education, some beekeeping organizations, universities and park programs offer educational programs to assist people in becoming beekeepers. Some states require professional beekeepers to obtain a license. Established beekeepers also recommend that aspiring beekeepers find mentors in the field and join a local beekeeping club or the American Beekeepers Association.
The New York City Beekeepers Association offers basic classes and an apprenticeship program. The basic four-session class covers basic bee biology, general maintenance, diseases and treatments, processes and life cycle within the colony, and issues unique to urban environments. The apprentice program is a year-long program with both classes and field work.
The University of Georgia offers four levels of certification in its Master Beekeeper Program. To become a Certified Beekeeper, the first of the four levels, a student needs to pass written and practical tests in identifying parts of a beehive, using equipment properly and describing the layout of the brood nest. To gain the more advanced certification levels, students must demonstrate knowledge of bee diseases and proper use of pesticides. University of Georgia's highest certification level requires that participants pass all of the previous levels of the program, demonstrate an advanced knowledge of apiculture, publish articles in respected journals, and conduct workshops.