Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

The Sports Turf Managers Certification (CSTM) is an industry wide professional certification for turf managers, administered by the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association (ASTMA), the peak industry body for Sports Turf Management in Australia. 

A well-recognised, respected and credentialed Sports Turf Manager Certification Program is considered essential for the development of the industry, and is an especially important accreditation for those looking to strengthen their current skills, knowledge and position, or those who wish to take the next step in their career.


What is the Sports Turf Managers Certification Assessment about?

The Sports Turf Manager Certification Assessment, coupled with Prior Learning and/or eligibility requirements, is used as the requirement for testing knowledge and understanding of those undertaking the Certification Program, to ensure turf managers being awarded Certification demonstrate a high level of competency and proficiency in all areas of Sports Turf Management.

The Sports Turf Manager Certification Assessment exam contains over 100 multiple choice questions designed to assess applicants on knowledge relating to five critical performance areas:

  • Soil Performance
  • Soil Calculations
  • Plant Biology
  • Disease & Chemistry
  • Irrigation and Water
“I believe undertaking the certification process is essential to promote ourselves as professionals.  Certification is an effective way to recognise Sports Turf Managers who are dedicated to the development and promotion of our industry.  By becoming a Certified Sports Turf Manager, it creates a path to inspire ongoing education and communication amongst turf professionals"

Keith McPhee (CSTM)

Maitland City Council


Benefits of becoming a Certified Sports Turf Manager

Below we have outlined some of the many benefits of becoming a Certified Sports Turf Manager, along with the comments from just some of the over one hundred turf managers who have undertaken the Assessment already. 

There are substantial benefits to obtaining industry certification, and members of the Association who have undertaken the assessment and become accredited as Certified Sports Turf Managers agree that highest among the benefits are:


1. Provides Industry Recognition

The Sports Turf Managers Certification (CSTM) Program is an industry-wide professional certification for turf managers. While some industry certification programs focus only on a specific skill or location, the Sports Turf Managers Certification Program administered by the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association is internationally recognised, with members from 8 countries attaining Certification in order to improve their credentials and recognition across the industry.

So if you are an experienced sports turf manager, looking to take the next step, or just starting out your career in sports turf management, then certification of your expertise from the industry peak body will be influential in taking you to the next level in your organisation or career.

2. Adds value to the Resume

There are several qualifications that sports turf managers can pursue throughout their career, commencing with the completion of a Trade Apprenticeship.  The Certified Sports Turf Manager Program is designed to support the existing education structures in place, and advance professional competence through providing platforms for continual learning and development post initial education.  Many members, and the turf industry and indeed many members of the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association have noted that there is limited recognised education structure or pathways to invest into professional development after completing education such as a Cert 3 or Diploma.  

A range of skills and knowledge for Sports turf Managers is high in demand, therefore the development of a formalised program encouraging and managing investment into further professional development provides the ability for turf managers to develop their professional development, and readily present their commitment in continual education to facilities, clubs and potential employers. 

Attaining Certification can also be extremely valuable if you plan to advance in the industry or current organisation, as it can provide evidence of professional competency and knowledge that many organisations value in employees. 

“The ASTMA Certification program is a chance to substantiate our experience and provides a national brand for turf managers.  The CSTM brand can be achieved by turf managers in all areas of turf management, which will help bring us together and raise the profile of the industry as a whole” 

Mitch Hayes (CSTM)

Brisbane Golf Club

3. Contributes to higher income

We have already seen benefits to turf managers relating to higher income after becoming Certified, with a number of members notifying the Association that their company has confirmed an increased salary now that they have attained industry professional certification.  

Indeed, a significant benefit of Certification is the potential for Sports Turf Managers to achieve an increase in salary, through promotion of their knowledge and abilities having achieved the highest level of professional industry endorsement.

Apart from the potential for higher income, Certification can also improve job security. Organisations value both the commitment to professional development and core competencies learned through certification, therefore becoming a CSTM helps you validate your importance to employers. 

4. Validates your dedication to the job

There are certain conditions needed to be eligible to undertake the Certified Sports Turf Manager Program and become industry certified.  Completion of formal education, coupled with years of experience and a range of recognised prior learning foundations are required prior to undertaking the knowledge and comprehension Assessment.  

The Certified Sports Turf Manager program has high standards, and current or potential employers understand that completion of the prior learning and industry assessment, combined with a requirement to invest into continual professional development, takes dedication to the industry, role and position.  Attaining Certification indicates that you are serious about Turf Management, about your career and your commitment to your performance, as an employee who invests in development is an asset for their organisation.  Certification symbolises your drive towards improving your professional abilities, credentials and knowledge, and assists greatly in developing endorsement across peers and the industry. 


5. Helps you learn important skills

The Sports Turf Manager Program assists turf managers track and manage their professional growth, and understand areas of development that may be required or are available.  Industry certification aids in the investment into important turf management and leadership skills to develop your career.

Certified Sports Turf Managers can manage the completion of training and skills, to master the practical application of their turf management abilities. Varying elements of the program encourage turf managers to develop processes, techniques and methodologies and maintain awareness of research, best practices and current trends in turf management. 

For those Sports Turf Managers involved in developing benchmarking, research and education – the Certification Program also supports the sharing of knowledge between peers at a State level and National level, across facilities to support and engage with the entire industry, to assist in continuing to develop and enhance the recognition of turf managers and the value of the sports turf management industry. 

“I undertook the certification process as a way to further my personal development and improve my career prospects in the future, but most importantly to gain a recognised industry certification.  I see this certification as an important step in changing the local government attitude of “anyone can mow and maintain turf” by way of elevating the sports turf management profession”

Harry Brennan (CSTM)

Dubbo City Council


6. Provides networking opportunities

After the launch of the Certified Sports Turf Manager program in late May 2020, the first 4 weeks saw over 100 turf managers submit applications for prior learning requirements and undertaking the industry certification assessment.  The following 4 weeks registered over another r100 applications to the program. 

Whilst not all of these turf managers met the prior learning requirements, and not all have passed the Assessment to date, it reflects the prominence of the Certification Program and the desire for a very large number of Sports Turf Manager to invest in their personal and professional development.   
In coming weeks/months pending COVID-19 restrictions dedicated initiatives, meetings and discussions for Certified Sports Turf Managers will be held in various locations in Australia and online for International members.  These meetings will be arranged to provide exclusive content and information, access to programs and are also arranged to help the members earn Continual Professional Development (CPD) points. 

The benefits of these networking sessions are many, and additional State based activities in conjunction with aligned State Associations and communities will further assist in helping to build professional networks. 


Is the Certification Assessment difficult?

Most people agree that the Assessment to become a Certified Sports Turf Manager is challenging.  The evaluation assesses not only the memory of the practical areas of turf management, but also covers concepts on soil and water calculations, the practical application of turf principles and explores effectiveness of regular activities undertaken by all sports turf managers across any turf facility. 

The Assessment can be taken over multiple stages, times or days to fit in with your requirements.  It is not designed to be easy.  The title of a Certified Sports Turf Manager is valued because of the prior requirements and level of skill and knowledge Certified Sports Turf Managers possess and the value and prestige of this certification lies in the standards required to achieve and maintain the certification. 

The average time taken to complete the Certification Assessment varies between 2 hours up to 4 hours, though can be completed in sections and saved, to ensure that you have the convenience and ability to complete the assessment in a time suitable to you.


Do I have to pay to become certified?

The assessment is available to members following approval of prior learning requirements and payment of one-off $195 assessment Certification administration fee.  There are no other fees association with attaining Certification.   The Certification Program is only available to Australian Sports Turf Managers Association members.  If you are not a member of the Association, we are unable to validate prior learning, communication and ensure the management and accreditation of Continual Professional Development (CPD) points for ongoing learning requirements



Whilst some areas of the Certified Sports Turf Manager are challenging, it has been designed with that purpose to ensure that those turf managers who earn the CSTM designation are the leading professionals in the industry, and assisting to help provide the recognition the industry and sports turf managers need.

Are you interested in becoming a Certified Sports Turf Manager? Further details on the Program are available here: