Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you're interested in beekeeping, you should take high school classes in business and mathematics to prepare you for the records-keeping aspect of this work. Science classes, such as natural sciences, biology, and earth science, will give you an understanding of the environment as well as processes such as pollination. If your high school offers agriculture classes, be sure to take those for added understanding of crop and animal production. Wood shop classes will also be useful if you intend to build your own hives.

Postsecondary Training

Many people learn to do this work by getting informal, on-the-job training when working with an experienced beekeeper. Community or junior colleges that offer agriculture classes may also provide another avenue for learning about honey production and bee care. Finally, some states may offer apprenticeship programs in beekeeping. To find out what agency to contact in your state regarding apprenticeships, visit the Employment and Training Administration's Web site at

Other Education or Training

The American Beekeeping Federation provides continuing education opportunities at its annual conference and trade show. Contact the federation for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Beekeeping licenses are issued at the state level, and requirements vary from state to state. Some states do not require a license at all, although almost every state requires that the commercial beekeeper register every hive.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Any experience raising honeybees for commercial purposes or as a hobby will be useful for aspiring beekeepers.

While a love of nature and the ability and desire to work alone were once among the most important characteristics for a beekeeper, many beekeepers today feel that a shrewd business sense and marketing savvy are what's most necessary to survive. Most commercial beekeepers seem to agree that the key to success as a beekeeper lies less in working with the bees than in working in the commercial business marketplace. Therefore, a good understanding of economics and basic business accounting is essential to the practice of beekeeping.

Nevertheless, beekeepers still need physical strength, endurance, and a love of the outdoors to be successful. Of course, a beekeeper will also be working with large groups of insects, so this is not a job for people with aversions to insects or allergies to bee venom.