IA’s Certified Irrigation Technician Exam

CITs are field technicians who install, maintain, and repair irrigation systems.


To become a CIT, you must:

  • Register for the exam
  • Pass the irrigation technician exam
  • Comply with the Select Certified Code of Ethics from The Irrigation Association
  • Remain in good standing. (Gain 20 CEU hours per two-year cycle)

Course Outline

Understanding basic irrigation principles (41-46%)

  1. Sprinkler type, nozzle type and spacing
    1. Evaluate coverage are to determine sprinkler type and spacing
    2. Assess spacing relative to sprinkler type and coverage area
    3. Assess existing nozzle selection
    4. Perform maintenance and adjustments
    5. Match head and nozzle being replaced
    6. Understand relative precipitation rates
  2. Swing joint assemblies
    1. Identify assembly components
    2. Determine appropriate swing joint type
    3. Determine appropriate swing joint installation
  3. Pipe fittings and connection procedures
    1. Select proper solvents for pipe type and primers
    2. Identify type of pipe fitting
    3. Determine connection procedures based on pipe and fitting type
    4. Perform connection procedures based on pipe and fitting type
  4. Equipment and tool usage
    1. Follow manufacturer’s instructions
    2. Select appropriate equipment and/or tools for the task
    3. Maintain equipment and tools
  5. Pumps
    1. Identify pump types, components and controls
    2. Understand pump flow and pressure
    3. Demonstrate understanding of pump safety
  6. Backflow functionality
    1. Identify backflow type, function and components
    2. Identify state and local requirements
  7. Plans and as-built documentation
    1. Read scale and legend
    2. Understand specifications
  8. Water meter usage
    1. Identify appropriate meter
    2. Understand meter readings
    3. Identify leak detector on meter
  9. Job safety
    1. Identify and use appropriate safety equipment
    2. Locate utilities
    3. Follow exaction safety procedures
    4. Follow confined space entry procedures
    5. Follow MSDS guidelines
  10. Startup and winterization procedures
  11. Identify leaks
  12. Identify all water supplies
  13. Demonstrate understanding of basic soil-plant-water relationships

Understanding electrical principles: (28-32%)

  1. Voltmeter operation
    1. Test amperage or watts
    2. Test for voltage, resistance, and continuity
    3. Understand voltmeter readings
  2. Controller electrical operation
    1. Demonstrate understanding of basic controller programming
    2. Identify components
    3. Perform diagnostics procedures
    4. Perform controller functions
    5. Perform reset procedures
    6. Perform basic controller ad component replacement
  3. Transformer operation
    1. Test incoming and outing voltage
    2. Match transformer properties for replacement
  4. Solenoid operation
    1. Test resistance and incoming voltage
    2. Identify manufacturer
    3. Identify manufacturer specifications
  5. Wiring types
    1. Determine wire size and type
    2. Determine appropriate burial depth
  6. Field wiring/wire tracking/valve locating
    1. Select appropriate equipment
    2. Perform equipment setup and operational procedures
    3. Perform splicing procedures

Understanding hydraulic principles: (26-27%)

  1. Sensors
    1. Demonstrate understanding of how sensors operate
    2. Identify sensors used
    3. Perform sensor maintenance and replacement
    4. Follow manufacturer’s operating procedures
  2. Valves
    1. Demonstrate understanding of how valves operate
    2. Identify valves
    3. Perform valve installation, maintenance, troubleshooting and repair
    4. Install appropriate valve enclosure
  3. Pressure testing
    1. Determine dynamic vs. static pressure
    2. Understand pressure gauge readings
    3. Understand manufacturer’s pressure requirements
  4. Flow testing
    1. Record flow meter readings
    2. Understand manufacturer’s flow requirements
  5. Drip mechanics
    1. Determine maximum tubing length
    2. Identify filtration and pressure regulation requirements
    3. Identify emission devices
    4. Perform maintenance procedures
    5. Determine appropriate component usage
  6. Read friction loss charts

Learning Objectives

Candidates should be able to:

  • Cut and join pipe
  • Understand the limitations of different piping systems.
  • Understand basic hydraulics.
  • Lay out and install.
    • piping and water delivery components
    • backflow prevention components
    • mechanical, hydraulic and electrical irrigation controls
    • as well as other irrigation system components.
  • Troubleshoot and repair irrigation components and systems.

Suggested Prerequisites

  • Six months or 1,000 hours of irrigation-related field experience.