ISA credentials help consumers identify qualified, knowledgeable tree care professionals. The tree care profession has experienced rapid growth over the past decade and there is a significant amount of knowledge required to perform at the highest level.
Earning a credential is a voluntary activity, but it demonstrates that you have the proper knowledge and skills, as well as a high level of dedication to your profession and your community. Certifications, sometimes more than price, can be the deciding factor when multiple individuals bid on the same job.
6 types of ISA Certifications
Pursuing an ISA Certification is a worthy goal that will help you advance your career in the arboriculture industry. There is a special exam for each of these types of ISA Certifications:
ISA Certified Arborist®
To earn an ISA Certified Arborist® credential, you must be trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of arboriculture. ISA Certified Arborists® have met all requirements to be eligible for the exam, which includes three or more years of full-time, eligible, practical work experience in arboriculture and/or a degree in the field of arboriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture, or forestry from a regionally accredited educational institute. This certification covers a large number of topics, giving the candidates flexibility in the arboricultural profession. A code of ethics for ISA Certified Arborists® strengthens the credibility and reliability of the work force. This certification is accredited by the American National Standards Institute, meeting and exceeding ISO 17024.
ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist™
An ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist™ has a minimum of 2000 hours experience over two years in electric utility vegetation management or has served as a consultant to a utility, with a minimum of 4,000 hours over a maximum 10-year period. The candidate must work in utility vegetation management. They have been tested on topics such as electric utility pruning, program management, integrated vegetation management, electrical knowledge, customer relations, and storm response. 6 Utility CEUs + 30 Arborist CEUs.
ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist®
ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist® credential holders are current ISA Certified Arborists® who have chosen municipal arboriculture or urban forestry as a career path. They have obtained a minimum of three additional years of work experience managing the establishment and maintenance of urban trees. Experience requirements include communication skills, public relations, administration, risk management, arboricultural practices, and policy planning in a municipal setting. 12 Municipal CEUs + 30 Arborist CEUs.
ISA Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist®
To be an ISA Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist®, candidates must have the skill and endurance to climb trees, demonstrate high regard for safety, and be able to get the job done off the ground. This credential is different from the other certifications because you are tested in both a classroom setting and a field setting. Candidates must have training in aerial rescue, CPR, and First Aid to obtain this certification.
ISA Certified Tree Worker Aerial Lift Specialist®
The ISA Certified Tree Worker Aerial Lift Specialist® certification requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to perform as a competent aerial lift operator. The knowledge gained with this certification can improve the productivity, quality of care, and safety practices of those who earn the credential. Along with proven knowledge of CPR and first aid, candidates have been tested on safety procedures, and must be able to complete thorough truck and tree inspection.
ISA Board Certified Master Arborist®
The ISA Board Certified Master Arborist® credential is the highest level of certification offered by ISA. This credential recognizes ISA Certified Arborists® who have reached the pinnacle of their profession. In addition to passing an extensive scenario-based exam, candidates must abide by a Code of Ethics, which ensures quality of work. Fewer than two percent of all ISA Certified Arborists® currently hold this certification. 20 CEUs in Science, Practice, and Management.
CEUs can be earned by completing selected conferences, workshops, and seminars presented by ISA and WAA. Here are some of the ways to earn CEUs.
Resources to help prepare you for the exam