For Arborists

ISA Certification and Credentials

There are six ISA certification credentials, each of which is earned by passing a different exam. To find out when an exam is given in your area, click here. The explanations below identify the different credentials and the basic requirements for each.

ISA commits itself to impartiality in its certification activities. ISA understands how critical impartiality is to carrying out its certification activities. ISA manages conflict of interest and ensures the objectivity of all certification activities. All persons involved in certification activities including Headquarters staff and member volunteers accomplish this through compliance to ISA’s structure, policies and procedures related to certification activities.

ISA Certified Arborist®

To earn an ISA Certified Arborist® credential, you must be trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of arboriculture. ISA Certified Arborist® 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.

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.

ISA Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist®

To be a 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.  Fewer than two percent of all ISA Certified Arborists® currently hold this certification.

Learn More

Learn more about ISA Certification and Credentials by viewing the exam study materials.

Reprinted from the International Society for Arboriculture

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