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. ISA credentials help consumers identify qualified, knowledgeable tree care professionals.
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. ISA Certified Arborists understand the importance of continued education and how it helps to make the world be a better place, one tree at a time.
The Value of an ISA Credential
ISA credentials are valued and trusted because they let consumers know that you possess a high degree of knowledge about caring for and maintaining trees. When developing an exam, a panel of subject matter experts from around the world completes a job task analysis, and then writes an exam that encompasses the defined skills. ISA credentials build expert knowledge and reflect the professional skills sought by leaders from the public and private sectors, including training, academia and government organizations.
Benefits of Certification
Earning an ISA credential has many benefits. A few of the major benefits are listed below.
- Certification builds an individual’s self-image. By studying for and passing the exam, individuals reaffirm to themselves and their peers a thorough knowledge and dedication to arboriculture.
- Certification affords the public and those in government the opportunity to make an informed selection of services based on the knowledge and advanced training demonstrated by an ISA Certification.
- The process of becoming ISA Certified and maintaining the designation provides incentives to the individual to continue his or her ongoing professional development.
- Certification is a tool to help employers in both training their personnel and selecting new employees.
- Holding an ISA credential can lead to an increase in income and promote new opportunities in professional advancement.
- Certification is a tool used to set oneself apart from the competition and gain a competitive edge in today’s economy.
- Certifications, sometime more than price, can be a deciding factor when multiple individuals bid for the same job. If you want the job done right, hire the right people!
Explanation of Each of the ISA Credentials
There are six ISA credentials, each of which is earned by passing a different exam. The explanations below identify the different credentials and the basic requirements for each.
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 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 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.
Learn more about ISA Certification and Credentials by viewing the exam study materials or downloading the ISA Certification Handbooks with detailed information about each of the six credentials.