Certification in arboriculture requires an associate or bachelor’s degree in arboriculture, one to three years of practical work experience in arboriculture or a related field, and a credential exam from the International Society of Arboriculture. The ISA offers six official certifications.
For starters, a high school diploma suffices, although most employers prefer degree-level education from a regionally accredited educational institution. The degree field covers arboriculture, horticulture, forestry or related fields. This, coupled with experience, sets the foundation and requirements for the certification. The ISA awards a certificate after a successful undertaking of the certification exam. The highest certification available from the ISA is the ISA board-certified Master Arborist, the highest pinnacle of achievement in the field.
Arborists provide professional attendance to trees and shrubs for decoration and safety, diagnosis and treatment of diseased trees, and pesticide application. The six available certifications equip professionals with innate expertise and the knowledge necessary for attending to their subcategory of arboriculture for career advancement. Other than the official ISA arborists’ certification, other forms of certification exist for utility specialists, aerial lift specialist and municipal specialists, amongst others. However, all certifications are renewable every three years. For renewal, individuals sit for 30 continuing education units and tests, all at a fee.