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Since the establishment of the ISA certification program in 1992, more than 30,000 people have earned an ISA certification credential. The ISA Certification program offers six credentials that take you from the ground to the canopy and anywhere in between.

Certification is handled through ISA INTERNATIONAL (NOT the Chapters).  All questions and registrations should be directed to them at email:  [email protected] or phone 1-888-472-8733

Benefits of Obtaining an ISA Credential
The tree care profession has experienced rapid growth over the past fifteen years, 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.  Ontario Municipalities are now starting to recognize the value in hiring ISA certified professionals, and asking for those credentials specifically on tendered contracts. ISA Certified Arborists understand the importance of continuing education and how it helps to make the world a better place, one tree at a time.

For complete details on the ISA certification program, browse through the ISA international website.

What is the difference between an ISA Certification and an ISA Qualification?
The ISA Certification Program has existed for many years successfully meeting the demands of a growing market and the needs of the profession for advanced certificate- based programs.  For this reason ISA has expanded its training and credentialing opportunities to include qualifications.

ISA describes it best:

What is a Certification:
A Certification is a voluntary program administered by a non-governmental organization. It grants the use of a credential to individuals for a specific period of time. The Certification is available to those who meet predetermined and standardized criteria for knowledge, skills, or competencies. The knowledge needed to pass a Certification assessment is learned through self-study and experience. The assessment is conducted independent of a specific class, course, or other training program. To retain the credential, certificants must meet requirements for renewal.

What is a Qualification:
A Qualification is awarded for achievement of a narrow body of knowledge with very specific learning objectives. This type of program often takes the form of a classroom learning experience followed by an assessment to determine if the desired learning goals and objectives for the training have been met. Qualifications have no recertification component. They are either valid for life or they require that the classroom learning experience and assessment be repeated for renewal.

ISA has 6 Certifications:  Certified Arborist, Certified Arborist Utility Specialist,  Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist, Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist, Certified Tree Worker Aerial Lift Specialist, Board Certified Master Arborist
AND 1 Qualification:  Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ).

4.2 ISA Certifications

More information regarding Certifications, can be found on the ISA International website.   Link to the ISA website for scheduled exam dates & locations.

1. Certified Arborist

To earn an ISA Certified Arborist credential one must full one of the following three eligibility options:

DOWNLOAD the Certified Application Handbook

2. Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist:

This certification is for climbers who specialize in climbing work . Candidates must have the skill and endurance to climb trees, demonstrate a high regard for safety, and be able to get the job done off the ground. They must have:

● 18 months climbing experience in arboriculture;
● Training in aerial rescue, CPR, first aid;
● Apply for and pass a 65-multiple choice exam and skills exam.

DOWNLOAD the Application Handbook

 3. Certified Tree Worker Aerial Lift Specialist

This certification is for tree workers who specialize in aerial lift work. This certification requires candidates to demonstrate their proficiencies in aerial lift operation. Candidates must also:

● Have 18 months of arboricultural experience with at least 6 of those 18-months in the operation of an aerial lift device;
● Training in aerial rescue, CPR, first aid;
● for and pass a 65-multiple choice exam and skills exam.

DOWNLOAD the Application Handbook

4. Certified Arborist Utility Specialist

This certification is for ISA Certified Arborists in good standing, who are currently working in utility vegetation management. Candidates must also have:

● A minimum of 2,000 hours experience over two years in electric utility vegetation management OR;
● Full-time employment as an electric utility arborist, forester, or vegetation manager, with a minimum of 36 cumulative months during the last 10 years; OR
● Have served as a consultant to a utility, with a minimum of 36 cumulative months during the last 10 years.

DOWNLOAD the Application Handbook

5. Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist

This certification is for current ISA Certified Arborists who have chosen municipal arboriculture or urban forestry as a career path.

● A minimum of 3 additional years of work experience managing the establishment and maintenance of urban trees;
● Apply for and pass a 115-multiple-choice question exam.

DOWNLOAD the Application Handbook

6. Board Certified Master Arborist:

The ISA Board Certified Master Arborist credential is the highest level of certification offered by ISA.

Download the Application Handbook and find out more information.

DOWNLOAD the Application Handbook

Computer-Based Exams

ISA offers the convenience of taking some of the credentialing exams, online, at a Pearson VUE testing facility (various locations in Ontario). You determine your own test date and location. Computer-based exams require an additional administrative fee, but you receive your results immediately. You must first submit your application to ISA and receive approval BEFORE contacting Pearson VUE.

4.3 ISA Qualifications

Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ)
ISA offers the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) as an instructor-led credential that demonstrates professional knowledge in tree risk assessment through participation in a training course and passing its accompanying exam. The TRAQ qualification promotes the safety of people and property by providing a standardized and systematic process for assessing tree risk. The results of a tree risk assessment can provide tree owners and risk managers with the knowledge to make informed decisions about tree benefits, health and longevity.
ISA Ontario offers many TRAQ courses annually, all over Ontario. To be eligible to register for the course and to take the exam, you must have earned one of the following credentials:

● ISA Certified Arborist® or ISA Board Certified Master Arborist®;
● ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified;
● A degree in arboriculture, urban forestry, traditional forestry, or horticulture that is part of a national qualifications framework or is from a college or university;
● A national certification or certificate in arboriculture (see a complete list in the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification Application Guide);
● ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist (RCA) status;
● Licensing or Certification from an approved state/province program (see a complete list in the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification Application Guide);
● SAF Certified Forester.

Renewing your TRAQ

The requalification is a one-day refresher, with five hours of instruction, and a three hour exam. Current TRAQ holders can complete the abbreviated course 18-months prior to their expiration date. Upon passing the requalification exam, the expiration date will be adjusted to coincide with the 5- years from the original expiration date. This means, that if one passes the renewal exam 4-years into their credential, they will have 6-years until it expires.  An extension to the expiration date will not be granted or be available for purchase. If the exam is not passed prior to your renewal date the full course will be required to become qualified again.

4.4 CEUs

All ISA Certifications are valid for three years. To maintain your certification, you must earn a minimum number of ISA Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by the end of the 3-year period and pay a recertification fee. Or, you can retake and pass the exam. The number of CEUs required depends upon the credential you hold:

● ISA Certified Arborist: 30 CEUs
● ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist: 6 Utility CEUs + 30 Arborist CEUs = 36 total
● ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist: 12 Municipal CEUs + 30 Arborist CEUs = 42 total
● ISA Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist: 15 CEUs
● ISA Certified Tree Worker Aerial Lift Specialist: 15 CEUs
● ISA Board Certified Master Arborist: 60 CEUs; 20 each in Science, Practice, and Management
● The TRAQ credential is valid for five (5) years from the date it is earned. A credential holder is required to take the TRAQ Renewal Course and pass the exam every five (5) years in order to renew the credential. No CEUs are needed to maintain this qualification. However, ISA certification holders will be offered 14.5 CEUs for attending the full course and 5 CEUs for attending the Renewal Course.

Pre- and Post-Approval of CEUs

If you have a program for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and would like us to review it, please use the form below. Please email the completed form to [email protected] or fax to the ISAO office at 1-855-329-4726.

Please note: All CEU requests MUST be made at least 30 days in advance of the course date. If there is insufficient time to process the form, you must apply directly to the ISA for CEU post-approval.

ISA CEU Pre-Approval Form

Alternate link: ISA certification pre-approval form

CEU Post-Approval

Find out more about POST- APPROVAL on the ISA website.

Your ISA Ontario Certification Liaisons:

● Mandy Vandenberg;
● Steve Robinson

Please email them with your questions / concerns at [email protected], re line: Certification inquiry.