FAQs

Contents

 

General

What is an arborist?

Who should I contact about a tree that’s about to fall over?

I have information about an event or product that I think would be of interest to ISA Ontario members. Will you share it with your members?

How do I volunteer with ISA Ontario?

Becoming a Certified Arborist

How do I become an arborist in Ontario?

How do I become a certified arborist?

What advice to you have for someone applying to become a Certified Arborist?

I have more questions about becoming a certified arborist

Do I need to schedule my computer-based exam before I send in my candidate application?

Once a person has submitted an application and been approved to take the ISA Certified Arborist exam, how long do they have to write it?

Is there an ebook or pdf version of the arborists certification study guide?

Maintaining your qualifications

How do I get or renew my TRAQ certification?

If I’m TPAQ, qualified, do I have to use the Guide to Plant Appraisal 10th Edition?

The TRAQ course is full. Can you put me on the waiting list?

TRAQ vs. Municipal Specialist: Which credential should I get first?

How can I get some CEUs as soon as possible?

I’m a Certified Arborist and a Certified Tree Worker looking for recertification. Do I have to get 30 + 15 CEUs or is it just 30 for Certified Arborist, and Certified Tree Worker CEUs count towards that?

ISA Ontario membership

What are the benefits of ISA Ontario membership?

Do you offer seniors’ discounts?

 

General

 

What is an arborist?

 

This is not easily answered or defined. In general, an arborist is engaged in the profession of arboriculture, which is the art, science, and business of caring for woody plants.

However, being an arborist can mean so many different things in different organizations due to the skill set required. There are utility arborists, commercial arborists, and many more! Therefore, ISA Ontario does not provide an official definition of “arborist.” Anyone seeking an arborist must come up with their own parameters of what they mean by “arborist,” according to their own needs.

A dead tree on greenspace outside our property boundary is leaning dangerously toward our house and may come down in a storm. What should I do?

 

You need to contact your local municipal offices. Alternatively, call the non-emergency service line at 311 and tell them there is a tree near the border of your property, on municipal land, that you are worried as you feel it is an imminent threat, and they NEED to send someone immediately to look at it. They will need the address.

If your tree is on your neighbour’s property, please open a dialogue WITH you neighbour about your concerns.  Document all conversations.    It is important that you work WITH your neighbours.   An ISA certified arborist will NOT trespass onto someone else’s property to deal with a tree that does NOT belong to you.   They will, however, work with you to make the tree safe, within the confines of the law.  If open communication with your neighbour fails, and you feel the tree is an imminent threat, contact your municipality or 311.

I have information about an event or product that I think would be of interest to ISA Ontario members. Will you share it with your members?

 

If your organization is a nonprofit, we will gladly add your event to our events calendar.

Have a Facebook or Twitter post up? Let us know and we’ll share or retweet it (nonprofits only).

I would like to volunteer with ISA Ontario. What are the next steps?

 

Thank you! Our committees are composed of volunteers. Is there a particular committee on the list that interests you?

If you’re interested in joining a committee, please email [email protected] and tell us which areas you’re interested in and what relevant experience you have (such as in writing, photography, governance and policy, etc.), and we’ll forward your message to the committee chair.

Also, please go and fill our out Volunteer application form:  https://isaontario.com/otcc/volunteer-registration/

Aside from that, we welcome submissions of articles and photos for our Ontario Arborist magazine.  Please send possible photo submissions to:  [email protected]

Becoming a Certified Arborist

 

How do I become an arborist in Ontario?

Arboriculture is a non-regulated trade. It is easy to call yourself an Arborist, but what clients are really looking for is proof that an Arborist has enough knowledge and competency to pass either the ISA Certified Arborist Exam or the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities Qualified Arborist Exam. Both of these exams require a set amount of time in the field (3+ years ) and an in-depth test.

Many Ontario colleges offer arboriculture programs (see the list below), which will give you a solid foundation in arboriculture training that most employers will recognize.

There are many paths into arboriculture; some people will choose to begin their arboriculture career by being signed on as a groundworker, with no formal training, and learning on the job. Some employers are willing to hire new people on this basis, so long as they are hard working, with a good work ethic, eager to learn and have a keen eye for safety, among other qualities. Visit our jobs board to explore who’s hiring.

Programs and apprenticeships:

Algonquin College
Pembroke Campus
1 College Way
Pembroke, ON
K8A 0C8
Urban Forestry – Arboriculture

Career Foundation / ISAO / OCAA Partnership
700 Lawrence Avenue West
Toronto, ON
M6A 3B4
Arborist Ground Worker Training Program

Humber College
North Campus
205 Humber College Blvd
Toronto, ON
M9W 5L7
Urban Arboriculture – Tree Care
Arborist Apprenticeship

Sir Sanford Fleming College
Frost Campus
200 Albert St. S
Lindsay, ON
K9V 5E6
Arboriculture Co-op
Urban Forestry
Urban Forestry Co-op

University of Toronto
Faculty of Forestry
33 Willcocks Street
Toronto, ON
M5S 3E8
Forestry

Lakehead University
Faculty of Natural Resources Management
955 Oliver Road
Thunder Bay, ON
P7B 5E1
Forestry

How do I become a certified arborist?

 

To learn more about becoming a certified arborist, check out the following:

ISA Certified Arborist Application Guide (last updated 2019)
ISA Certified Arborist Exam outline (last updated 2017)
Summary of prerequisites (last updated 2017)

The ISA Certification Board requires a candidate to have a minimum of three years of full-time experience in arboriculture. Acceptable experience includes the practical use of knowledge involved in pruning, fertilization, installation and establishment, diagnosis and treatment of tree problems, cabling and bracing, climbing, or other services that directly relate to arboriculture.

Examples of experience sources include, but are not limited to:

● tree care companies
● nurseries
● landscape companies
● municipalities
● state forestry agencies
● utility companies
● academic arboriculture/horticulture departments.

Documentation of work experience is required with submittal of your application. Letter(s) of reference from your current or previous Employer(s) is acceptable. Applicable volunteer work may count towards eligibility if it is supervised and documentation can be supplied.

The eligibility requirement may also be satisfied with a two-year degree in arboriculture and two years of practical experience or a four-year degree in a related field and one year of practical experience. Multiple degrees cannot be utilized to equal degree requirements for a longer program. Educational experience must be a completed Degree program and include a transcript with the application.

If you are self-employed or own your own company, you will be required to submit three letters of reference with your application. References may be in the form of copies of invoices, T4s, contracts, and/or business licenses. Please contact ISA for other possible forms of verification.

What advice do you have for someone applying to become a Certified Arborist?

 

Before you hand in your application, you need to get all your ducks in a row. Get your transcripts with all the course details that you can get, as it relates to trees, or soils or anything to do with trees OR if you look at the CA exam outline, anything to do with that. Collect any job references, pay stubs, or anything that proves that you were in the tree care industry as it relates to trees (even if you were working in landscaping, or just planting trees, have any employers attest to and sign off on this in a letter).

You could also go online and get anything regarding your university/college education. For example, if it’s the UofT Forestry Program, print information about that. If you can find any world rankings to highlight what a great program it is, print those.

Anything that you feel is relevant in your history, SEND IT… ALL of it. If you have a 200-page thesis, SEND IT. Get your thesis advisor to write a letter. Print your thesis advisor’s details off the internet for ISA to see. Anything relevant is important; you want to make it easy for them to say “YES”.

You get the point: leave no stone unturned!

More Q&As about becoming a certified arborist

 

I am looking to add the ISA certification to my resume, and have studied the ISA books and feel confident that I can pass the exam. Do I need to be a member of ISA to write the exam? If not, can I just book an exam for a given date at a correspondence location close to me? If not a member, will I still be considered certified under the ISA program? Is there any difference being certified in Canada considering that the program seems to be oriented within the US?

No, you don’t need to be a member of ISA to write the exam. That said, there is a significant discount on the exam IF you are a member, and it makes writing the exam easily worth the cost of membership. The way it’s structured, it’s worth your money to join ISA as a member to write the exam, then you need to join a Chapter to get the discounts to get your CEUs to maintain your membership (30 every 3 years). So it’s well worth joining your Chapter AND the ISA.

The first process is to apply to ISA and get the approval to write the exam.

If you choose to test at a Pearson VUE testing facility, you determine your own test date and location. IF you are wanting to write a paper/pencil-based exam, then you would need to coordinate with your local Chapter for their next sitting. There is a deadline to register for pencil/paper-based exams; there is no deadline date for computer-based exams; you write at the place and time that is convenient to you.

You will be notified when your application is received and approved. After your application is approved, you will receive instructions via email on how to schedule a date and time with the computer-based testing vendor. The vendor will then send you a confirmation including the location, date, and time of the exam. You are provided a 90-day authorization period to schedule and take the exam.

To be clear, it’s only a 90-day window, so timing is crucial. If you need to reschedule an exam date within your current 90-day authorization period with the computer-based testing vendor, you may do so no later than one business day prior to the scheduled exam date. If contact is less than one business day, you will be considered a no-show and all exam fees will be forfeited. Registrations are not transferrable to another person. If you need to reschedule the exam, you may do so by contacting Pearson VUE via phone or through their website. There are additional fees associated with changing exam dates; please contact ISA directly.

You can leave the date, time and place section of the application empty, IF you are planning on taking a computer based test. Please make sure that you are pretty much ready to sit the exam when you apply through ISA to write. It’s only 90 days. We’ve had people apply and then not start studying, and it ends up being a big CRAM, and they are not ready come the end of the 90 days. It gets expensive to pay to keep the window open. Also, when you apply to ISA, include any work experience where you have EVER worked with trees. Better to include too much information than with not enough. If you have transcripts from College / University, that include course descriptions, include those. It can be a pain to get those from the institutions, but ISA does not know your school, so better to give those in advance than to have your school courses rejected. ISA will NOT seek out that information for you.

You do not need to be a member of ISA to be considered certified. There are numerous advantages to being a member, but you do not need to me a member to be certified.

No, there is no difference to being certified in the US or Canada. ISA certification is recognized internationally.  Ontario’s  qualification is offered by the Ontario College of Trades – an Ontario Qualified Arborist. This is an journeyman/apprenticeship qualification.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the ISA Ontario office. However, contacting ISA International directly is often the best course, as they administer the exams and are, therefore, the experts on the application process. They can be reached by phone at 1.217.355.9411 OR email at [email protected]

Do I need to schedule my computer-based exam before I send in my candidate application?

I live in Ontario, and I am in the process of putting together a ‘candidate application’ which, when complete, I will send to the ISA at PO Box 3129, Champaign, Illinois. I want to take the (computer-based) exam in a few months time, thus giving me a few months in which to study. I am not (yet) a member of either the US-based ISA or the ISA Ontario chapter.

My question to you though, please, is this: I gather that people wanting to take the computer-based ISA Certified Arborist exam need to liaise with a local ISA chapter (in my case, yourselves at ISA Ontario) in order to arrange a time and a place for the exam. Do I then need to a) arrange a date and time that’s convenient for both of us and then b) include that information with my candidate application to the ISA in Illinois?

If this is not how the process is meant to go I’d be grateful if you could advise me.

Many thanks for your inquiry.

No, we don’t need to be involved in the computer based exam. If you choose to test at a Pearson VUE testing facility, you determine your own test date and location. IF you are wanting to write a paper/pencil based exam, then you would need to coordinate with us for our next sitting. We usually only host one sitting each year, at our annual conference in February. There is a deadline for pencil/paper based exams; there is no deadline date for computer-based exams; you write at the place and time that is convenient to you.

You will be notified when your application is received and approved. After your application is approved, you will receive instructions via email on how to schedule a date and time with the computer-based testing vendor. The vendor will then send you a confirmation including the location, date, and time of the exam. You are provided a 90-day authorization period to schedule and take the exam.

To be clear, it’s only a 90-day window, so timing is crucial. If you need to reschedule an exam date within your current 90 -day authorization period with the computer-based testing vendor, you may do so no later than one business day prior to the scheduled exam date. If contact is less than one business day, you will be considered a no-show and all exam fees will be forfeited. Registrations are not transferrable to another person. If you need to reschedule the exam, you may do so by contacting Pearson VUE via phone or through their website, www.pearsonvue.com/isa/contact/. There are additional fees associated with changing exam dates; please contact ISA directly.

You can leave the date, time and place section of the application empty, IF you are planning on taking a computer based test.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact ISA Ontario at [email protected] However, contacting ISA International directly, is the best course, as they administer the exams and are, therefore, the experts on the application process. They can be reached at 1.217.355.9411 OR email at [email protected]

Once a person has submitted an application and been approved to take the ISA Certified Arborist exam, how long do they have to write it?

 

They have 90 days. The 90-day period starts once the payment is processed and ISA enrolls the individual. That individual then receives a confirmation notice that specifies exactly what the end date is of that 90-day period.

Is there an ebook or pdf version of the arborists certification study guide?

 

At this time, ISA International only provides a hard copy of the manual/study guide.

If you are interested in ordering the Certified Arborist Study Guide, please contact Kathleen at 1-888-463-2316 or [email protected] She can give you the current Canadian price for the Study Guide, including shipping.

Maintaining and expanding your credentials

 

How do I get or renew my TRAQ certification?

 

Visit our TRAQ page to view upcoming TRAQ courses and sign up online!

The TRAQ course is full. Can you put me on the waiting list?

 

Unfortunately, TRAQ signups are first come, first served. Due to the ISA International policy, we cannot change or add anyone after the registration deadline has passed. We need at least four weeks to send out study information to the participants.

Please contact the Chapter office, to find out when the next TRAQ course nearest you, is.   [email protected]

I’m interested in both the TRAQ and Municipal Specialist certifications, but there’s a big price difference. Which one would be more useful, career-wise?

 

TRAQ is more geared towards teaching a method of assessment and recording those assessments in a report. The Municipal Specialist course covers a lot of the inner workings of municipal tree care departments, such as tree planting, road reconstruction, and budgeting.

We recommend getting your TRAQ credential first, and then once you have it, do the Municipal Arborist course to enhance your understanding of contract writing and administration as well as budgeting and the different levels of government.

 

If I’m TPAQ qualified am I bound to use the Guide for Plant Appraisal 10th edition? If I’m appraising AND qualified, do I have to use the book, or can any method of qualification be used, as long as it’s defendable?

 

The qualification does not force a person to adhere to that methodology. It could be challenged by an opposing party depending on the circumstances.

How can I get some CEUs as soon as possible?

 

If you need ISA credit ASAP, check out the videos by Urban Forestry Today webcast series. They have 2-3 dozen archives of live monthly urban forestry today webcasts and they all still award CEUs.

You can also LIKE our Facebook page, to stay abreast of other free CEU workshops.   If you are expiring immediately, you can contact ISA to find out about paying to extend your deadline.  They can be reached at 1.217.355.9411 OR email at [email protected]

I’m a Certified Arborist and a Certified Tree Worker looking for recertification. Do I have to get 30 + 15 CEUs or is it just 30 for Certified Arborist, and Certified Tree Worker CEUs count towards that?

 

For recertification, you will have to get 30 + 15 CEUs every 3 years, so 45 total. If you have Municipal as well, you will need 60 CEUs.

ISA Ontario membership

 

What are the benefits of ISA Ontario membership?

 

Networking
Membership in ISA Ontario provides you with opportunities for personal and professional growth and connects you to other professionals with similar needs, career goals, and interest in advancing the arboricultural profession.

Discounts
Save on ISA Ontario workshops, credentials, and our annual conference with valuable member-only discounts.  We also offer a members benefit package which helps you save thousands of dollars on everything from trucks to clothing to hotel stays.

Ontario Arborist magazine
Keep up with the latest news in arboriculture with a print subscription to our magazine, Ontario Arborist.

Do you offer seniors discounts?

 

ISA Ontario does not offer any seniors discounts on memberships, but we do offer member discounts on workshops and events. To receive a discount on workshops and events, you can be (A) a member of ISA & ISAO; (B) a member of ISA only, or (C) a member of ISAO only.

ISA (International) offers senior memberships at US$70 (regular price US$135). To purchase, you must submit a letter or email stating that you meet the minimum age of 62, are retired or working less than 15 hours a week and have been a member in good standing for 10 years.