How to Become a Certified Arborist


The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist certificate is designed for professional arborists who must prove to public officials and individuals that they have a certain level of expertise in their field. To obtain the certificate, an arborist must take and pass an exam developed by the nation's leading tree experts that covers all aspects of tree care, including soil knowledge, tree care, biology and safety hazards. To maintain certification, ISA Certified Arborists attend continuing education courses on a regular basis.

Things You'll Need

  • Exam study guides
  • Register for the ISA Certified Arborist exam online. Look up exam dates and locations in your area. Give yourself plenty of time to study for this exam, as it is considered rigorous. The cost depends on whether you are a member of the ISA and which type of exam you want to take.

  • Buy study guides that outline and explain what you need to know to pass the ISA Certified Arborist exam. There are many different types of study guides available online, from tapes and DVDs to traditional books and practice tests.

  • Study the sections of the exam on which you are weakest. You will need to know soil composition, tree biology and care, safety, and tree maintenance, among other topics. The study guides have quizzes that you can take to test your knowledge.

  • Take the exam with confidence that you developed through taking multiple quizzes. There are 200 multiple-choice questions, and you must answer 72 percent of them correctly. If you pass, you receive a decal, certificate and ID card. Plus, you have the designation of ISA Certified Arborist to put on your resume. If you do not pass, you can retake the exam for free only once per year.

Tips & Warnings

  • Study for at least one month prior to taking the exam. There are many topics covered.
  • If you fail the exam twice, you will have to pay between $75 and $100 per retake.

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