Arborist Credentials

The below certifications were established by the ISA (International Society of Arboriculture)  or ASCA (American Society of Consulting Arborists) to establish consistency and quality in the arboricultural profession. These credentials ensure that the arborist has an acceptable level of knowledge in the field, and that they are aware of certain standards of safety. It also confirms that arborists continue to educate themselves with the latest science available regarding tree care. 

Arborist has at least 18 months experience as a professional climber performing tree care, including pruning, renewal, cabling and safety. Continued Education required for recertification every 3 years.

Arborist has at least 3 years experience in tree care industry and has passed an exam demonstrating knowledge in all areas of arboriculture. Continued Education required for recertification every 3 years.

These ISA Certified Arborists have additional experience in the specialty area of urban trees. The municipal specialists work for cities and states, parks, contractors or consultants; utility specialists work for utility companies, their contractors or consultants. A professionally developed exam and education program demonstrates that these arborists have a thorough knowledge of establishing and maintaining trees in a community (Municipal Specialist) or line clearance vegetation management (Utility Specialist). Continued Education required for recertification every 3 years.

This qualification is obtained once they complete a two-day training course and pass an exam specific to conducting formal tree risk assessments in urban and urban/rural interface areas. Arborists must already be either an ISA Certified Arborist or a Certified Forester. Renewal required every 5 years.

This is the highest certification awarded by ISA. This arborist will have passed an exam exhibiting knowledge in all aspects of arboriculture, including the physiology, tree management, and the common pests and diseases of trees in the region. Continued Education required for recertification every 3 years.

Member has a minimum of 5 years experience as an arborist as well as an advanced education, such as a 4-year degree in an arboricultural field or continued education units equivalent to the degree. They must vow to follow the Standards of Professional Practice as denoted by ASCA. Continued Education required for renewal every year.

This is the highest certification a consulting arborist can earn; RCAs are considered experts of the field. They have completed ASCA’s Consulting Academy and must have extensive technical experience in landscape planning and development, tree preservation, hazard tree assessment, legal matters, tree appraisal and damage assessment. They must meet and maintain requirements for membership in ASCA, including Continuing Education requirements. They must also demonstrate extensive report writing competence and pass a qualifying exam. There are currently only 5 arborists in the State of Washington with this designation.