Becoming Certified

    Certification requires advance planning and preparation. If you are unfamiliar with ISA Certification, the first step is to learn more about the certification you would like to achieve. Questions regarding certification may be addressed to ISA at 217-355-9411 or [email protected].

    Preparing for the Exam

    Each certification has an official handbook outlining requirements for the exam, topics covered, and rules pertaining to the certification. Reading the handbook is essential to performing well on the exam. The handbooks are linked under their certification here. To help you prepare for the exam, the ISA website offers study guides and reference books.

    Applying for the Exam

    You must meet certain requirements to sit for an exam. The application process includes written documentation of all training and experience necessary for the exam. The applications are linked under their certification here.

    All exams require advance registration. You must submit an application at least 12 business days before the exam date. Walk-ins are not permitted.

    Space may be limited in some exams; early registration is encouraged. Contact the ISA RMC if you have questions about a particular exam site.

    ISA will confirm receipt of your application and whether the application was approved.

    Taking the Exam

    Once you are approved for an exam, you can then choose an exam date. All written exams can be taken at any exam location. You must, however, apply for the exam you wish to take.

    You will have a limited number of minutes to complete a written exam. The skills exam for the ISA Certified Tree Worker and/or Aerial Lift Operator can often run all day depending on the number of attendees. At the time of the examination, you will be asked to read and sign the ISA Code of Ethics.

    Online Exams Are Available

    ISA also offers a computer-based exam for all credentials except Board Certified Master Arborist in select areas for an additional $100 administration fee. Online exams are not currently available in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands.

    To register for a computer-based exam, leave the examination date blank on your application. Upon approval of your application, an exam date will be assigned based on your schedule (no later than 90 days from approval). Your confirmation letter will outline all instructions.

    Note: Your online application must be sent to ISA prior to scheduling an online exam. The testing vendor does not schedule exams directly.

    More questions? View the ISA Exam FAQ here.

    Become Certified

    Taking an ISA Certification Exam is a great goal that will help you advance your career in the arboriculture industry. We highly encourage you to take a few moments to review the materials for Certification. Here, you will discover more about how to prepare for the exam and how the application process works.

    Certification Application Handbooks

    Before you get started, please take a moment to read the appropriate handbook for more detailed information about the requirements for each ISA Certification.

    Submitting Your Application

    Once you have decided which ISA Certification you would like to pursue, you will need to fill out an application. You may complete and submit your application online or you may print it out and submit it by FAX or mail to the International office. Please be sure to include all required fees and supporting documents at the time of submittal to ensure that your application can be processed in a timely manner. Examples of supporting documents include reference letters and verification of First Aid, CPR, Aerial Rescue or Tree Worker Skills Exam Waiver Form.

    Online Applications

    Testing Options

    Certification exams are available by paper-based exams offered by a chapter or affiliated organization, or computer-based exams administered at a Pearson VUE testing facility.

    Paper-Based Exams

    Paper-based exams are offered by the Rocky Mountain Chapter quarterly or are scheduled upon request, pending availability of the local proctors. The exams are administered via paper and pencil. To sign up for an exam please review our list of upcoming exams and contact the International office directly to complete an application form and enroll at 1-888-ISA-TREE.

    Computer-Based Exams

    Computer-based exams allow the convenience of scheduling the Certification Exam around your schedule and may help avoid you having to drive long distances to a paper-based exam site in your area. If you choose to test at a Pearson VUE testing facility, you determine your own test date and location. Computer-based exams require an additional administrative fee, but you receive your results immediately after you complete the exam, as opposed to waiting 4-6 weeks for your results from a paper-based exam. For more information about computer based exams, please visit the International website at