Tree Trimming Certification, Training Programs and Classes

Tree trimming requires proper certification and training, administered through designated organizations across the nation. To become a professional arborist also requires passing exams, after taking classes or training programs.

Tree Trimming Training Programs and Classes

Tree trimming programs and classes prepare students for certification or certification renewal. Topics covered include defects and decline in trees, basic tree pruning and tree trimmer safety. Students have the option of earning a certificate or an associate's degree in arboriculture. They can learn about pruning and caring for trees, tree climbing and principles of urban forestry.

Students can also enroll in a tree pruning course, which covers topics such as thinning, plant and tool sanitation, cleaning and reduction pruning. Students can also get the chance to participate in outdoor activities that provide hands-on experience. Another option for students is to enroll in a horticulture certificate program, which can assist students in preparing for arboriculture certification exams.

Types of Tree Trimming Certifications

There are many types of tree trimming certifications, including Tree Trimmer I, Tree Trimmer II and Certified Tree Safety Professional (CTSP), which are available through organizations across the country.

Tree Care Industry Association Certifications

The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) offers the CTSP designation. Individuals interested in becoming a CTSP must fulfill the prerequisites, which give options for accumulating field experience in tree care and safety or earning a degree and completing an internship in arboriculture, ornamental horticulture or a related discipline.

Candidates must also pass the Safety Fundamentals examination and attend a mandatory workshop that covers topics such as safety management and lets students engage in group exercises, role playing and skills demonstrations. CTSP professionals are expected to maintain their certification, which can be achieved by accumulating 30 continuing education units every three years.

International Society of Arboriculture Certifications and Examination Information

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certification exam content varies by designation. Options for designations include the following:

  • ISA Certified Arborist
  • ISA Certified Utility Specialist
  • ISA Certified Municipal Specialist
  • ISA Certified Climber Specialist
  • ISA Certified Aerial Lift Specialist
  • ISA Board Certified Master Arborist

For example, the certified arborist exam might include topics such as tree biology, urban forestry, pruning, diagnosis and soil management. Exam content for the utility specialist exam may include topics such as electric utility pruning, storm response, electrical knowledge, customer relations and integrated vegetation management.

Interested candidates can complete a paper-based or computer-based exam. The paper-based exam is taken at a predetermined time and location, and exam results are received in 4-6 weeks. The computer-based exam lets students choose their own date and location, but they are required to pay an additional administrative fee. Students completing the computer-based exam receive their test results immediately.

ISA-certified professionals are required to maintain their certification, either by earning continuing education units and paying a recertification fee within the 3-year certification period or by retaking and successfully passing the certification exam.

Career Overview

Tree trimming, also known as pruning or arboriculture, is the process of caring for and maintaining trees for aesthetics or for health and safety purposes. Job duties can include pruning bark and roots, removing tree limbs and trimming trees that might interfere with sidewalks, roads, wires and cables.

Some tree trimmers specialize in diagnosing tree diseases or planting trees, while others specialize in trimming trees for homes and golf courses. Tree trimmers accomplish these tasks using a variety of tools, such as pole saws, handsaws, clippers and shears.

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