Advanced Qualification for Certified Arborists in Illinois

The Illinois Arborist Association has developed a rigorous qualification program for Certified Arborists.  The qualification program builds on the topics of the initial certification program and offers in-depth study including local details.

The courses offer practical study, laboratory work and field study as appropriate.  Class size will often be limited, offering hands-on practice and access to the facilitators.

Knowledge and skills will be assessed periodically and an exam will be given at the end of each course.  Passing grades for each course module will be necessary to complete an entire curriculum or domain. 

The four Advanced Qualification Domains are:  Tree Site and Selection, Pest Diagnosis and Management, Tree Work, and Urban Forestry.

Tree Site and Selection (TSS)

Proposed qualification modules and schedules for TSS domain provides additional training on proper plant selection, proper plant identification and knowledge of the site requirements for the plant.  To receive credit for a domain, the student must complete 5 modules, four of which are required and one elective.

Summer Tree Identification Required
Winter Tree Identification Required
Species Requirements Required
Planting Methods and Selection Required
Site Assessment & Design Elective
Soils and Nutrient Management Elective

Pest Diagnosis and Management (PDM)

Proposed Qualification modules and schedules for PDM domain provides additional training in diagnosis of plant problems, pest identification and plant health care management strategies.  To receive credit for a domain, the student must complete 5 modules, four of which are required and one elective.

Insect and Mite Pests Required
Tree Diseases Required
Abiotic Problems Required
Pesticide Safety and Application Required
Introduction to Plant Health Care/IPM Elective
Soil and Nutrient Management Elective

Tree Worker (TW)

Proposed Qualification modules and schedules for the TW domain provides additional training in safe work practices, identification of hazard trees, proper equipment operation and maintenance, and tree maintenance. To receive credit for a domain, the student must complete 5 modules, four of which are required and one elective.

Present Day Climbing – Entry Level Required
Present Day Rigging – Level 1 Required
Pruning Required
Felling Required
Bucket Truck Operation Elective
Cabling & Bracing Elective
Climbing – Level 2 (Level 1 Prerequisite) Elective
Rigging – Level 2 ( Level 1 Prerequisite) Elective

Urban Forestry (UF)

Proposed Qualification modules and schedules for UF domain provides additional training on the unique challenges of the urban setting, physical tree management in this setting, and the planning, public policy, and laws governing the urban forest as a whole. To receive credit for a domain, the student must complete 5 modules, four of which are required and one elective.

Urban Forestry Management Planning Required
Tree Inventory: Options & Applied Use Required
Urban Settings, Species, Stresses & Strategies Required
Tree Regulations & Legislative Concerns Required
Tree Appraisals Required
Public Relations & Community Outreach Elective
Tree Risk Management in Urban Envirnoments Elective

ISA Credentials: Understanding Your Options
Certification vs. Qualification

The ISA Certification Program has led the way as a credentialing body in the arboricultural industry for many years. In response to the needs and interests of our industry, we are pleased to announce that arborists can now pursue an ISA Qualification in addition to an ISA Certification.Qualifications and Certifications both promote professional development and can set you apart from your competition in the marketplace. But when thinking about which credential is essential to your career, it is important to understand the difference between the two options.What is Certification?
A Certification is a voluntary program administered by a non-governmental organization. It grants the use of a credential to individuals for a specific period of time. The Certification is available to those who meet predetermined and standardized criteria for knowledge, skills or competencies.

The knowledge needed to pass a Certification assessment is learned through self-study and experience. The assessment is conducted independent of a specific class, course or other training program. To retain the credential, certificates must meet requirements for renewal.

Key elements of a Certification program:

* Focuses on a broad body of knowledge
* Administered independent of any education or training program
* Assessment is based on a body of knowledge rather than on specific learning outcomes
* Incorporates recertification requirements to maintain the credential, such as participation in continuing
education opportunities
* Prohibits trainers from assessing their own trainees
* Forbids release of exam questions to anyone teaching preparatory courses or developing preparatory

What is Qualification?
A qualification is awarded for achievement of a narrow body of knowledge with very specific learning objectives. This type of program often takes the form of a classroom learning experience followed by an assessment to determine if the desired learning goals and objectives for the training have been met. Qualifications have no recertification component. They are either valid for life or they require that the classroom learning experience and assessment be repeated for renewal

Key elements of a Qualifications program:
* Experience includes both instruction and assessment as part of the program
* Tests specific knowledge, skills or competencies associated with learning outcome
* Awards a Qualification only to those participants who meet the standards for performance, proficiency
or passing score
* Allows trainers to know and be familiar with the assessment questions
* Permits trainers to assess their own trainees, depending on the requirements of a given program
* Requires credential holders to retrain and retest at the end of a set period of validity, unless qualification is determined to be valid for life

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