ISA Certified Tree Worker Aerial Lift Specialist

When you become an ISA Certified Tree Worker Aerial Lift Specialist®, you are recognized by your peers, employers, and the public as a tree care professional who has attained a specialty in aerial lift operations with a generally- accepted level of knowledge in areas such as safety, climbing, rigging, cabling, pruning, removal, and more. The purpose of the aerial lift skills exam is to assess the applicant’s ability to demonstrate the fundamental skills necessary to perform as a competent aerial lift operator when working in trees. The primary emphasis throughout the exam is safety.

Prerequisites for this certification:
  • Minimum of 18 months (1.5 years) of climbing experience in arboriculture.
  • Proof of Aerial Rescue training within the past year.
  • Proof of hands-on CPR and First Aid training.
  • An Aerial Lift Vehicle – your truck will be used for this exam.
  • Hardhat
  • Safety glasses
  • Work boots
  • Fall arrest belt/harness
  • Energy absorbing lanyard OR lanyard with double locking snaps
  • Attachment point to boom
  • Appropriate work clothing

IAA offers classes to help you meet the prerequisites and prepare for the exam. We typically run these classes in the spring and in the fall and host the exam on the last day. The written exam content is divided into eight areas of knowledge, and the percentage next to each area reflects the percentage of questions associated with that area. These are subject to change when a new job task analysis is completed for the exam. It is made up of 65 multiple-choice questions, and you will have 1.5 hours to complete the written exam.
  1. Safety—18%
  2. Removal—12%
  3. Rigging—12%
  4. Pruning—18%
  5. Cabling—6%
  6. Tree Sciences—10%
  7. Tree Identification—10%
  8. Electrical Hazard Awareness Program—14%

The Skills Exam consists of certain tasks, determined to be skills that are critical to an aerial lift operator’s competency. The skills-based part of the exam is an outdoor practicum. You will have 45 minutes to safely and successfully complete it. You must provide your own truck for this portion of the exam and supply the manufacturer, maximum working height, and side reach of the truck during the application submittal process. It is comprised of the following:
  • Pre-ascent Inspections
  • Truck Inspection
  • Knot Tying
  • Tree and Site Inspection (Must be completed within 15 minutes.)
  • Truck Set-up (Must be completed within 10 minutes)
  • Ascent
  • Tree Inspection
  • Hand Saw Work Station
  • Setting Rigging/Safety Line Work Station
  • Pole Saw/Pruner Work Station
  • Descent

You can read more about each of the tasks listed above in the exam application which is linked below.

You must pass both written and practical exams to obtain this certification.

Follow this link to view the Skill Test Evaluation Form:

The exam application give more detailed information about this certification – click here to read more and fill out the exam application: