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Becoming Qualified

The ISA Certification Program has led the way as a credentialing body in the arboricultural industry for many years. In order to meet the needs of the profession and respond to the demands of the stakeholders for advanced certificate-based programs, ISA has expanded its training and credentialing opportunities to include qualifications.

When thinking about which credential is essential to your career, it is important to understand the difference between a certification and qualification. Certification is a voluntary process by which individuals are tested on a body of knowledge gained from training and/or experience. Testing is designed to demonstrate individuals have met predetermined and standardized criteria and maintenance requires continuing education units. Qualifications include a specifically designed learning event followed by an assessment to confirm individuals have achieved the intended learning outcomes. Learn more about the difference between Certifications and Qualifications.

Tree Risk Assessment Qualification

TRAQ is an ISA qualification program that trains arborists how to use the methodologies outlined in the ISA Best Management Practices for Tree Risk Assessment. This qualification promotes the safety of people and property by providing a standardized and systematic process for assessing tree risk. The results of a tree risk assessment can provide tree owners and risk managers with the information to make informed decisions to enhance tree benefits, health, and longevity. Learn more about the need for Tree Risk Assessment Qualification.

Obtaining the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification

The qualification consists of a 2-day educational course followed by a ½ day assessment that includes both a written and field component. It is required that you attend the course and successfully complete the assessment in order to receive this qualification.

When applying to participate in a TRAQ event, applicants must agree to the terms, conditions, and policies outlined in the Tree Risk Assessment Candidate Handbook.

To be eligible to register for the course and take the exam, you must have earned one of the following credentials:

  • ISA Certified Arborist® or ISA Board Certified Master Arborist®
  • ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified
  • A degree in arboriculture, urban forestry, traditional forestry, or horticulture that is part of a national qualifications framework or is from a college or university.
  • A national certification or certificate in arboriculture (see a complete list in the TRAQ handbook)
  • ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist (RCA) status
  • Licensing or Certification from an approved state/province program (see a complete list in the TRAQ handbook)
  • SAF Certified Forester

If you would like us to consider any other credential, contact ISA at

Course Content

The course content includes Levels of Assessment, Target Assessment, Site Assessment, Tree Biology and Mechanics, Tree Inspection and Assessment, Data Analysis and Risk Categorization, Mitigation, and Reporting.

Qualification Period

The TRAQ credential is valid for five (5) years from the date it is earned. A credential holder is required to take the course and pass the exam every five years in order to renew the credential. No CEUs are needed to maintain this qualification. ISA certification holders will be offered 14.5 CEUs for attending the course.


For events that are co-hosted by ISA and a local Chapter or Associate Organization, the participant fees are:

ISA Member $625
Non ISA Member $750
Exam Retake $150

For TRAQ events hosted solely by a Chapter or Associate Organization, the host has the authority to set course fees at their own discretion. Because of this, course prices are likely to vary between events.

Course Locations

Course dates and locations are based on chapter willingness to host, geographic distribution, trainer availability, and industry demand. Course offerings are listed on the ISA Events Calendar as they become available as well as the TRAQ events section of the website.

Applying for the TRAQ Course

For events that are co-hosted by ISA, all participants are required to submit an application and must register online or by phone. For events hosted solely by a Chapter or Associate Organization instructions will be provided for each event. Available TRAQ courses will be listed under TRAQ events on the website.

TRACE credential transfer into the new ISA program

If you held the TRACE credential, you have been transferred into the ISA TRAQ program and your current expiration date has been carried over. Transferees have been provided with program information and a TRAQ certificate.

Additional TRAQ information

For other questions pertaining to the TRAQ qualification review the Participant Common Questions and the Tree Risk Assessment Candidate Handbook or email

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