Common Questions about ISA Credentials

The following are frequently asked questions about our credentialing program. Click a question to read the answer.

There are no practice exams available at this time. To help you study, we do offer exam outlines on the information page for each different program. We also offer suggested study materials within the ISA Store. 

Computer-based exams provide result notification immediately upon completion of the exam. Within four to six weeks, your results will be posted on your online account with ISA (you can login here) and mailed to the address we have in your account.  Your results are confidential. Please note that results cannot be obtained over the phone or by fax.

Please refer to the appropriate application guide for information regarding requirements for completion.

The number of correct responses determines the overall score. Each of the areas are scored individually and since they do not have the same number of questions, you cannot add them all up and divide by the number of areas of knowledge.

Our exam materials are confidential, to protect the integrity of the exam, individual question results cannot be made available for review of the questions and answers, and ISA does not provide a list of questions that were answered correctly or incorrectly. The only information available regarding your performance on the exam is provided on your score report.

If you believe that an error was made in the grading of your exam, you may request to have your exam regraded for an additional fee. Requests for regrading may take up to six weeks for completion. If you request to have your exam regraded, you may not schedule another exam until after you receive the regrading results. If you wish to have your exam regraded after receiving your initial score report, please contact us.

If you do not pass the exam, you will receive a failure notification and details for retaking the exam.

You are allowed one free retake up to one year from the original date that you took the exam. If you do not pass the exam using your free retake, you may retake the exam again within one year of the original exam date for an additional fee. If you do not attain a passing score within one year of the original exam date, you will be required to pay the full fee amount. Each time a computer-based exam is selected, an administrative fee will apply. Please note that the Board Certified Master Arborist certification does not offer free exam retakes. Please refer to the appropriate application guide to determine exam retake fees.

Exam applications can be completed online and immediately sent to ISA through our online application system.

If circumstances change after you have applied for the examination, you must request in writing to have the exam rescheduled or request an additional 90-day computer-based authorization period. An additional fee applies to both types of requests. Please refer to the appropriate application guide to determine your rescheduling fee.

Go to the Exam Dates and Locations page to determine upcoming paper-based exams in your local area. If no paper-based exams are offered in your area, you may choose to take a computer-based exam at a Pearson VUE testing facility.

Yes! Some of our certification exams are available in other languages.

Most ISA certifications are valid for three years, please refer to the appropriate application guide and look for the “Expiration and Recertification” section for the most current requirements for each credential.

Our current processing time for events that have been pre-approved for CEUs is four to six weeks.

No, the goal for our recertification program requirements is for current credential holders to: 1) gain new knowledge of up-to-date theories and techniques in the arboriculture industry; 2) transfer this knowledge and skills into their professional practice; 3) improve overall tree care.

The recertification period currently set and supported by the ISA Credentialing Council is three (3) years. This means that the achievement of the goals described above needs to happen within each three (3) year cycle. This is the reason why “roll-over” of CEUs from one recertification period to another is not allowed.

Application vetting can take up to five (5) business days from date of application.

Yes, if you attended an arboriculture-related event it could still be eligible for CEUs. Simply submit a post-approval request by using this portal. Examples of arboriculture-related events and content that are eligible for CEU credit include: workshops; conferences; webinars; college courses; assessment-based courses; presenting or instructing; authoring articles; participating or volunteering in Tree Climbing Championship events; first aid or CPR classes; company safety trainings and meetings.

Your local ISA chapter or associate organization may have prep classes or trainings available prior to the exam. You will need to contact your local ISA chapter or associate organization directly for more information about availability and cost.

As a self-study option, ISA offers study material that you may purchase to help prepare for the exams.

After submitting your online application, you will receive a confirmation notice that your application has been received. This notification is sent to the e-mail address provided on your application. If you do not receive an e-mail after you submit your application online, contact us to verify receipt of your application.

Candidates who are members of ISA and their local chapter or associate organization receive an exam discount.

In addition to the exam fee, there is a computer-based testing administrative fee for those who elect the computer-based option. The administrative fee applies each time a computer-based exam is scheduled.

Yes, all certification exams are available as computer-based exams. Visit the Pearson VUE site to learn more about testing locations in your area.

Ready to become ISA Credentialed?

An ISA credential shows your commitment to properly caring for and maintaining trees!

Apply Now