Maintaining Certification

All ISA Certifications are valid for three years. To maintain your certification, you must earn a minimum number of ISA Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by the end of the three-year period and pay a recertification fee. Or, you can retake and pass the exam. The number of CEUs required depends upon the credential you hold:

  • ISA Certified Arborist: 30 CEUs
  • ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist: 6 Utility CEUs + 30 Arborist CEUs = 36 total
  • ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist: 12 Municipal CEUs + 30 Arborist CEUs = 42 total
  • ISA Certified Tree Climber: 15 CEUs
  • ISA Certified Tree Worker Aerial Lift Specialist: 15 CEUs
  • ISA Board Certified Master Arborist: 60 CEUs; 20 each in Science, Practice, and Management

Recertification fees

You renewal date will be on June 30 or December 31, depending on the date of your original certification exam. Notification of your renewal date will be mailed one month in advance. Please make sure your contact information is current to ensure delivery of any mailed notices.

Tracking Your CEUs

ISA will track how many CEUs you have and how many you need for renewal. However, CEUs may take four to six weeks to be recorded. In addition, you should always keep records of your CEUs. Check your CEUs at the ISA website.

If you lack CEUs six months from your expiration date, ISA will send you a postcard reminder to submit CEUs for recertification. If you have enough CEUs to recertify, you will instead receive a recertification invoice one month prior to your expiration date.

See our calendar for CEU's approved for NEC-ISA classes as well as those approved for some of our green industry partners

Earning CEUs

CEUs are offered through workshops and seminars presented by ISA and NEC-ISA. You may also earn CEUs through other professional associations, allied partners, academic institutions, and others. Please check the NEC-ISA calendar for the most current listings. Other ways to acquire ISA CEUs include:

  • In-House Training. Many companies and government agencies offer in-house training. Any course pertaining to tree care and safety is eligible for CEUs. This may include safety meetings, CPR/First Aid, chainsaw safety, etc.
  • First Aid or CPR class. 4 CEUs each, once per certification period (every three years).
  • ISA Publications. CEUs for articles and quizzes in Arborist News and other ISA publications may only be earned once per issue or edition.
  • Webinars. Organizations such as the Urban Natural Resources Institute (UNRI), the Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees), and Urban Forestry Today,, and TREE Fund offer one-hour educational and informational webinars that offer CEUs.
  • Teaching and Presentations. You may receive CEUs for conducting workshops, teaching classes, or making presentations. Please send a letter with the agenda or course outline along with a post-approval form to the ISA office.
  • ISA Workbooks, CDs, DVDs, and Videos. The ISA provides a variety of publications worth CEUs. Browse the ISA webstore for CEU products.

College Courses

College courses may accumulate up to 10 CEUs per credit hour. College coursework must be done through an academically accredited two-year or four-year institution. Approved coursework must involve one or more of the following ten domains:

  • Diagnosis & Treatment
  • ID/Selection
  • Installation & Establishment
  • Pruning
  • Safe Work Practices
  • Soil Management
  • Tree Biology
  • Tree Protection
  • Tree Risk Management
  • Urban Forestry

Obtaining Approval for CEUs

NEC-ISA has a process to review and approve ISA CEUs for our green industry partners. To submit a workshop or event for review, please submit an online request. To allow for an appropriate review and response time, please submit applications at least two (2) weeks prior to your event.

Obtaining ISA Post Approval for CEUs

If you have attended a course that seems appropriate for CEUs, please send a letter with the agenda or course outline along with a post-approval form to the ISA office. If the course is granted CEUs after ISA review, those credits will appear on your CEU records. If the course does not meet CEU standards, ISA will send the information back to you with a letter of explanation. NEC-ISA cannot authorize CEUs for events already held.

Retaking the Exam

If you do not meet minimum CEU requirements and/or pay the renewal fee, you must retake the certification exam and pay appropriate fees to recertify. Be sure to include your previously assigned ISA Certification number on the application to ensure the number is reassigned to you.

Only bona fide ISA Certified Arborists are eligible to advertise ISA credentials. Until you have successfully passed the exam, you should refrain from advertising yourself as ISA Certified so as to not mislead the public and violate federal trademark law.