What Is a Master Arborist?

Have you ever heard of a Master Arborist? I only recently became aware of this designation after a colleague of mine told me about a seminar she’d attended with one. She knows a lot about trees, but even she had plenty to learn from the Master Arborist leading this talk.

A Board Certified Master Arborist (BCMA) is the highest designation an arborist can achieve professionally. Straight from the ISA’s mouth:

To sit for the exam, individuals must be a Certified Arborist in good standing and have obtained other prerequisites, or “points” defined by ISA. A minimum of eight points are required, obtained through measurable experience, formal education, related credentials, or professional experience. The computer-based exam covers science, practice and management.

I know that BCMAs are quite rare but have had a hard time digging up reliable statistics. One website I found said that there are only 256 BCMAs in the entire United States as opposed to 20,859 Certified Arborists (these statistics are from April 2009). In other words, a little over 1% of all Certified Arborists are Master Arborists. Wow. That is indeed impressive.

(Image: The Masters Tree Climbing Challenge at the Queensland Arborist Association “Arbor Camp” 2009 from Nico Nelson)

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