What are the differences between an arborist, a certified arborist, a consulting arborist, and a Registered Consulting Arborist® (RCA)?

A more detailed explanation of arboricultural industry positions can be found at http://www.asca-consultants.org/?page=TypesofArborists

Arborist (Practicing Arborist, Arborist Practitioner) – a general term signifying anyone who specializes in the care of woody plants, especially trees.  The term does not specify any particular level of competency.

Certified Arborist – an arborist who is certified by a professional organization like the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).  To be certified implies a certain level of competency.  For example, an ISA Certified Arborist must have at least 3 years experience in tree care, or a 2-year degree in arboriculture + 2 years experience, or a 4-year degree in a related field + 1 year of experience; plus, pass a 200-question multiple choice exam,  earn 30 CEUs every 3 years to recertify, and pay all fees associated with education, testing,  and recertification.   Click here for help in finding an ISA Certified Arborist in your area.

Consulting Arborist – an individual with five or more years of professional experience as a certified arborist and who has documented report writing training and experience and 240 hours of approved education units; or a member of ASCA. Will agree in writing to perform all work in accordance with ANSI A300 standards.

Registered Consulting Arborist® RCA – an individual who has American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA) Membership*, graduation from ASCA Consulting Academy, 420 of approved Continuing Education Units (CEU). Submits and passes two consulting reports for technical writing review. Thirty (30) Continuing Education Units required every two years to maintain registration.

*American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA) Membership — Five or more years of industry experience, and four-year degree in arboriculture or a related field, or 240 or more approved Continuing Education Units earned for degrees, course work, and industry conference attendance, or have BCMA (ISA Board Certified Master Arborist status). Membership eligibility is determined through an independent, objective review of these qualifications. Members are also required to read and abide by the Standards of Professional Practice. Must receive thirty (30) Continuing Education Units every two years.