To date, there are about 300 BCMAs worldwide and 26,000 certified arborists. There are perhaps six hundred people with that qualification, and only 70 arbolists who hold both credentials. The ISA Board Certified Master Arborist exam covers virtually all areas of abriculture (except consulting), with the following areas covered in the exam. This distribution ensures that the Board-Certified Master Arborist maintains a comprehensive knowledge base regarding all aspects of tree care.
Professional arborists have a minimum of three years of experience in some aspects of tree care and have passed an examination developed by an international panel of experts. Arbolists require a more formal education, while tree surgeons gain their experience in the field. Certified arborists have achieved a level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care through experience and passing a comprehensive examination by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Two of those works, tree surgeons and arbolists, are often called interchangeably, but in reality they are very different.
ISA-certified arborists who are not board-certified master arborists generally choose one of those three categories to specialize. There are several ways to reach the Board-Certified Master Arborist, but generally each has been an ISA Certified Arborist a minimum of three to five years before qualifying for the exam (this may vary depending on other education and experience). In general, the deadline for proficiency in the trade of Arborist is 6,000 hours (approximately three years), consisting of 5,340 hours of on-the-job work experience and 660 hours of in-school training. Arborist (Practicing Arborist, Practicing Arborist) — A general term that means anyone who specializes in caring for woody plants, especially trees.
The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is the world's leading certification body for arborists. A Board Certified Master Arborist (BCMA) is the highest designation an arborist can achieve professionally. As in healthcare or education, an ISA-certified arborist is required to actively seek continuing education credits through classes, seminars, and workshops to become and remain an authority on tree care. While there are more than 30,000 ISA-certified arborists in 34 countries, only 565 are BCMA (less than 2%).