As I write what is possibly my last Certification Corner as the Certification Director for the PNW Chapter, I find myself struggling to understand motivation between the young, new, arborist and the seasoned, highly skilled arborist. Recognition of the value of the Certified Arborist and/or any of the Certifications or Qualifications offered by the ISA seems to becoming more and more common these days. The credential seems to be more valued by owners, managers, and those coming out of school into the working world. As the Local Manager for the Bartlett Tree Experts in Clackamas, OR, I find it easier to promote the credentials to a young motivated arborist out of college than the seasoned high-skilled arborist who learned the trade through sweat and on-the-job training.
Credentials do not make you a better arborist. It is my opinion that the credential communicates commitment to yourself, the industry, and your employer and/or manager. I spend time trying to motivate very highly skilled and experienced climbers to get credentials with little to no luck sometimes, even when we cover the cost and time for those employees committed to taking the time to study and sit for the exams. Credentials provide more opportunity for those with them than those without. Every credential has a value; this can be monetary, increased opportunity for advancement, and just personal career growth.
To everyone in the field of arboriculture, take the time when given opportunity to get the credentials – it makes you more valuable as an employee.