All those tags at the bottom of the page, the ones that look like scout badges, those are icons symbolic of certification- a certification that must be maintained throughout the career of an arborist. In a lot of professions maintaining certification means constantly keeping up on the latest trends and information in your industry. For example, in order to stay a Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arborists, you must re-qualify every three years to ensure your knowledge and standards remain current.
The same goes for staying a Certified Tree Care Safety Professional (CTSP). This title is incredibly important because it recognizes that along with continued innovation in our field comes added risk, to both arborist and homeowner, that needs to be recognized, addressed and safely navigated. These two re-certifications can be achieved through testing or, more likely, varied Continuing Education Units (CEU’s).
When my certified arborist license came due this past December 31, and I had 9 of the necessary 30 CEU’s for recertification. My certified tree care safety professional (CTSP) came due on March 31. I had 1 of the necessary 30 CEU’s for that one. I needed to do some catch-up! I had sat through the courses, I just hadn’t taken the tests. I had organized and lead the safety meetings, but neglected to fill out the required forms to get the points needed for recertification…
It is now that I need to point out to you that I chose to work in the field of forestry because of my preference for being outside. I have an affinity for the natural world and a slight aversion to traditional learning environments. While this benefits my profession and customers in many ways- it also means that the maintenance of my certifications is not something that comes easily to me. I actually find it incredibly difficult. But I understand that maintaining the highest level of service to our customers means achieving and maintaining these credentials; the standards they uphold is something I believe in.
So I take the classes and I do the work.
And this past winter I forced myself to take to the desk. I got my arborist certification renewed by forcing myself to sit (at the desk) and read articles and take tests. To imagine this experience: think of something that feels uncomfortable to you- tight confining spaces? incredible heights? manual labor for long periods of time in intense heat or cold (i.e. the life of an arborist)? That level of discomfort is what I felt during this process, but I labored on… I then got my CTSP by documenting that I attended and lead enough safety meetings, went to lectures, took enough certification tests, and oversaw the re-accreditation of my company (making us once again one of only five companies in Vermont Accredited by the Tree Care Industry Association).
And then I was done.
I have now happily returned to the field, applying all my increased knowledge and the latest innovations and trends to better serve you and your trees. It’s not easy keeping up all these CEU’s (I will soon have to do it again for my pesticide license) but if I want my company to be something you can trust and believe in, I need to do it.