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massachusetts arborists Association

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The Massachusetts Arborists Association (MAA) is proud to sponsor the Massachusetts Certified Arborists (MCA) program.

The MCA program is a voluntary certification program initiated in 1957 by leading Massachusetts arborists. Since the program’s inception, more than 800 tree care service professionals have obtained the Massachusetts Certified Arborist designation.

The purpose of the Massachusetts Certified Arborist program is to raise the level of public awareness as to the importance of working with trained tree service professionals, and to provide a means of self-improvement and continuing education for the certified professional.

In short, the MCA program helps to build tree care professionals, enhance businesses, and protect consumers.


  • reinforces the need for education based on science and research
  • provides a peer network for the sharing of information
  • represents a benchmark of important knowledge and information
  • instills confidence in clientele and validates your credibility as a professional
  • acknowledges the need to stay current in a rapidly evolving industry
  • opens doors to certain municipal and State bid requests
  • demonstrates a dedication to arboriculture as a profession
  • is a source of personal and professional pride

Do you feel the same dedication to your profession that we do? We hope you'll get started on your way to becoming an MCA! We believe it is a credential worthy of pride, signifying your dedication and knowledge in the field of arboriculture.


The MCA examination is designed to assess the fundamental knowledge and skills that all tree care professionals should have, regardless of their area of practice. The knowledge required to pass the exam is significant.   Certification candidates should begin preparing for the exam well in advance. Exams are offered twice annually, generally the first Friday in April and October. Candidates for the MCA Exam should sign up for the exam at least two weeks in advance through the MAA website.


Candidates should be able to demonstrate at least 2 years of field experience OR have earned a degree in arboriculture, horticulture or related area of study. 

Candidates should be employed, or intending to be employed, in arboriculture or an industry-related profession.

Candidates must be 18 years of age.


MCA Online Study Guide (version 3.0). 

Supplemental resource materials (Best Management Practice Manuals) from which 50% of the exam is derived sold by TCIA or ISA.


The MCA exam consists of multiple choice questions and a section for tree / insect / pest identification.  For the image identification portion of the exam, candidates are asked to review photographs and provide latin and common names for trees, along with the common names of insects and tree diseases.  Spelling counts on the image ID section but credit can be granted for nearly correct spelling.  Examinees will want to spend time studying the tree, insect and disease tutorials contained the Study Guide as Appendix A, B, and C.

Examinees must pass both sections of the exam (70% or better) to be awarded the MCA Certification.  If an examinee doesn't pass and chooses to take the exam again, both sections must be administered.

recertification & continuing education

To maintain the MCA certification status, individuals must submit annual evidence of continuing education or industry activities.  MCAs must accumulate ten (10) continuing education credits each year. Annual MAA dues cover the cost of recertification; non-MAA members pay an annual administration fee. There are a variety of opportunities to obtain CEU credit, many of which parallel other industry certification and licensing programs. Association involvement, industry seminars and community service are a few of the ways MCAs may obtain their annual CEU credit. Complete recertification information will be sent upon successful completion of the MCA examination.

For other recertification questions, visit the FAQ page.

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The MCA program examinations are prepared, conducted and corrected under the direction of the MCA Examining Committee. Solely and exclusively a voluntary certification program, it is not in any way connected with any agency of the government.  This independence, so typical of our great Northeastern spirit, ensures that the MCA program will serve our companies, our employees, and our customers with integrity and benefit them for years to come.

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