Arborist Testing Information Brochure

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General Information

“Arborist” means a person who, for compensation, takes down or fells, diagnoses or evaluates the condition of shade or ornamental trees; solicits, recommends or supervises the treatment of those trees; or in any manner or for any purpose treats or cares for those trees.

“Takes down or fells” means the cutting for removal of any part of a tree by topping of sections or felling the tree whole.

“Treats or cares for” means the pruning, trimming and shaping of trees when the care requires the person to leave the ground.  “Treats or cares for” also includes installing lightning protections, cabling or bracing of trees.

Laws established by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry require anyone practicing arboriculture in Maine to first obtain a First Class Arborist License.

Obtaining a First Class Arborist License in the category pertaining to the work being performed (Utility or Landscape) is the basic requirement for an individual to work independently in the field of arboriculture in Maine.

Testing the knowledge and skills of a prospective arborist in either or both of these categories demonstrates a person’s capabilities to safely and professionally provide services to the public.

The Arborist Apprentice Permit provides an opportunity for on-the-job training of new arborists.  It is a training permit only and not a license to practice independently.


an unlicensed individual working under the supervision of a licensed arborist.

First Class Landscape Arborist
an individual licensed as an arborist, who is primarily concerned with the planting and care of shade or ornamental trees.

First Class Utility Arborist
an individual licensed as an arborist who performs arboricultural procedures primarily in the proximity of electrical transmission, distribution and/or other utility lines.

Master Landscape or Master Utility Arborist
an individual who has a minimum of five years of experience as a First Class Arborist, has successfully completed the Master Arborist examination and holds a valid Maine Pesticide Applicator License in category 3A – Outdoor Ornamentals.

Application and Fees

Your application for examination must be submitted to the Division of Animal and Plant Health with a check made payable to the “Treasurer, State of Maine” for the application and examination fee as well as the fee for the study guide.

Fees set by the Department are as follows:

Study Guide $45
First Class Landscape or Utility Exam $60
First Class Landscape and Utility Exam $85
Master Landscape or Utility Exam $85
Master Landscape and Utility Exam $110

Exam Dates and Deadlines

Exams often fill up weeks before the exam date. Do not delay submitting your application. When the test sessions fill up names will be placed on a waiting list.

Examination Date
January 14, 2015
March 11, 2015
June 10, 2015
September 16 , 2015
December 2, 2015

Steps in the Exam Process

  1. The candidate completes and submits the application with the appropriate fees to the Departments for eligibility to take the exam. Exams often fill up weels before the exam dates listed. When the test sessions fill up names will be placed on a waiting list.
  2. The Department mails the candidate an examination admission letter approximately 2 weeks before the exam.
  3. The candidate takes the exam.
  4. The Department notifies the candidate of scores, licensing and re-take information.

Admission to the Exam

The Department will send an admission letter to each approved candidate who has paid the correct exam fees prior to the deadline. The admission letter will show the name of the exam registered for and the specific date, time and location of the exam. 

Only pre-registered candidates will be admitted to the exam. No walk-in applicants will be admitted.

Please contact this office prior to the examination date if you are unable to attend the exam so that we may accommodate people on the waiting list.

If you do not attend the examination on the time and date listed and do not contact us to reschedule your exam you will forfeit your examination fee.

If you lose your admission letter, or have not received an admission letter 3 days before the exam date, contact the Department immediately at (207) 287-3891.

Description of Examinations

There are two parts to the exam; written and oral.

The written portion of the First Class exams is open book.  Books are not permitted during the practical/oral portion of the First Class exams. Master exams are closed book for all parts. 

The written exams include true or false, multiple-choice questions. The practical/oral portion of the exams covers the applicant’s knowledge of the safe use of arborist tools and equipment and approved arboricultural techniques.

Exam sessions are 3 hours long.

Score Information

Your score is based on the number of questions you answer correctly. You will not be given credit for any question that has been answered incorrectly, left blank, or has more than one answer marked. Be sure to mark an answer for each question. There is no penalty for guessing.

Your score will be mailed within 2 weeks after the test date. All scores are mailed at the same time. The minimum score required to pass the First Class exam is 70%. The minimum to pass the Master exam is 75%.

Applicants receiving passing scores will also be sent an insurance affadavit, application for criminal background check and a letter describing necessary license fees.

Licensing Issuance

Your license will not be issued immediately after passing the exam. It could take several weeks before you are licensed to work.

To receive your license as quickly as possible return your insurance affidavit and appropriate fees as soon as possible. Your license will be issued only after receipt of the requested form and payment

Background Checks

The State of Maine has teh authority to consider an applicant's criminal history record prior to issing an occupational license. This is important because the general public relies on the state to verify that individuals who receive occupational licenses warrant teh public's trust and are not a threat to their well-being. The Department will conduct random criminal history records checks prior to issuing licenses.


If you have questions regarding the arborist licensing process please call (207)287-3891 or email Arborist

Updated: December 12, 2014