Originally Posted by mdvaden
If there is a college program, see about taking some classes. No need for a degree, really.
The ISA book has a lot of stuff, but if someone just reads and memorizes it, that's really not much of an education. It really takes time, plenty of reading, experience and practice. And some coaching too.
That's good advice.
Someone with a degree in plant biology can pass the ISA test on the first try and then they are a "certified" arborist. In my opinion, to be a true arborist is someone with knowledge and experience. A doctor, nurse, or paramedic needs hands-on training before they can be called a doctor, nurse, or paramedic.
I was the latter and I had an almost 2 year program with nearly 6 weeks of field work before I could be called a paramedic and even then, when I the new guy, I still had a whole lot to learn and was paired with someone more experienced.
Read, read, read and ask a lot of questions but there is no substitute for being in the field just make sure you practice Good Habits and don't hone skills that can cause harm or injury.