Arborist Testing Information

Printable Version (PDF 80KB)

Steps in the Exam Process

  1. The candidate completes the arborist exam application (PDF 67KB) and submits it to the Department with the appropriate fees. Exams often fill up weeks before the exam dates listed. When test sessions are full 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 and licensing or re-take information.

Application and Fees

Arborist Exam Application (PDF 67KB)

A study guide is available for purchase (PDF 39KB). The study guide contains all information covered on the arborist exam and is highly recommended for test preparation.

Candidates are strongly encouraged to apply to take both landscape and utility exams at the same time.

Examination and Study Material Fees::

Study Guide - $50
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

Checks should be made payable to "Treasurer, State of Maine"

Exam fees are non-refundable.

Exam Dates

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

2021 Examination Dates:

**Dates may change in response to Covid-19  issues.**

February 16, 2021 (full)
February 23, 2021 (full)
March 23, 2021
April 27, 2021
June 15, 2021
September 21, 2021
December 14, 2021

Admission to the Exam

Only pre-registered candidates will be admitted to the exam. Walk-in applicants are not allowed.

Candidates will not be scheduled for examination until an application has been received and all exam fees have been paid.

Prior to the exam date, the Department will send an admission letter to each candidate scheduled for testing. The admission letter will include which exams the candidate is scheduled to take and the specific date and time of the exam.

Unless indicated otherwise in the admission letter all exams will be held at:

Deering Building, Room 101
90 Blossom Lane
Augusta, Maine

Exam No-Show Policy

Examinees not showing up for scheduled exams have been a chronic problem for the Department.  Most exam sessions have a waiting list as there are often more applicants than exam spaces.  Every no-show to an exam is a space that could have been used by someone else to take the test.  Therefore, the Department has adopted the following policy:

  • Examinees must notify the Department at least 48 hours in advance if they will be unable to attend their scheduled exam.
  • If less than 48 hours’ notice is given the examinee forfeits their exam fee and can only take the next scheduled exam if there is space after all other applicants have been accommodated.
  • Exceptions will be made for unforeseeable emergency circumstances at the discretion of the Department.

Description of Examinations

Exam sessions are 3 hours long and there are two parts to the exam; written and oral.

The written portion of the First Class exams are open book. Master exams are closed book for all parts. The written exams include true or false, multiple choice and tree identification questions.

Books are not permitted during the oral portion of the First Class exams. The oral portion of the exam covers the applicant's knowledge of the safe use of arborist tools and equipment and approved arboricultural techniques.

Material covered on utility and landscape exams overlap. Candidates are strongly encouraged to take both exams at the same time.

Exam Preparation Tips

  • Be familiar with information in the Study Guide
  • Use the review questions at the end of each chapter of The Tree Climbers' Guide (included with the Study Guide)
  • Practice using a tree identification book
  • Practice knot tying

Score Information

The minimum score required to pass the First Class exam is 70%. The minimum to pass the Master exam if 75%.

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. Partial credit is given in the tree identification section.

Your score will be mailed within 2 weeks after the test date. All scores are mailed at the same time. Exam results will not be given over the phone. Applicants receiving passing scores will be sent licensing information.

License Issuance and Fees

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

In order to receive your license you must sign an insurance affidavit and pay a licensing fee. Your license will be issued only after receipt of the affidavit and payment.

License fees:

First Class or Master Landscape OR Utility - $30

First Class or Master Landscape AND Utility - $45

Licenses must be renewed annually. License renewal information will be sent by December 1 of each year. Renewal applications received after January 1 are subject to a late fee. Candidates that fail to renew a license for more than a year may need to re-take the Arborist License Exam in order to have the license re-instated.

Background Checks

The State of Maine has the authority to consider an applicant's criminal history record prior to issing an occupational license. 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 the Arborist Program.