Division of Forestry

Minnesota tree inspector program

Photograph of Tree InspectorThe certified tree inspector program was implemented in 1974 in response to Dutch elm disease and oak wilt. Since then, hundreds of communities have participated, and there are more than 800 certified tree inspectors in Minnesota. Certified tree inspectors have passed a test in which they demonstrate proficiency in Dutch elm disease and oak wilt management, tree identification, firewood identification, and shade tree management. Tree inspectors must attend annual recertification workshops to learn the latest information on tree care, exotic species management, shade tree management, tree selection, insect and disease identification, tree health care, and other timely topics.

photograph of tree pest and trees

New tree inspector certification FAQs

What is a certified tree inspector? Certified tree inspectors are people trained and certified to conduct local shade tree management programs.

What do certified tree inspectors do? Tree inspectors survey community tree populations to identify and manage disease and insect problems. They also provide recommendations for tree health and care. Tree inspectors monitor for new exotic insect and disease problems such as emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, and sudden oak death.

How do I become certified? To be certified as a new tree inspector, you must pass an examination that measures knowledge in shade tree pest identification and management. Exams are given at the end of new inspector training workshops. You must pass the examination with a score of 70 percent or better to become certified. The workshop includes basic instruction so that you can:

Where can I take a certification exam? Training workshops are conducted throughout Minnesota in cooperation with My Minnesota Woods. Testing is generally conducted in the afternoon of the workshop day. Check for training dates and locations.

What does the exam cover? The tree inspector examination covers shade tree statutes, shade tree pest management, tree identification, and firewood identification.

How long is the certified tree inspector certificate valid? Certification is valid for the current and following calendar year.

graphic of certification calendar

Recertification FAQs

How do I recertify? Tree inspectors must take one continuing education workshop every calendar year to receive a certificate for the following year. Recertification is valid for one calendar year. If your certificate expires, you must retake and pass the certification exam. Application form PDF

graphic of recertification calendar


How much training do I need to recertify? You may either attend one six-hour session or two sessions that are at least four hours each. Training other than at the Shade Tree Short Course or other University of Minnesota sponsored workshop that meets the education criteria below could qualify for recertification. Submit the agenda to the Tree Inspector Certification Program coordinator for review and approval at least two weeks in advance.
Workshops qualifying for recertification may focus on any of the following:

When are tree inspector cards mailed? Certification cards are generally mailed within one month of passing your exam.

Your card will expire on December 31 of the next year. For example if you took a workshop and passed the exam on March 4, 2016, you card will expire on December 31, 2017

Recertified Tree Inspectors will receive their cards in the last week of December of that year. For example if you took a workshop on February 20, 2016, you will receive your card at the end of December 2016 for your 2017 recertification.

All card expire on December 31st every year.

What workshops qualify for recertification?