Self-Certified Private Arborist Program

Self-Certified Private Arborist Program

An SCPA is an arborist who can fast track the permitting process for all tree related permits. They can evaluate the condition of your trees, approve pruning or removals, and review your building plans and site surveys to determine how to preserve existing trees. With successful completion of the City’s training course, an SCPA can self-certify tree surveys and arborist reports for use in zoning reviews, right-of-way permit reviews, and building permit reviews without having to wait for a COT arborist to visit the site – saving you time and avoiding resubmittals to meet code requirements.

Note: arborists who aren’t part of the SCPA program are still qualified to do tree work throughout the City of Tampa, but Natural Resources will have to review the site prior to issuing permits.

Are homeowners required to use an SCPA?

Use of an SCPA is completely optional, and in many cases unnecessary. The program was created to encourage developers to work with arborists in the early stages of their building plans in order to better incorporate the existing trees and landscape into their design. SCPAs are primarily used on larger, more complicated projects on heavily wooded lots, often involving one or more Grand Trees.

What's the difference between a Certified Arborist and an SCPA?

Any International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist is perfectly qualified to evaluate your trees and perform tree planting, pruning, or removal work in the City of Tampa. The only difference with the SCPAs is that they have received additional training on the City of Tampa Municipal Code and permitting process, which allows them to Self-Certify plans without a site visit from a COT Arborist.

How do I become an SCPA?

The SCPA Program is currently still in the pilot stage. City staff are working out the curriculum, training sessions, and details for the rollout of the final program. This page will be updated as new information is available, but if you would like to express your interest in the program please send an email to