How to Become an Arborist

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Arboriculture is an important field that focuses on providing care and maintenance to a variety of trees. Arborists are trained professionals that focus on the health and safety of trees and provide the necessary maintenance and management to trees in many different landscapes.


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What does an arborist do?

Arborists perform a variety of tasks such as routine care and maintenance, tree surgery, and required treatment procedures. They cut away excess and dead branches to improve tree health and appearance. They also remove parts of tress to clear sidewalks, roads, and utilities’ equipment. They often plant, trim, prune, shape, fertilize, and inspect a variety of trees and shrubs for residential properties, commercial locations, golf courses, and a variety of other locations. They may also plan and compose reports to present to their clients and/or the community. Some arborists specialize in specific tasks such as performing preventative tasks to keep trees healthy and diagnosing and treating diseases of trees.

What kind of training does an arborist need?

Arborists typically need at least an associate degree in arboriculture, horticulture, forestry, or other related field. Many arborists have bachelor degrees. Prospective arborists typically complete courses in biology, horticulture, tree care and maintenance, characteristics of soil, and safety precautions. Many employers provide some on the job training to enable new arborists to gain the necessary skills and use of required equipment. Many arborists gain professional certification from the International Society of Arboriculture to demonstrate their competence and expertise. Certification requirements include minimum education and passing a written examination. Certified arborists must complete regular continuing education to maintain their certification. They often participate in conferences and seminars throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as an arborist?

Employment of arborists is expected to grow must faster than average for all professions, increasing 26% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The increased demand for tree care will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for arborists with extensive experience. Some job openings will stem from the need to replace arborists that retire, transfer, or leave the occupation for other reasons.

How much do arborists make?

As of January 2010, arborists with less than 1 year experience earn average hourly rates between $11.86 and $15.00. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $12.29 and $16.55 (2).

A career as an arborist is a great choice for individuals with a strong interest and passion for the care and maintenance of trees. Arborists must have a solid understanding of a variety of types of trees and necessary care techniques. Physical stamina, detail orientation, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Arborists must have excellent communication because they often deal with a variety of clients and other workers. Arborists must be able to work in a variety of weather conditions and they must always take proper safety precautions to avoid injury and hazards.

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