How to Become an Arborist (Meaning, Career, Benefits, FAQs)

If you love trees and want to make a difference in the world, a career as an arborist may be the perfect fit for you.

The best way to turn your love of nature into a lucrative profession is to educate, train, and experience yourself in the field.

Always put safety first, learn as much as possible, and check out all the many jobs for arborists.

Let’s dig in and find out how to become an arborist if you’re ready to start a path that will bring you closer to nature and positively affect the world around you.

Who is an Arborist?

An arborist is a person who has mastered the art and science of tree care through years of study and practice.

Other names for this profession are tree surgeon, arboriculturist, and tree specialist. Some landscapers go into business for themselves after gaining experience.

Is Being an Arborist A Good Career Path?

Yes, it is. Becoming an arborist uniquely blends passion, purpose, and profession.

Arborists are not just tree care professionals; they are stewards of the environment, ensuring the health and vitality of trees for generations to come.

If you sincerely appreciate nature and want to positively impact the world, a career as an arborist can provide you the fulfillment you seek.

With the increasing focus on environmental conservation and urban forestry, the demand for skilled arborists is rising.

This translates to a stable job market and ample career opportunities. Whether you work for a tree care company, a government agency, or start your own business, the possibilities are endless.

Here are some Job Opportunities for Arborists:

1. Tree Care Company:

Tree services include trimming, removing diseased or unsafe branches, ensuring the health of the tree, cabling and bracing, transplanting, consulting, fertilizing, and even protecting it from lightning.

Most arborists work for businesses focusing on tree-related services like pruning, felling, and diagnosing tree illness.

These businesses typically cater to many customers, including private citizens, businesses, and government entities.

2. Consulting Arborist:

Consulting Arborists are the go-to tree specialists, providing customers with an unbiased, all-encompassing perspective on tree care for the sake of everyone and everything around them.

They offer their professional opinions and evaluations to clients like homeowners, builders, and even governments.

They may examine the potential dangers of trees, develop strategies for dealing with them, and offer advice on related matters.

3. Utility Arborist:

A Utility Arborist is a trained expert who removes or trim branches and limbs from trees and other woody plants that are too close to, or potentially make contact with, power lines and other electrical infrastructure.

These professionals work at great heights in urban, rural, and off-road settings by employing various climbing techniques, climbing systems, and mechanized equipment.

Utility companies hire arborists to manage trees near power lines and other utility infrastructure.

These arborists ensure that trees are properly pruned or removed to prevent interference with the power supply and minimize the risk of outages.

How to Become an Arborist

1. Obtain a High School Diploma:

A high school diploma is given to students who finish four years of schooling, usually from grade 9 to grade 12.

While a high school diploma is typically the minimum requirement, pursuing a degree or certification in arboriculture or a related field can significantly enhance your knowledge and job prospects.

2. Earn a College Degree:

If you want to advance your career as an arborist, getting a degree in environmental science, forestry, or horticulture will give you the foundational knowledge you need.

They may also offer hands-on experience through internships or fieldwork, allowing you to apply your knowledge in real-world settings.

3. Earn a Certification and Licensing

You may need a different license, depending on where you live. A license may be necessary in certain jurisdictions to work as an arborist legally.

Find out the rules in your area, and follow them. You need an arborist’s license in at least 7 states.

In Connecticut, for instance, you need a permit from the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Find out if a license is needed in the state where you plan to work.

On the other hand, the Certified Arborist (CA) and Tree Worker Climber Specialist (TWCS) are just two of the credentials that may be earned through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).

To earn one of these credentials, you must first demonstrate mastery of broad areas of knowledge, including tree biology, pruning methods, safety protocols, and more.

4. Gaining Practical Experience

Although formal training and accreditation can help set you on the path to becoming a good arborist, nothing beats getting your hands dirty.

Look for internships or volunteer opportunities with tree-care businesses or groups. You can hone your talents under the tutelage of expert tree surgeons in this way.

5. Research and Continuous Learning:

The field of arboriculture is constantly evolving, with new research and best practices emerging regularly.

Engaging in continuous learning and professional development is essential to stay at the forefront of the industry.

After gaining some hands-on experience in tree maintenance and care, you can narrow your focus and become an arborist specialist by taking on more challenging and rewarding work.

If you want to decide about tree care at your existing job, you should look for leadership positions.

In addition to technical expertise in tree maintenance, employers value candidates who can demonstrate leadership and organizational qualities.

Requirements to Become an Arborist

1. Understanding of Tree Biology and Horticulture:

You need expert knowledge of tree biology and gardening. An arborist’s knowledge of tree species, growth patterns, and potential problems is essential.

Tree trimming and removal experts must know how to do their jobs safely and effectively without damaging nearby vegetation or buildings.

2. Physical Strength and Stamina

In addition to technical knowledge, arborists must also possess physical strength and stamina.

The job often involves climbing trees, operating heavy machinery, and working in challenging weather conditions. Being physically fit and able to handle the demands of the job is crucial.

3. Communication Skills

Arborists must have excellent problem-solving and communication skills. They need to be able to assess tree health, identify potential risks, and recommend appropriate solutions.

Effective communication is also essential when interacting with clients, colleagues, and other stakeholders.

How Much Does An Arborist Earn?

When looking at conservation scientists and foresters, the BLS classifies arborists as part of that larger group.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 7% growth in the number of jobs in this field between now and 2030.

There are expected to be about 4,000 new jobs each year for conservation biologists, foresters, and arborists during the next decade.

Numerous advancement possibilities exist when one acquires relevant work experience and knowledge.

You may work up to management, launch your tree service, or focus on a subfield within the industry like urban forestry or tree preservation.

New prospects and higher-paying roles may present themselves due to ongoing professional growth and networking.

Tools and Equipment Used by Arborists

1. Safety Equipment:

There are several risks that arborists are exposed to; therefore, having the right safety gear is essential.

All professionals working with trees must wear safety gear, including helmets, goggles, gloves, and earplugs.

2. Pole Saws and Loppers

Reaching and cutting back on high branches requires a pole saw and loppers.

These long-reach instruments can be found in several lengths and designs, such as telescoping and non-telescoping varieties.

Loppers feature a cutting head for snipping branches, while pole saws have a saw blade at the end.

Both aids are crucial in decreasing the amount of vertical movement required, which improves productivity and security.

These tools remove dead or diseased branches, shape tree canopies, and promote healthy growth.

3. Climbing gear

Climbing gear is another crucial aspect of an arborist’s toolkit. It includes harnesses, ropes, carabiners, and ascenders, which enable arborists to ascend and work in trees safely.

When climbing trees, safety and speed are the most important things. Arborists need various tools for climbing, such as harnesses, ropes, carabiners, and ascenders.

Specialized climbing techniques are also employed to minimize damage to the tree and ensure the safety of the arborist.

Safety Considerations To Become An Arborist

1. Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

Always wear the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).

This includes helmets, safety glasses, gloves, and protective clothing. PPE helps to minimize the risk of injury from falling objects, sharp tools, or hazardous substances.

2. Adhere to Training:

Training and safety procedures must be followed strictly. Take the time to learn proper climbing skills, emergency protocols, and equipment usage.

Never work alone in dangerous conditions; instead, use standard procedures in the industry, such as doing risk assessments before beginning tree work.

3. Proper Equipment Maintenance:

To ensure that a company’s tools and machinery remain in top shape, it’s essential to do regular maintenance. Maintenance entails checking on assets frequently and fixing any problems that are found.

Regular equipment maintenance ensures safety. Inspect your tools and equipment regularly and promptly address any issues or malfunctions.

This will help prevent accidents and ensure your equipment is in optimal working condition.

FAQs on How to Become an Arborist

Where do most arborist work?

Arborists (Tree surgeons) can work with local governments, utility companies, specialized firms, or huge corporations subcontracting with these sectors. Some people in this industry create their own companies after accumulating experience.

Who are the best arborists in the world?

Kiah Martin

Is arborist a good trade?

If you enjoy working independently outside, using your wits to prevent and solve problems and can work up a sweat in various climates, then a career as an arborist may be the perfect fit.

Are arborists in demand in Canada?

With a rising demand for arborists comes a heightened requirement for a standardized certification process to guarantee arborists’ safety and sustain industry standards.


If you love trees and want to make a difference in the world, a career as an arborist may be the perfect fit for you.

The best way to turn your love of nature into a lucrative profession is to educate, train, and experience yourself in the field.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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Paschal Uchechukwu
Paschal Uchechukwu

Paschal Uchechukwu Christain is a professional and passionate SEO writer on Education, including homeschool, college tips, high school, and travel tips.

He has been writing articles for over 5 years. He is the Chief Content Officer at School & Travel.

Paschal Uchechukwu Christain holds a degree in Computer Science from a reputable institution. Also, he is passionate about helping people get access to online money-making opportunities.

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