Arborists ensure the health and longevity of trees.
They use several techniques to maintain and care for trees, shrubs and woody plants of all sizes and ages, including pruning, plant health care and removal.
Simply put, arborists love trees and want to make sure they’re healthy and happy (kind of like a doctor for trees!). The work is physically demanding, but has so many benefits including, working outdoors, giving back to the community and the ability to determine how high you want to climb in your career!
Check out this video about the exciting opportunities in arboriculture.
If you like:
- Working with your hands
- Spending time outdoors
- Learning about the natural world
- Interacting with people of all types
- Long-term growth and stability
- Opportunities for advancement
- Work-life balance
- Portable skills you can take anywhere
- The idea of being the boss someday
- On-the-job training
Then yes, you may well make a great arborist!
Meet Some Arborists
Still not sure the #arblife is for you? Nothing beats information straight from the source! We asked a few people about why they love their career as an arborist.
Here are some of the more common jobs in the industry, at all levels of experience and expertise. Depending on the size of the company you work for, you could specialize in one specific job or cover many different jobs.
Tree Climber Arborist (The Adrenaline Enthusiast)
- Climbs trees using specialized techniques to conduct tree pruning and removal operations
- Must understand tree biodynamics for climbing and rigging procedures
- Operates several sizes of chainsaws, aloft and on the ground
- May work with mobile cranes for dismantling larger or complicated trees
Ground Operator (The Implementer)
- Must have an understanding of chainsaw use on the ground
- Operates heavy machinery to move and reduce the size of large tree pieces as they are removed. Some work sites may require the use of skid steers, grapple trucks and stump grinders
- Performs tree rigging procedures in conjunction with the climber aloft
Plant Health Care Technician (The Doctor)
- Provides structural pruning on younger trees to establish long term branching structure and health, AKA: “tree medicine”
- Monitors trees and associated plants for pest activity, and prescribes controls to improve tree health
- Must stay current with new findings in tree health applications, including pest lifecycles and controls, managing a species environment and tracking results
Aerial Lift Operator (The Pilot)
- Works with trees from a work platform that has an articulating boom that lifts the platform/bucket high into the air
- Must understand tree rigging, like the climber, and also will work with cranes for tree removals
- Knowledge of working near electrical conductors is required
Crew Leader (The Standard Setter)
- After gaining experience working different facets of a tree crew, advancing to crew leader is a great rite of passage
- Receives more training with specialized knowledge and skills to ensure the high-quality performance of crew members
- Displays a high standard of professionalism in tree work by following the A300 standards and best practices for treework
You may be wondering… “Do I need a college degree?”
No, you don’t need a degree in arboriculture to secure a good-paying job in the industry, though it is certainly an option. Many employers offer on-the-job training for the techniques and equipment you will use on a regular basis. Apprenticeships are also a great way to get on-the-job training.
There are many different ways to enter into the tree care industry, whether you’re a high school graduate, college graduate, career changer or veteran.
7 Reasons to Be an Arborist
Make a Life Change for the Better
There are endless opportunities in the arboricultural industry. You will do something new and different every single day, and you will work with amazing people who love what they do.
Have Fun at Work
Tree care is perfect for outdoors enthusiasts. Turn your passion into your profession – do the things you love to do in your spare time in your career, and you won’t work a day in your life.
Build a Lifelong Career
Tree care offers opportunities for people of any ethnicity or socioeconomic status to establish a challenging and rewarding career. With proper training, there is always room for growth in many different parts of the industry.
It’s a Great Next Step for Veterans
Entrepreneurship and military service are complementary career paths. A career in military service is an incredible way to build a backbone for your own tree care business.
Do Something Bigger Than You
Fulfilling careers in arboriculture exist right out of college for people who want make a difference and enjoy the outdoors.
It’s Not Just for the Guys
The tree care industry has gone from an unnoticed and unskilled profession to a highly-respected profession. Due to exceptional training opportunities, there is room for everyone to have a successful career in this industry – including women.
Enjoy the Change of Scenery
A cubical isn’t your only option. Tree care is a blend of business, client relations, physical work and time spent outdoors enjoying and caring for the environment. There’s something for everybody.