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What is an Arborist?

Arborists ensure the health and longevity of trees.

From maintaining health to pruning to removing, arborists employ a specialized set of skills to manage the wellbeing of trees, shrubs and woody plants of all sizes and ages.

Every day, arborists make their way to the forests, yards and parks of our communities to keep trees healthy and thriving. It’s physically demanding work, but the reward of spending the day outdoors, helping your community and defining how high you want your career to climb make every day an exciting adventure.

Check out the exciting opportunities in arboriculture.

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7 Reasons to Be an Arborist

Make a Life Change 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

What makes a good arborist?

While the world of arboriculture is diverse, there are some common traits people in the industry share:

  • Working with your hands
  • Spending time outdoors
  • Learning about the natural world
  • Teamwork
  • Interacting with a diverse crew
  • Looking for long-term growth and stability
  • Seeking opportunities for advancement
  • Enjoying a work-life balance
  • Portable skills you can take anywhere
  • Looking towards leadership positions
  • On-the-job training

Sound like your thing? See what opportunities await below!

Meet Our Arborists

Still not sure the #arblife is for you? Well, nothing beats information straight from the source! We asked a few folks what they love about being an arborist — and why you should consider a future in arboriculture.


Common Jobs in Arboriculture

There’s more than one way to get into the tree care industry. By considering your skills, interests and career goals, you can chart your own path and discover a job you’ll love.

Check out 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 field or cover many different roles.

Tree Climber Arborist (The Adrenaline Enthusiast)

  • Climbs trees using specialized techniques to conduct tree pruning and removal operations
  • Knowledgeable in 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)

  • Fluent in the use of chainsaws 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

Plant Health Care Technician (The Doctor)

  • Provides structural pruning on younger trees to establish long term branching structure and health — a.k.a. “tree medicine”
  • Monitors trees and associated plants for pest activity, and prescribes controls to improve tree health
  • Must stay current with new tree health findings, including pest lifecycles and controls, managing a species’ environment, and tracking results

Aerial Lift Operator (The Pilot)

  • Conducts tree maintenance via an articulating boom that elevates a work platform/bucket
  • Knowledgeable in tree rigging (like the climber) as well as cranes used for tree removal
  • Familiar with safety procedures for working near electrical conductors

Crew Leader (The Standard Setter)

  • Fluent in all facets of working on a tree crew — considered a rite of passage in arboriculture
  • 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 tree work
Introduction to Arboriculture Safety

Ready to learn more and begin your career in arboriculture?

Check out the FREE Introduction to Arboriculture Safety course by clicking the button below. Upon passing the final exam, you’ll earn a certificate to share with prospective employers. This certificate demonstrates your willingness and ability to learn valuable industry knowledge.


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Become an Expert as Your Career Grows

If becoming an arborist sounds like the right fit for you, you can get started on your career right away. Not only will you receive on-the-job training for important techniques and equipment, you don’t need a college degree to get started. Additionaly, many companies offer apprenticeships to help new employees get on-the-job training.

So, whether you’re a high school or college grad, a career changer, or a veteran, there are many ways to get your tree care career off the ground.

Check out these Industry Resources

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