How To Become an Arborist (With Steps, Skills and FAQs)

Arborist Skills You’ll Learn

This apprenticeship includes 6,000 hours of training with your Tree Care Employer and 450 classroom hours at Front Range Community College in Westminster, Colorado over the three-year period. You will be trained in a variety of skills needed to become an arborist, including: Tree trimming.

How to Become A Certified Arborist – Tree Care – Landscaping Interview with Daniel Miraval

What does an arborist do?

To prune branches and direct the growth of trees, arborists ascend into the upper limbs, or canopy, of trees using ropes and harnesses. To meet a client’s needs, they determine how much should be removed without killing the tree. Additionally, if a tree has a disease that endangers the health of nearby plants or imperils the safety of nearby structures, they may decide to completely remove it. Other arborist duties include:

What is an arborist?

An arborist is a qualified expert in the field of arboriculture, which involves using standards and procedures to maintain trees, shrubs, vines, and perennial plants. Arborists, also known as “tree surgeons,” prune, support, and fertilize trees as well as manage insects and diseases. For healthy trees and shrubs to coexist with the environment and man-made structures, they research, cultivate, and maintain them. Arborists play a crucial role in their neighborhoods, assisting residents in appreciating the aesthetic and health benefits of having trees and other plant life there. They frequently work with foresters to maintain the health of an entire grove of trees, but they usually concentrate on the long-term viability of individual trees.

Average salary for an arborist

Start your career path by completing these tasks if becoming an arborist is something you’re interested in:

1. Complete your education

The majority of employers demand that you possess a GED or high school diploma. While some arborists hold advanced degrees, others are untrained. Your career as an arborist can advance by earning an associate’s degree in environmental science, a bachelor’s degree in forestry, or a master’s degree in horticulture.

2. Earn a state license

You must have an arborist license in at least seven states. For instance, in Connecticut, employment requires a license from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Find out if a license is needed in the state where you want to work by doing some research.

3. Get on-the-job training

Consider applying for entry-level positions, internships, or professional shadowing opportunities at a tree care company. You can familiarize yourself with the equipment and techniques used by arborists while learning about tree care from knowledgeable experts. As a novice arborist, you will probably adhere to the team leader’s instructions and put in hard work by climbing into trees to perform prescribed tree trimming. Additionally, on-the-job instruction will aid you in expanding your knowledge base and improving your capacity to recognize trees and solve issues.

4. Learn basic arborist safety

In order to complete your work safely and without putting your safety at risk, it is crucial to learn about safety precautions, first aid, and best practices for arborists. When used incorrectly, power tools, large machinery, pesticides, and fertilizers used by arborists could cause them harm or an adverse reaction. Know how to use safety equipment and become familiar with security procedures before climbing a tall tree or working near power lines. Find out about the animals, plants, and insects that you might encounter.

6. Seek more responsibility

You can become an arborist by seeking out more responsibility and projects that interest you once you have experience pruning and caring for trees. Look for leadership positions where you can influence tree care at your current job. Employers look for arborists with experience in leadership and logistics in addition to their expertise in caring for trees.

7. Gain certification

According to the ISA, 1,795 hours are equivalent to one year of experience.

After obtaining the ACP credential, you can apply for the following related ISA credentials:

FAQs about being an arborist

Here are some frequently asked questions about the field of arboriculture for those who are interested:

Where do arborists work?

Common employers of arborists include utility companies, parks, golf courses, privately owned lands, landscaping firms, tree nurseries, and social advocacy groups. They are able to work in both urban and rural settings, supporting the upkeep of public trees and fostering biodiversity in undeveloped areas.

Is it dangerous to be an arborist?

In the course of their work, arborists come across many dangerous situations, such as using potentially harmful power tools, pruning unstable trees, and cutting branches close to high-voltage power lines. Due to these dangers, it is crucial that arborists receive the appropriate safety training.

Do arborists work in the winter?

Many arborists avoid working in the winter or reduce their hours because the weather is less favorable for caring for trees. Arborists frequently put in extra time in the summer and fall to make up for the slower winter season.

You might have to move somewhere with warm spring and fall seasons so you can work more outdoors. Think about your preference for staying put or your willingness to travel to treat trees in various locations.

Related careers

Here are a few jobs related to trees if you’re interested:


Where do arborists make the most money?

Highest paying cities for Arborists in United States
  • Chicago, IL. $28.69 per hour. 7 salaries reported.
  • Sacramento, CA. $28.24 per hour. 15 salaries reported.
  • Denver, CO. $28.15 per hour. 20 salaries reported.
  • Atlanta, GA. $27.77 per hour. 9 salaries reported.
  • Broomfield, CO. $27.18 per hour. …
  • Show more nearby cities.

How hard is the arborist exam?

The Certified Arborist exam requires a passing grade of at least 76%. How many questions are there on the Certified Arborist exam? There are 200 questions.

What does an arborist study?

A professional in the field of arboriculture, which involves the cultivation, management, and study of specific trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants in dendrology and horticulture, is known as an arborist, tree surgeon, or (less frequently) an arboriculturist.

Is an arborist a profession?

An arborist is a specialist who looks after trees and other woody plants. They may prune, fertilize, check for insects and diseases, offer advice on tree-related issues, and on occasion plant, transplant, and remove trees.

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