Have a love of plants, trees, and nature?

Then an arborist might be a great career for you!

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What Does An Arborist Do?

  • Cuts away dead or excess branches from trees or shrubs using climbing equipment or buckets of extended truck booms, or chainsaws, hooks, handsaws, shears, and clippers

  • Prunes or treats trees or shrubs using handsaws, hand pruners, clippers, and power pruners

  • Works off the ground in the tree canopy and may use truck-mounted lifts

What Does A Typical Day Look Like?

An arborist putting branches into a chopping machine

As an arborist, you can expect to:

  • Operate grounds maintenance equipment

  • Drive trucks or other vehicles to arrive at worksite

  • Trim trees or other vegetation

  • Clean, sharpen, and lubricate tools and equipment

  • Hoist tools and equipment to tree trimmers, and lower branches with ropes or block and tackle

What Skills Are Used?

Hard Skills

  • Pruning

  • Trimming

  • Sawing

  • Visual Perception

Two male arborists sawing a tree

Soft Skills

  • Interpersonal Communication

  • Critical Thinking

  • Complex Problem Solving

  • Detail-Oriented


Amanda is an arborist. What skills does she use in her day-to-day work?

Pay & Job Growth

Flaticon Icon US Salary (Median): $41,340

Projected Growth (2019-2029): Much faster than average (8% or more)

Flaticon Icon Canada Salary (Median): $43,645

Projected Growth (2019-2023): Above average (2%)

Education & Training

Boromir from Lord of the Rings saying,

  • A high school diploma is the most common type of education for an arborist.

  • Novice arborists may need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with a seasoned arborist.

  • A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.


What type of education level and/or training is required to become an arborist?

You'll Love It If You...

  • Enjoy being out in the wilderness

  • Have an interest or passion for plants and other flora

  • Enjoy working independently and as part of a team

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You May Not Love It If you...

  • Dislike being outdoors or being physically active

  • Dislike physically strenuous, sometimes repetitive work for days or weeks

  • Have a fear of heights, since an arborist spends a lot of time climbing trees

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Take Action

An animation of trees moving up and down

Ready to give this occupation a test drive? Check out the following websites for volunteer opportunities and learn more about industry trends:


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