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Developing Your Career
Arboriculture is a highly rewarding profession with multiple career paths, all of which involve looking after the health and well-being of trees. It is a career with global opportunities. Wherever trees grow, there is a community of arborists.
A person who will be a successful arborist respects trees, enjoys spending time outside, is conscientious about safety, and is dedicated to lifelong learning. Tree care experience, when combined with education, can eventually lead to research, management, training, sales, consulting, and more. All advanced arboriculture positions require a mix of experience and education.
Choosing a SectorArborists can be found in the commercial and residential, municipal, and utility areas. These areas highlight which types of clients you will work with as well as your future career path.
Commercial & ResidentialCommercial and residential arborists work with clients who have a varying amount of trees in their care, such as campuses, parks, hospitals, and residential homeowners. These roles involve planning for and delivering professional tree care and maintenance. A commercial and residential arborist may eventually move to a management position, become a safety coordinator, work in sales, or even own their own tree care business.
MunicipalMunicipal arborists are responsible for the long-term care and management of city trees. Municipal work is carried out in accordance with an urban forestry management plan or strategy. Outdoor duties include planting, pruning, protection, and removal programs for public trees and associated vegetation. Municipal arborists are also involved in budget preparation and interaction with the local community, politicians, and other agencies. Municipal activities often encompass multi-disciplinary activities such as forestry, ecology, hydrology, atmospheric science, energy, and stormwater control.
UtilityThese arborists work on electric overhead utility lines. They are responsible for all vegetation management programs, such as electrical line clearance, tree maintenance, and advising clients on planting in areas near power lines. Utility professionals are typically referred to as system foresters, system utility arborists, or urban forestry specialists. Depending on the size of the utility company and its vegetation management program, several utility arborists may be working in the program and across a designated geographical area.
To view Outside Career Opportunities, click on this link.
Starting in ArboricultureIn the early stages of an arborist's career, gaining practical experience is a tremendous grounding and educational component. You must also pursue formal education if you wish to advance beyond an entry level position.
Gaining ExperienceThe entry arboriculture position is called a ground worker. The role of ground worker provides training and practice as a tree climber and aerial lift operator. Even if you intend to enter a position that does not involve physically working with trees, the experience of groundwork and climbing will grant invaluable insight. Ground worker responsibilities generally include the following:
To be a ground worker, you'll need a high school diploma or equivalent. A commercial driver’s license, or the ability to obtain one, is also recommended, as it may be a requirement for certain companies. For municipal groundwork, you may need a state
pesticide applicator license or the ability to gain one. Before you begin work, you should be trained in the following areas:
Ground workers usually progress to the position of climber, aerial lift operator, or other advanced maintenance positions. Some ground workers begin in one area, such as commercial and residential, and later move horizontally to another area,
such as utilities.
Advancing Through Education
Need a scholarship? Scholarships are available from the TREE Fund.
Building Your Reputation