Career Profile: Arborist

Career Profile: Arborist

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Many students have the chance at some point in their early years to plant a tree. They might not do much with their trees after that, but taking care of trees and other woody plants as an arborist can be a good job for people who enjoy outdoor work.

Growing healthy trees involves more than just planting them in the ground. Many trees require pruning to get rid of dead branches or to keep them looking nice and growing properly. Arborists examine trees and bushes for disease and apply treatments to help get rid of caterpillars, flies, and anything else that might cause problems. They might take soil samples to see if that is the issue. If necessary, they might remove entire trees to keep them from infecting others.

People who want to become arborists usually get either a technical diploma or a university degree as part of their training. Courses in fields such as botany, forestry, horticulture, and environmental sciences are good for people entering this type of work, and experience in growing plants at home can be helpful.

Some special skills can also be part of the job description of arborists. Anyone in this field who wants to be able to apply pesticides to trees has to be licensed because of the dangerous chemicals that are involved. The job of arborist can also include examining dead trees to see what killed them, and taking courses in plant pathology is useful for people in this field of work.

The job of arborist varies a lot from one place to another, and it can have regular hours or be very unpredictable. Many arborists spend at least part of their time doing office work, but they also have to respond to emergencies, such as when trees are knocked down during storms. They might conduct research either in the office or outdoors and later give presentations about their discoveries. Arborists usually start at about $15 per hour, but they can eventually receive about twice as much later in their careers.

The work of arborists is both an art and a science, and many types of people can enjoy a career in this field. They might end up working at a tree nursery, a park, or even a university or other kind of school. They might be involved in planning what a garden should look like or just look after one that has already grown. Arborists need to know what trees will look good together, when they blossom if they are fruit trees, how tall or wide they grow, and anything else that might affect the health and appearance of the place where they are working. A lot of this knowledge also depends on what part of the country they live in, since the trees are not the same everywhere.

Some arborist jobs involve a lot of physical activity, but there are also opportunities for people who are older or who prefer office work rather than outdoor labour. If you like to study how trees and bushes grow and what makes them thrive, becoming an arborist might be the right choice for you.


Eco Canada. “Career Profile: Arborist.” http://www.eco.ca/career-profiles/arborist/.

International Society of Arboriculture. “Careers in Arboriculture.”http://www.isa-arbor.com/certification/benefits/careerpaths.aspx

Payscale.com. “Arborist Salary (Canada). https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Arborist/Hourly_Rate.

Study.com. “Arborist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements.” http://study.com/articles/Arborist_Job_Description_Duties_and_Requirements.html

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