Career Profile: Arborist

Career Profile: Arborist

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Growing plants can be fun, but it takes a lot of work. For arborists, working with plants and trees is sometimes difficult, but it can also be a good job.

Arborists work to grow plants and trees keep them healthy. They plant seeds, water and fertilize the soil, prune or trim plants if necessary, check for diseases, and do whatever they need to do to keep plants healthy. They also have experience cutting trees down and identifying them. They often have the nick name of “tree surgeon”.

Arborists might work at tree nurseries, universities, government departments, or any other places that work with the outdoors. Sometimes, their employers might ask for something special, like a group of fruit trees in a park. Often, the arborists need to look at the soil, climate conditions, and other factors to make a decision about what would grow best.

Becoming an arborist takes a lot of education. If you want to get into this job, you will need to take science subjects like chemistry and biology in high school. In the early grades, it can be helpful to learn as much as possible about how plants grow. Most arborists have at least a bachelor’s degree from a university or a technical diploma from a college.

This type of work can have a lot of variety. Some arborists spend much of their time outside, working with plants or making plans for what to do next. This work can be quite dirty, since it involves digging in the soil and working with fertilizers and water. Gardening gloves can help, but arborists who work outdoors should be prepared to come home with mud on their hands and clothes. This is especially true if people have to go out in a storm to deal with an emergency.

Do you like dealing with urgent problems or do you prefer to work quietly with time to think and plan? If you like to work ahead, you might choose to spend your time as an arborist doing research and possibly teaching classes.

Suppose that you need to replace the trees in an area where diseases or insects have been killing many of the plants. If you have good records of what you have already tried, you can more easily decide what is best to try next. If you have not been keeping good records, you might accidentally try the same thing twice and waste time that you could use for other work.

Salaries for arborists can vary a lot. Generally, they start at about $15 per hour and can rise to $29 per hour, or $32,000 to $64,000 per year. Arborists can combine a few different jobs, such as teaching a class or two during the winter and doing work out in the field during the summer.

Sometimes, arborists specialize in a certain type of plant or weather conditions. For example, the plants that grow in Ontario might not grow in British Columbia or Saskatchewan. Arborists might specialize in the kinds of plants that grow in places with mild or very harsh winters.

Working as an arborist can be very fulfilling for people who enjoy plants. You might want to consider this career.


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

Learning Path. “Arborist Career Information.” http://learningpath.org/articles/Arborist_Career_Info.html.

Payscale.com. “Arborist: Hourly Rate.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Arborist/Hourly_Rate.

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


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