How To Become An Arborist: 3 Steps To Becoming A Tree Surgeon

arborist in action

Have you ever wanted to study arboriculture? Arboriculture is the cultivation, management and study of vines, shrubs and trees. In arboriculture, students are taught how to care for different trees and plants, focusing on their health and condition. Those who finish this course becomes an arborist.

The work of an arborist is not about taking care of forests and although they might have to cut wood, their work is also not about harvesting wood. This line of work is very different from that of a logger or a forester. The arborist does have a very rewarding career especially if he or she already loves nature.

Arborists will need to climb a lot of trees. They will also have to understand why trees grow and how they can adjust or adapt to damage caused by nature or by man. It is also the arborist’s job to make sure that the trees grow properly and its branches will not cause harm to the public.

Preparing Yourself To Become An Arborist


To be an arborist is not an easy task. You need to have dedication and you need to spend a lot of time studying and mastering special skills. There is a great demand for arborists all over the world especially in the United States. On average, an arborist can earn as much as $32,590 per year.

Here’s what you need to prepare so you can become an arborist:

  • Perseverance – If you want to become an arborist, you need to have a lot of perseverance. You need to understand that there are no easy shortcuts to becoming an arborist especially if you want to pursue it as a means of livelihood. You need to put in a lot of time and effort if you want to become an arborist.
  • Money – In order to become an arborist, you should be willing to undergo formal schooling and training. It is very important that you try to get into a school that offers arboriculture so you will have a good grasp of what an arborist has to study and learn. The money will be used for your tuition fees.
  • Colleges Or Universities – You need to find an institution that can teach you about the basic principles, skills, theories and techniques in arboriculture.

How To Become An Arborist

Step 1: Get An Informal Job


There are some companies who might be willing to give you an informal job in this area. There will be certified arborists who can help train you and guide you into knowing what you must do to keep the plant or trees healthy. You will not need any formal training to get the informal job as a grounds person.

Men and women who have just finished school can try to find a job opening as an assistant to an arborist. But keep in mind that this will not be an easy job to do as you will be doing a lot of manual labor given the fact that you are in an informal job and that you lack certifications.

Step 2: Get Training Course

arborist about to work

This option will require that you go to a school or an institution that offers training courses in tree climbing or in other skills related to arboriculture. This can help you know more about what an arborist has to handle on a day to day basis. It can also help you learn basic techniques and a little bit of theory.

These training courses will be able to help you get a higher pay than those who want to get an informal job without any training at all. Under the supervision of an arborist, you might be able to work as an assistant, or as a climbing arborist depending on your skill and your training.

You can also go to colleges or companies that offer arborist apprenticeship programs. This will allow you to get hands on experience and it will also allow you to learn from the professionals themselves. This option might also help you learn more about the theories used in arboriculture.

Step 3: Get A Diploma Or Degree In Arboriculture Or Urban Forestry


Go to a college or university and enroll yourself there so you will be able to get a diploma or degree in Arboriculture. This will allow you to get in depth knowledge about how trees grow and about what they need from the environment. You will also get basic training if you choose this option.

The college or university’s instructors will teach you how to climb trees, how to use chainsaws and also how to do the proper arborist techniques. After you get the degree or diploma, you can opt to become a certified arborist. The degree and certification will allow you to get a higher salary in the industry.

With enough experience, you can also opt to be a plant healthcare technician, an arborist representative or even a tree consultant. These jobs focus more on the theories instead of the manual work. They are also safer, less physically demanding and this can also allow you to get a better salary.



If you want to be an arborist, you need to persevere and you need to put in the time and the hard work. It is very important that you try to enroll yourself in a college or university so you can reach your full potential as an arborist. You should also aim to get certified so you can get the highest salary possible.

If you do not want to go to college on the other hand, I highly recommend that you try to get training or vocational courses so you can equip yourself better. These training courses will allow you to get work from different companies in the industry.

Do you want to be an arborist? Tell us more about your plans to excel in this field in the comment section.

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