Arbor Training Guide

How to Become an Arborist

Do you like to work outdoors? Do you like the idea of working with trees? Would you like a career that pays well and allows you to enjoy days where no two are the same? Would you like a career that has practically no limited to your income potential and the opportunities for advancement? Then perhaps a career as an arborist is for you.



The Tree Care Industry

Look around you. Practically everywhere you look you will see a tree. Unfortunately, trees don’t just grow on their own. Sometimes they need help just to keep growing. They can also get diseases and become infested with insects that can harm and eventually destroy them. From time to time trees also need to be trimmed and stakes to help them grow healthy and long lives. They don’t get like this on their own. Instead, they have to have people who are specially trained to take care of them for all of this. The tree care field is called arboriculture, and the professionals who perform these jobs are called arborists.

Arboriculture is both an art and a science. Jobs as arborists require those who perform them to be skilled at many of the physical, technological, and science-based requirements they encounter. This requires that those who have a career in arboriculture are willing to specialize in one of the many areas available in the field. This includes everyone from those who work on the lifts in the trees to those with high level management jobs. Regardless of their titles, they are all considered arborists, and each have training, courses of experience and other requirements that are unique to their roles in the field.

Arborist Services

The services that arborists provide vary widely. Although those who work in the trees themselves, planting, trimming, and providing other hands-on services are the most obvious examples of the profession, there are others who are highly trained in the care, supervision and management of these workers. All of this is due to the fact that arborists provide many services, all in direct or indirect support roles. These include but are not limited to the following:

* Climbers. Climbers work for commercial enterprises, municipalities, and utilities to care for trees within their responsibilities. 
* Crew Leaders. Crew leader supervise the work done by climbers. Supervisors not only understand the work that needs to be done, but also what it takes to get it done.
* Trainers, Safety Coordinators. Getting jobs done is important, but getting it done safely is also important to those who do the work. Trainers and safety coordinators teach those who do the job both skills.
* Everyone Else. The field of arboriculture encompasses many skill sets to do the many jobs that cover the field. There are those who are familiar with arboriculture who sell the services, supervise, and provide other support and management roles to those in the field.

Arborist Training

As wide as the field of arboriculture may seem it is only matched by the variety of training programs made available to those who wish to enter and advance in the field. Even those at what seem to be the most basic levels of the field are well trained at what they do in order that trees may live long and healthy lives. In order to do these jobs, everyone from the most hands-on worker to the highest level of manager has normally been through complete training programs, or even series of training programs to ensure that they are able to render the best possible services to whomever they choose to work for. Besides the programs offered by organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), colleges and universities offer everything from basic vocational training to undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees in many areas of the field.

It should also be noted that even those who choose to earn degrees and certificates in arboriculture might also elect to engage in cross-training in order to allow themselves the most variety of career options in the organizations they work with. 

The best way to enter the field of arboriculture is to simply ask someone, especially anyone who is performing the type of work that they might be interested in joining. These people can often advise someone on how to not only join in their particular specialty, but any number of others in the field. The ISA can also provide a list of training opportunities for potential arborists within their organization and at others outside of that group.