How to Become an Arborist: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pursuing a Career in Arboriculture

How to Become an Arborist: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pursuing a Career in Arboriculture

Do you enjoy working in the natural world? Are you interested in making trees healthier than are in your backyards or gardens? If so, then the career of an arborist is the best option. How to become an arborist?

You may have a love to work in the field of trees and plants or have studied the opportunities for earnings within this field You must follow certain steps to become an Arborist who is ISA certified arborist.

If you’re looking to begin an arborist business as an expert arborist, this guide is the best guide to learning the fundamentals of this field of work.

What is an Arborist?

how to become an arborist

An experienced professional who has accreditation and a license to work using arboriculture techniques is known as an arborist. Arboriculture refers to the practice of using standard techniques to provide complete tree-care solutions.

An arborist maintains trees and other plants. They trim, fertilize, and support tree biology, as well as deal with pests and diseases. Arborists work for companies like golf courses and universities. They are hired by landscaping and tree service firms for residential and commercial properties.

Arborists play a vital role in urban tree care. They determine how to treat and maintain trees safely. Becoming an arborist requires knowledge and skills.

What does an Arborist do?

Arborists manage landscape maintenance and duties that help keep the trees in good health. trees. When they observe unfavorable tree health indicators They collect samples of the tree and then test them for identifying what is causing the symptoms.

In the future, they will take appropriate steps to address the tree issues with specific practices for tree care business arboriculture. They employ safe pesticides when dealing with some of the most serious tree ailments. In addition, landscaping companies employ an arborist to take on the tree care tasks.

Arborists trim away the rebellious or dead trees that could pose a hazard to utility or power lines,, sidewalks, or roadways trimming trees in winter. There are various specializations arborists qualified arborists can decide to pursue as a profession. In addition, they can earn accreditation for each of the areas of specialization to increase the possibilities of earnings in the field.

Arborists are able to use their ability and endurance to climb trees, and then remove limbs that are infected with large amounts of. In addition to the abilities the arborists have, they collaborate with groups to complete large-scale urban forestry tasks.

In some particular projects, whether private or public for specific projects, they have the obligation to predict how the growing of a tree could affect the surrounding area. Community members hire arborists who are independent to supply trees, shrubs, and other plants to private and public areas within the area.

The work requires that a tree climber and an arborist employ harnesses and ropes in order to climb trees and climb their limbs to the top. They cut branches at the top, and offer direction on the development of a particular tree.

They’re trained to operate various kinds of tools and equipment regularly that includes truck tractors, chippers sprayers, as well as electric saws. Arborists who climb trees carry all the tools needed to the top of the limb and then cuts down low-hanging, obstructive, or dead branches of trees.

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Once they have cut the branches they carefully lower them using blocks, ropes, and tackle. They then remove the limbs they cut by feeding them into chippers, who remove them.

For you to better comprehend the work of an arborist, these are the tasks that they’re required to fulfill:

  • Trees need to be planned and maintained
  • Inspect soil conditions
  • Prepare a landscaping plan
  • Remove all debris and dirt off the ground
  • Control the turf that is growing of trees and shrubs
  • Make use of mechanical tools with the appropriate knowledge
  • Keep track of the upkeep of particular plants and trees.
  • Give the landscapers valuable maintenance routines for trees

A lot of people confuse two different jobs: an arborist or a forester. Both are distinct professional roles that have different responsibilities. Foresters are professionals that manage to identify trees and the cultivation of an entire forest. An or isa certified arborist credential is responsible for specific trees. Each profession requires different abilities to become specialists in their field.

Becoming an Arborist: 6 Essential Steps to Launch Your Tree Care Journey

Becoming an Arborist

How to become an arborist? If you’re interested in becoming an arborist and working on your own or starting your own landscaping business follow these steps that will guide you through how to go about it:

Step one: Complete the formal education

Employer and licensing authorities must have at the minimum a high school diploma or a GED in order to qualify as an official educational. Some arborists have higher qualifications, such as a bachelor’s degree in horticulture/forestry or an associate degree in environmental science

The requirement to earn a bachelor’s degree isn’t required for those who want to become arborists who wish to work in this field. The degree you have in possession will boost your odds to be hired at a top-paying position even with a beginner’s degree.

Step two: Apply for the state license

Seven states in the US must be granted an arborist’s license in order to have arborists work on their own or in the capacity of a business within the state. Differ regarding arborist licensing specifications.

Contact the state authorities in any of these seven states and request a license in accordance with the operational conditions.

In all other states, you’re free to work without a state-issued license. However, the local license may be necessary depending on the specific service you offer.

Other than that it is also necessary to have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) when you are specializing in operating heavy vehicles, such as tractors or trucks.

Acquire on-job training 

Step three: Acquire on-job training 

In certain states, securing the highest-paying arborist jobs could be a challenge right in the beginning, despite possessing degrees or licenses. Thus, an entry-level position or apprenticeship with a tree care company or firm is more beneficial. Experience under the supervision of professionals can help you grow in your profession.

There is the option of joining an arborist academy to take specific training courses in arboriculture. No matter what you decide to do you choose, it is essential that you follow the instructions of your instructor and acquire the essential tree care skills and abilities for the specific job.

If you have gained experience through work-based training, you’ll be able to recognize trees and spot ailments more accurately.

Step four: It is necessary to understand and study the guidelines associated with an arborist’s profession

If you’re looking to be an arborist, then you need to learn a few aspects other than arborist license and certifications. Security is the top priority while engaged in any job within the tree-care industry.

Arborists specifically are exposed to a wide range of dangers in their daily and on-the-job training. This is why it is recommended to an arborist be aware of safety precautions and strategies for safe working as well as first aid in order to deal with unexpected situations on the work site.

Arborists need to use a variety of protective gear and equipment prior to using machines, power tools, and fertilizers. The equipment or essentials could be harmful to you or cause irritation to the skin. Using proper protective equipment on the work site is crucial.

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Be aware of safety procedures when you climb tall trees that have electric lines. Then be aware of the harmful species of plants and insects that you encounter as you work in the wild.

How to Get Certified by the International Society of Arboriculture

Step five: How to Get Certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA certification)

If you want to be a certified arborist and gain an edge in the eyes of employers, you are able to obtain the ISA arborist certification certificate in a variety of specializations. It is necessary to prove the knowledge you have acquired in a branch of arboriculture.

The Arborist Certification Program offered through ISA is divided into several areas or specialties of arboriculture. These include:

ISA accreditation for arborists municipal specialist

  • ISA accreditation for utility specialists in arborists
  • ISA accreditation for tree climber specialists for climbers
  • ISA certificate for tree work aerial lift specialists
  • ISA board the certification of master arborists by the ISA board.

The criteria for eligibility to apply for this arborist certification include:

  • Minimum of three years of work experience in the natural world as a tree expert or plant healthcare technician or landscaping expert. (OR)
  • An associate arborist’s degree that includes the minimum requirement of two courses specifically related to arboriculture, and 2 years of working experience working in the industry. (OR)
  • Bachelor’s degree that consists of four Arboriculture courses as well as 1 year of experience in the field.

According to ISA, one year’s working experience is equivalent to 1795 work hours. Therefore, you must calculate the number of hours you work that are required on paper in order for you to be able to apply to get these certificates.

Step six: Work independently or start an arborist business

If you’ve got all the certifications required as well as an arborist license and expertise to be an arborist degree, then you are able to be hired by an organization that pays a good salary or set up your own business.

If you’re starting your own company it is possible to take on big or smaller-scale residential and commercial projects that can yield huge earnings. If you are knowledgeable regarding the qualifications the arborist should possess for high-quality output of service and you are able to hire arborists only the most skilled employees for your staff.

In addition to arborist abilities, You may also need to acquire management and business techniques for running your business smoothly.

Jobs and Certified Arborist Salary

Jobs and Certified Arborist Salary: What You Need to Know

There are currently over 8,444 arborists on the payroll across the US. The federal sector pays the highest amount to arborists since many public buildings are managed by the government. Thus, maintaining the trees and keeping the surroundings of identify trees secure from accidental removal is crucial for the authorities to take after. This is why they recruit arborists when they need them.

The median annual wage for arborists is $35,645. San Francisco, CA’s arborists have the highest annual average pay of $42,286. A starting salary for an arborist is just $25,000.

Arborists will be more likely to find work within US private firms than Government agencies as they are more likely to have vacancies in the field of arborists than those that the government offers.

In addition to jobs, many arborists are launching their own tree nurseries trimming, landscaping, or tree-care companies to convert their expertise into maximum profits. The number of companies that trim trees across the US has an excellent return on investment.

This explains the possibility that aspiring arborists can become employees or manage their own businesses.


To become an arborist, there are several steps you can take. First, you should obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. Then, consider pursuing a degree in arboriculture, forestry, or a related field to gain a deeper understanding of tree biology, identification, and maintenance practices.

It is also beneficial to gain practical experience through internships, apprenticeships, or entry-level positions at tree care companies or municipal parks. Additionally, you may want to consider obtaining professional certifications, such as the IS of Arboriculture’s Certified Arborist designation, which demonstrates your expertise and commitment to the field.

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Continuing education and staying updated on the latest research and techniques in arboriculture is also important in becoming a successful arborist.


What type of arborist makes the most money?

The type of arborist that makes the most money is typically a consulting arborist or a tree surgeon. Consulting arborists specialize in providing expert advice and assessments for various tree care services, preservation, and risk management. They often work with government agencies, private companies, or individuals who require professional guidance in tree-related matters.

Tree surgeons, on the other hand, are highly skilled in performing surgical procedures on trees, such as pruning, trimming, or removing diseased or hazardous cutting tree branches. Due to the specialized knowledge and technical expertise required for these roles, consulting arborists and tree surgeons tend to command higher salaries than other types of arborists.

How do I become a certified arborist in Pennsylvania?

In order to become an arborist certified in Pennsylvania You must satisfy certain criteria set in the IS of Arboriculture (ISA certification). First, you must be able to demonstrate a minimum of three years of experience working in an arboriculture-related subject.

You can gain this experience through working with an industry group for a tree care academy or completing a master’s diploma in arboriculture, horticulture or forestry field, or any similar subject.

After you’ve gained the necessary prior experience, you may make an application for an ISA’s certified arborist exam. The exam covers a variety of aspects of arboriculture. This includes the biology of maintaining trees, pruning techniques, assessment of risk to trees, and diagnosis evaluation.

If you pass the ISA certification accredited arborist certification exam, you’ll be granted the accredited arborist degree, which demonstrates your knowledge and expertise regarding arboriculture.

How do I become a certified arborist in NY?

To become a certified arborist in New York, there are several steps you need to take. Firstly, you must meet the eligibility requirements set by the International of Arboriculture (ISA certification), which include a minimum of three years of full-time work experience related to arboriculture and a high school diploma or equivalent.

Once you meet these requirements, you can apply to take the certified arborist license exam, which assesses your knowledge and skills in areas such as tree anatomy and biology, tree identification, tree risk assessment, and tree management practices.

It is recommended to study and prepare for the exam using the resources provided by ISA certification, such as study guides and practice tests. After passing the exam, you will be certified arborist as an arborist and can join the network of professionals in the field, gaining credibility and potential career opportunities in New York.

How do I become an arborist in Hawaii?

To become an arborist in Hawaii, there are several steps you need to take. Firstly, it is essential to gain a strong knowledge and understanding of trees, their biology, and proper tree care industry association techniques. You can achieve this by pursuing a degree or certification program in forestry, horticulture, or arboriculture.

Additionally, gaining hands-on experience through apprenticeships or working with established arborists can be invaluable.

In Hawaii, it is also important to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations and requirements set by the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, as they may have specific licensure or certification requirements for arborists.

Finally, networking within the industry and joining professional organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA certification) can provide valuable resources and opportunities for growth in your career as an arborist in Hawaii.