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Arborist Job Description, Career as a Arborist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Training/Educational Requirements: Bachelor degree required; certification recommended

Median Salary: $15 per hour

Job Prospects: Good

Job Description

Arborists take care of trees on different levels and in a variety of ways. They are hired by individuals, residents of a community, or by companies to care for trees and ensure they are healthy and aesthetically pleasing. This involves several different responsibilities and a certain knowledge of trees.

Arborists take care of trees by fertilizing, pruning, and maintaining them. They plant trees and usually do everything to care for them through their lifecycle. They are called upon to rescue trees if there is a problem, particularly if there is a larger phenomenon or tree disease throughout a given community. This is a specialty and one that is called upon, particularly in times of need.

Arborists also clear trees when needed. They work with or for cities since maintaining trees is an involved responsibility that requires knowledge and experience. Although their responsibilities are focused within landscaping, they also possess knowledge of trees to ensure they care for them properly. They are subject matter experts in their area, and are expected to have knowledge of all matters pertaining to trees and their growth.

Arborists spend most of their time inspecting trees since this is important to their maintenance. They are called upon in disaster recovery situations and when there are diseased trees. Their specialty is important not just in the maintenance of trees, but in the knowledge of how to properly remove and dispose of them in times of natural disaster.

Training/Educational Requirements

Most of the time, arborists are required to have a bachelor’s degree. It is preferred the degree be in forestry or some form of landscape architecture, or something related. At the core, having basic coursework focusing on trees and their nurturing is essential. Although it is not always required, having a certification as an arborist is helpful.

As arborists keep up with the different types of trees and their individual’s needs, it is also essential they keep up a working knowledge on the subject. They have access to training seminars and courses which teach new skills and different diseases which come in handy. Keeping their skills sharp is highly recommended and helps to keep them marketable in this profession.

How to Get Hired

The best way to get hired as an arborist is to have the educational background. Having a degree, and having a certification, is an excellent way to get a job in this field. Although this is a specialty, it is helpful to stand out from the competition by having as much background in this field as possible. The more experience built up through a variety of clients or environments, the more likely the arborist gets hired.

On-the-job training prepares an arborist for larger roles which is highly recommended. Gaining experience working for a landscape architecture or related company is also recommended, particularly at the beginning of a career. The ultimate goal for many arborists is to work as part of a city or community because this can be lucrative and long term in nature. Many arborists try to gain experience along the way in working towards getting hired into such a role.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

While people are focused on green living and doing their part to conserve the environment, the job potential for arborists rises significantly. More and more companies, individuals, and communities are finding the need for arborists who have this experience and possess the skills to care for and inspect trees. The push for green living is expected to grow only stronger which means more jobs and more potential career advancement for those working as arborists. This is good news for the environment, and even better news for those entering this field, or for those seeking more lucative positions within this field.

Working Environment

The typical working environment for an arborist varies each day. They usually work outside tending, inspecting, and caring for trees as their main responsibility. This involves traveling to different sites based on varying client needs, or it involves a long term assignment at a specific client site. It varies based on the workload an arborist maintains.

If working for a community or city directly, an arborist has an office as part of the staff and travels to various sites within their territory where maintenance and inspection are required. They are involved in community affairs, working as an integral part of the staff. The environment varies based not only on the client need, but also on the type of employer. Although most of the work for an arborist is done outdoors, they do spend some time inside in an office performing research and evaluation. If called upon times of natural disaster, they work irregular hours in potentially dangerous environments to ensure the proper care and removal of trees.

Salary and Benefits

The typical hourly wage for an arborist is around $15 per hour, however, this varies with experience. The more experience an arborist has, the more they can expect to earn. Their salary may reach $40 per hour if they have experience working for the right employer. Some arborists earn an annual salary around $44,000 per year. If working in this capacity, they usually receive standard benefits such as paid vacation and medical coverage, however, this varies by employment type and employer.

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