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Arborist

Arborists plant and maintain trees. They also treat or remove injured, diseased, and unsafe trees.

  • Avg. Salary $36,644.00
  • Avg. Wage $23.61
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,500
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Pruner, Tree Care Specialist, Tree Cutter, Tree Worker

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Arborists and Tree Service Technicians (2225.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Landscape and Horticultural Technicians and Specialists (C125) 
  • 2011 NOC: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists (2225) 
  • 2016 NOC: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists (2225) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

33%
33%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Arborist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Arborists and Tree Service Technicians
OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating equipment to apply treatments such as pruning, spraying, repairing damaged areas and injecting treatment solutions

METHODICAL

Interest in analyzing information to determine appropriate treatment methods

directive

Interest in speaking with clients on issues related to the diagnosis and treatment of injured and diseased trees and plants

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Most arborists specialize in a certain type of tree care like pruning, planting, or tree health. Their duties depend on their specialty and employer. In general, they:

  • Prune trees to maintain health and improve structure
  • Assess trees for risk
  • Treat split or broken branches by securing cables and braces
  • Clear power lines in urban and forest settings
  • Install lightning protection on trees
  • Diagnose and treat problems
  • Plant and fertilize trees
  • Advise on tree care
  • Protect trees during construction
  • Remove trees, sometimes in tight spaces
  • Appraise trees’ monetary value
  • Plan and develop budgets for tree work
  • Provide information to the public
  • Supervise tree crews or contractors
  • Inspect work to ensure high standards
  • Provide related consulting services like inventory, appraisal, or tree forensics

Some arborists are ground-based consultants. They have similar duties, but do not perform the physical work of a climbing arborist. Ground-based consulting arborists may:

  • Evaluate trees for risk
  • Appraise trees’ monetary value
  • Conduct tree inventories
  • Assess urban forest health
  • Make recommendations on urban forest management tree protection plans
  • Write reports
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Arborists generally work in cities, but rural work is becoming more common. They work in crews of 2 to 6 people. They work outdoors, often throughout the year. They may work long hours in spring and summer, especially after storms and emergencies.

Arborists use hand and power tools. They also use specialized pruning tools and application equipment. They must take care to avoid injury when working with tools, machinery and chemicals, and be aware of electrical hazards around power lines. Their work involves climbing, bending, twisting, and lifting and can be physically tiring. 

Under Part 39 of Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Code, employers must develop and implement safe work practices and procedures that include:

  • The assessment of hazards at the worksite
  • Worker training, including hazard recognition
  • The selection, limitation, operation, and maintenance of tools and equipment
  • Work positioning and fall protection
  • Emergency rescue
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Arborists need:

  • Steady nerves
  • A keen interest in arboriculture (tree care)
  • Physical strength, stamina, and agility
  • Co-ordination and manual dexterity
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Communication skills

They should enjoy:

  • Operating equipment
  • Analyzing information
  • Advising and directing others’ work

Arborists should not fear heights.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Education and training requirements vary. Employees without experience or related education may start as labourers or grounds workers. They learn on the job. High school biology, ecology, and physics courses are an asset.

Arborists should be skilled in using ladders, ropes, knots and climbing harnesses. Most emergency response units are not trained to remove an injured person from a tree. For this reason, arborists should be familiar with aerial rescue and safety techniques. Employers may send arborists to 1- or 2-day safety training and advancement technique courses. Topics may include climbing techniques or aerial rescue.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Related short courses also are available:

  • Landscape Alberta Nursery Trades Association in Edmonton offers a course in pruning.
  • Lakeland College in Vermilion offers a home study course and an exam to become a landscape pesticide applicator. This allows arborists to use insecticides and fungicides to manage insect and disease pests in trees.
Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Arborists require special certification to work on trees near energized power lines. Through Olds College, the Professional Vegetation Managers Association (PVMA) provides training for this certification.

Arborists who use pesticides to control pests must hold a Landscape Pesticide Applicator Certificate from Lakeland College.

Arborists who have at least 3 years of work experience can pursue certification by the International Society of Arboriculture.

Pesticide Applicator and Dispenser

Pesticide applicators use pesticides (chemicals) to control pests, such as weeds, diseases or destructive insects or animals, as part of their paid employment.

Pesticide dispensers sell and store pesticides as part of their paid employment.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act [pdf] and Pesticide (Ministerial) Regulation [pdf], to apply a commercial-class pesticide such as insecticide, herbicide or fungicide you must be one of the following:

  • A commercial agriculturalist (farmer)
  • A certified pesticide applicator
  • Supervised by someone who is certified

To sell pesticides you must be a certified dispenser. The 2 types of dispensers in Alberta are:

  • Lawn and garden pesticide dispensers sell domestic-class pesticides
  • Commercial dispensers sell domestic-, commercial-, and restricted-class pesticides

What You Need

Certification for applicators and dispensers require successful completion of an exam. A preparatory course is available through home study materials or classroom tutorials.

Individuals may become certified in one or more applicator classes. For detailed official information, read about the pesticide applicator and dispenser certification requirements on the Government of Alberta website.

Working in Alberta

Pesticide applicator and dispensers who are certified by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta if certified pesticide applicators and dispensers in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the Government of Alberta website.

Contact Details

Alberta Environment and Parks
Government of Alberta
9th Floor, South Petroleum Plaza 9920 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2G8
Canada

Call: 780-538-6460
Toll-free within Alberta: 310-3773, then 780-538-6460
Toll-free outside Alberta: 780-944-0313
Website: www.alberta.ca/environment-and-parks.aspx

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Arborists work for:

  • Government parks departments
  • Contracting firms
  • Utility companies
  • Large schools such as universities and colleges
  • Landscape management companies
  • Tree nurseries

Advancement is based on the arborist’s ability to keep up to date with new developments and willingness to take on responsibility. At least 2 to 3 years of extensive on-the-job training is generally needed before an arborist can lead a crew. Those with a lot of experience and extra training may advance to management positions. Some start their own companies or work as consultants.

Arborists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2225: Landscape and Horticultural Technicians and Specialists. In Alberta, 84% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $36.94 $20.64 $16.00
Overall $16.50 $40.38 $23.61 $19.95
Top $18.00 $50.23 $29.05 $30.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
Information, Culture, Recreation
ALL INDUSTRIES
Business, Building and Other Support Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

33%
33%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

34%
34%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

14%
14%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Prairie Chapter website: www.isaprairie.com

Landscape Alberta Nursery Trades Association (LANTA) website: www.landscape-alberta.com

Professional Vegetation Managers Association (PVMA) website: www.pvma.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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