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Arborist

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

Also Known As

Pruner, Tree Care Specialist, Tree Cutter, Tree Surgeon, 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

  • 2225.1: Arborists and Tree Service Technicians

2006 NOC-S

  • C125: Landscape and Horticultural Technicians and Specialists

2011 NOC

  • 2225: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists

2016 NOC

  • 2225: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists

2021 NOC

  • 22114: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists

2023 OaSIS

  • 22114.05: Landscape gardeners
Duties
Updated Mar 17, 2023

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 branches away from power lines in urban and forest settings
  • Install lightning protection on trees
  • Diagnose and treat problems
  • Plant and fertilize trees
  • Offer advice on tree care
  • Protect trees from any construction happening nearby
  • Remove trees, sometimes from 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 (determining whether human negligence contributed to damage caused by a tree that’s fallen)

Arborists may be climbing or ground-based consultants. Ground-based arborists have similar duties, but do not perform the physical work of climbing. Ground-based arborists may:

  • Evaluate trees for risk
  • Appraise trees’ monetary value
  • Conduct tree inventories
  • Assess urban forest health
  • Help manage urban forests by planning tree protection measures
  • Write reports
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 17, 2023
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Most arborists work in cities, but rural work is becoming more common. They work outdoors in crews of 2 to 6 people, often throughout the year, with some time indoors doing paperwork. They may work long hours in spring and summer, and after storms or emergencies.

Arborists use hand and power tools. They also use specialized pruning tools and pesticide-application equipment. They must avoid injury when working with tools, machinery, chemicals, and electrical hazards such as power lines. Their work involves climbing, bending, twisting, and lifting and can be physically demanding.

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

  • Assessing hazards at the worksite
  • Training workers, including hazard recognition
  • Selecting, limiting, operating, and maintaining tools and equipment
  • Positioning work and ensuring fall protection
  • Performing emergency rescues
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Arborists and Tree Service Technicians

2006 NOC: 2225.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 17, 2023

Arborists need:

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

They should enjoy:

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

Arborists should not fear heights.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists

2016 NOC: 2225

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 122 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Sep 26, 2023 and May 28, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Work Setting: Various locations
Attention to detail
Tasks: Plant and move trees
Tasks: Examine trees and shrubs to diagnose problems and disease
Tasks: Water and tend to plants, lawns and/or gardens
Work Site Environment: Outdoors
Tasks: Apply various treatments such as pruning, spraying, repairing damaged areas and injecting with treatment solutions
Tasks: Plant and maintain private and public lawns and gardens
Construction Specialization: Organized
Construction Specialization: Team player
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 17, 2023
  • Minimum Education Varies

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 courses, such as aerial rescue and climbing techniques.

Related short courses also are available:


Related Education

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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 17, 2023
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

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.

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Pesticide Applicator and Dispenser

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

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. There are 2 types of dispensers in Alberta:

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

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Pesticide Applicator and Dispenser.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 17, 2023

Arborists work for:

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

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.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2225: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists occupational group, 79.7% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

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

In Alberta, the 2225: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.7% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 35 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 17, 2023

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists

2016 NOC: 2225
Average Wage
$23.62
Per Hour
Average Salary
$38,302.00
Per Year
Average Hours
37.2
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
9.7
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2225 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $37.90 $21.39 $18.00
Overall $18.00 $42.28 $23.62 $20.00
Top $20.00 $43.71 $26.82 $24.00

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
42%
42%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
64%
64%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
8%
8%
Vacancy Rate
2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 17, 2023

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 17, 2023. 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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