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Arborists plant and maintain healthy trees, and treat or remove injured, diseased and hazardous trees.

  • Avg. Salary $44,721.00
  • Avg. Wage $25.48
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,600
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Pruner, Tree Care Specialist, Tree Cutter

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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not 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

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


Interest in analyzing information to determine appropriate treatment methods


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

Updated Jul 07, 2016

Most arborists specialize in a particular area of tree care such as pruning, planting or tree health maintenance. Arborists' duties vary depending on where they are employed and their specialization. In general, however, they:

  • prune trees to maintain tree health and improve structure
  • evaluate trees for risk and treat splitting or breaking branches by securing cables and braces to large limbs
  • install lightning protection on trees
  • diagnose and treat problems
  • plant recommended trees in appropriate locations
  • fertilize trees and provide advice on tree care
  • provide tree protection during construction activities
  • remove trees, sometimes in confined spaces
  • appraise the monetary value of trees
  • plan and develop budgets for tree work
  • provide information to the public
  • supervise the work of tree crews or private contractors
  • inspect work to ensure high standards
  • provide related consulting services (for example, tree care, risk assessment, inventory, appraisal, tree forensics).

Some arborists are ground-based consultants who may have duties similar to those mentioned above but do not perform the physical work of a climbing arborist. Ground-based consulting arborists may:

  • evaluate trees for risk
  • appraise the monetary value of trees
  • conduct tree inventories
  • assess urban forest health and make recommendations on urban forest management.
Working Conditions
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Arborists generally work in urban settings in crews of two to six people. The work is performed primarily outdoors and, in many cases, work continues throughout the year. Long hours may be required in spring and summer, particularly after storms and emergencies.

Arborists use hand and power tools, specialized pruning tools and spraying equipment. They must observe safety precautions to avoid injury when working with tools and machinery, and dangerous chemicals. The work involves considerable physical exertion: climbing, bending and twisting, and lifting items weighing up to 20 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Arborists need the following characteristics:

  • the strength, stamina and agility required to climb trees and lift heavy objects
  • steady nerves and no fear of heights
  • good co-ordination and manual dexterity
  • a keen interest in arboriculture (tree care)
  • mechanical aptitude
  • the ability to communicate with other workers and the public.

They should enjoy operating equipment, analyzing information to determine appropriate treatment methods, and advising and directing the work of others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Education and training requirements for arborists vary. Inexperienced employees who do not have related formal education may start as labourers or grounds workers and learn on the job. High school physics courses are an asset.

At least two to three years of extensive on-the-job training generally is required before an arborist is ready to lead a crew on some tasks. Employers may send employees to one or two day safety training courses on topics such as climbing techniques or aerial rescue. 

Arborists should be skilled in the use of ladders, ropes, knots and climbing saddles. Since most emergency response units are not trained to remove an injured person from a tree, arborists should be familiar with aerial rescue and safety techniques. 

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 Associationin Edmonton offers a course in pruning
  • Lakeland College in Vermilion offers a home study course and an examination to become a Landscape Pesticide Applicator. Being an applicator authorizes arborists to use insecticides and fungicides to manage insect and disease pests in trees.
Certification Requirements
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Arborists require special certification to work on trees near energized power lines. Through Olds College, the Industrial Vegetation Management Association of Alberta 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 three years of work experience can pursue certification by the International Society of Arboriculture.

Under Part 39 of Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Code, employers must develop and implement safe work practices and procedures that include (a) the assessment of hazards at the work site, (b) worker training, including hazard recognition, (c) the selection, limitation, operation and maintenance of tools and equipment, (d) work positioning and fall protection, and (e) emergency rescue.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Arborists are employed by:

  • municipal, provincial and national parks departments
  • firms that contract tree care services to government departments
  • utility companies
  • large schools such as universities
  • commercial or residential landscape management companies
  • tree nurseries.

Advancement is based on the arborist's ability to keep up to date with new developments in the field and willingness to take on greater responsibilities. Arborists who have considerable experience and additional training may advance to technical management positions. Some establish their own companies or work as self-employed 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 in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth(work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • 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 Jul 07, 2016

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
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $37.58 $18.98 $16.00
Overall $20.00 $44.97 $25.48 $23.68
Top $22.00 $50.61 $31.06 $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.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related High School Subjects
  • Science
    • Biology
  • Natural Resources
    • Forestry
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Industrial Vegetation Management Association of Alberta (IVMAA) website:

International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Prairie Chapter website:

Landscape Alberta Nursery Trades Association (LANTA) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 16, 2015. 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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