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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 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) 
  • 2021 NOC: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists (22114) 
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

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
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

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 [pdf], 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
Traits & Skills
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.

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 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Mar 15, 2022 and Nov 30, 2022.

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.
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Personal Suitability: Team player
Landscaping Experience: Residential projects
Personal Suitability: Organized
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Attention to detail
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Work Setting: Various locations
Water and tend to plants, lawns and/or gardens
Health benefits: Health care plan
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • 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 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.

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.

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
  • 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) 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

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

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.

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 2.1% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 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: 2019-2023 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 31, 2019

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

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

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 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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