What does an arborist study? What skills do you need to be an arborist? What does an arborist do? How much is an arborist paid?


Are you growing tired of your current career path and feeling like it’s about time you made a change? Would you like an active and exciting job that brings new challenges on a daily basis? To sink your teeth into an outdoorsy job that will keep you fit and healthy? If so, then the life of an arborist might be the perfect opportunity for you. 

But, what does an arborist study? What skills do you need to be an arborist? What is it exactly that arborists do? And most important of all, how much is an arborist paid?

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know! 

What does an arborist do?

What does an arborist do? 

From Wikipedia: An arborist, tree surgeon, or (less commonly) arboriculturist, is a professional in the practice of arboriculture, which is the cultivation, management, and study of individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants in dendrology and horticulture.

So, in a nutshell, your job as an arborist will be to prune and maintain trees, cut them down and remove them, and carry out a number of other tree-related tasks both for residential and commercial purposes. 

What does an arborist study?

What does an arborist study? Well, an arborists education is never over. Even after you are fully qualified you will continue to accumulate knowledge about the various species of tree in Australia and beyond, and how best to care for each of them. Similarly, you’ll get to find out more about the various pests, diseases, and other ailments that can affect the many species of tree as well. But, more importantly, how does one become an arborist? 

In Australia, if you wish to become an arborist, you will need to complete a traineeship in Horticulture (Arboriculture)

There are many different variations in terms of entry requirements, but Year 10 is the requirement by most employers. 

If you are interested in a more advanced career position, then you will need a bachelor’s or graduate degree. Of course, if you want to get stuck in and earn as quickly as possible, then such research positions are something that you can work toward in the future. 

As for arborists who have been trained overseas, you will need to complete an equivalent apprenticeship/traineeship or alternatively have a significant amount of work experience in the field (at least 3 years minimum). 

The AQF (Australian qualifications framework) provides a variety of different levels of professional qualification on arboriculture education and training. These are offered countrywide through multi-disciplinary vocational and education training. 

In addition to that, there are options to acquire ‘on-the-job’’ training which is often the case for some tree-care companies such as Lakeside Trees and Stumps who prefer to shape and train their own arborists. 

What skills do you need to be an arborist?

What kind of skills do you need to be an arborist? We’ll start off with some of the qualities that can help you succeed, followed by some of the skills that will look good on your resume when applying for jobs. 

  • Passionate about nature and the environment
  • A fairly strong knowledge of tree species
  • Great interpersonal skills
  • A drive to improve and acquire more knowledge 
  • Practical ability
  • Good level of fitness
  • Comfortable working at heights
  • You are sensible 
  • A strong team player
  • A can-do / go-get-’em attitude 

If you tick most (or at least some) of the above, then you will have what it takes to pursue a career in arboriculture. Now let’s look at what type of skills will help you secure a decent job: 

  • A driving licence (truck licence can be beneficial) 
  • Experience with heavy machinery
  • Skill with a chainsaw
  • Knowledge of pruning trees and shrubs
  • Gardening experience (e.g., using sheers/hedge trimmers)
  • Landscaping experience 
  • Tree climbing
  • Rigging (rock climbing and experience with ropes)
  • Weeding

Of course, many of these skills may only be picked up once you are training and working as an arborist, however, there are many skills from different industries that are transferrable. 

How much is an arborist paid?

And now for the important part! How much is an arborist paid? 

Arborists in Australia can expect to earn somewhere in the region of $61,369 a year (or $26.74 per hour). 

As an entry-level arborist with under a year of experience, you will be looking at an average of $23.44 an hour. 

As you begin to progress through your career as a certified arborist (one to four years) you will be earning some $25.08 an hour. 

And finally, when you reach the ten to twenty-year mark, you could be earning upwards of $29.79 an hour. 

Of course, this can vary significantly depending on whether you are working for a company, freelance, or decide to start your very own arboriculture business. 

In any case, being an arborist is a well-paid job that comes with a wealth of other exciting benefits (such as not being stuck behind a desk all day). 


The life of an arborist is great! Yes, there are hard days and the work is exhausting, but there is something really rather satisfied with returning home after a hard day’s work and being able to fall asleep almost as soon as your head hits the pillow. Similarly, being out in nature on a daily basis and being able to climb trees for a living is one of the most exciting and rewarding ways that you can earn a decent living! 

We hope that you have found this article helpful and wish you all the best with your future adventures!