How would I a person with little arboriculture experience(basically cutting down a few trees) get started?

Are there arborist apprentices?

Thank you in advance.

  • It's a trade, you can go to a trades school to learn how to become an arborist. Or you can go to your local municipal office, get a business license, find someone to insure you, and just learn everything else as you go from google, you are literally just cutting down or trimming trees, it's not rocket science, anyone with a descent amount of common sense and the right equipment can do it.
    – ShemSeger
    Jan 8, 2016 at 23:12
  • As a customer, I'd rather have a tree guy who knows a maple from a beech, how to climb a tree without falling, and how to dismantle a large tree without dropping pieces on the rhododendrons and can get the pieces out to the driveway with minimum damage to shrubs and other plants. Also one who can spot a dead tree in the midst of a lot of healthy trees -- at a distance. Thanks to our arborist, we didn't have any dead trees falling in the 2012 derecho (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_2012_North_American_derecho). No, it doesn't take a PhD from MIT, but work experience sure helps
    – ab2
    Jan 9, 2016 at 22:36
  • Just FYI, this is often called a "tree surgeon" in the UK.
    – user7068
    Jan 11, 2016 at 10:18

2 Answers 2


There are arborist apprenticeships with smaller businesses or individual contractors. There are also lots of larger companies that could hire you in an entry level position where you would have access to great equipment and training, along with potential references and a career, by working with them. Those I know who have entered arboriculture through that route by first attending college and earning a relevant Associate of Applied Science or a Bachelor of Science degree first. This tool may help you take that collegiate route: International Society of Arboriculture - Search for Degrees.

On the note of that International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) tool, you may want to explore their certification and opportunities, and maybe your local ISA chapter. ISA is an industry standard in the U.S. and somewhere along the line your arbory career could benefit from connecting with, and getting certified by, ISA. (I am advertising them but am not directly affiliated, I just have plenty of friends in arboriculture and this is what I observe. In forestry where I do have more personal experience, we have similar accreditation institutions such as the Society of American Foresters [SAF].)

As you can see there are a few routes you could take to get more or less to the same goal. Good advice I've received is: search for someone who currently works at the job you strive to work at, and reach out to them humbly about how they got there and if they have any guidance for you. For example, calling or writing to a company that has a job position you'd someday like to fill (whether that exact job or something similar), and asking them what credentials they'd like to see you have in order to consider you for the job, could pay off. So, consider where you'd like to work - there's plenty of options with arboriculture. There's those big tree care companies companies, municipalities of various sizes, private practices (yours or others), consulting, utility crews, I'm sure I'm missing something yet. Good luck, enjoy and stay safe.

  • 1
    Just for record of my opinion, questions about being an arborist are most certainly on topic for this community. I can't imagine anything more on topic, though I can imagine several being equally on topic
    – Escoce
    Jan 11, 2016 at 0:54
  • @Escoce sounds good. I'm relatively new here. Will edit my answer and delete this comment some time after.
    – cr0
    Jan 11, 2016 at 2:39
  • Well now this has been migrated, so, maybe it wasn't the most on topic for the Great Outdoors SE.
    – cr0
    Jan 11, 2016 at 14:26

Our arborist is an I.S.A. Certified Arborist, and we have been pleased with his work for more than 10 years.

I.S.A., the International Society of Arboriculture http://www.isa-arbor.com/, offers on-line courses and professional credentials. Please note that I am not giving you an expert's recommendation, but just giving you a place to start your research.

Our arborist always comes with a helper, so I suggest a two-pronged effort: getting a job with an arborist and looking into on-line courses. If you get a job with an arborist, he or she will be able to guide you to the most effective courses.

The answer from CR0 seems to be from a professional tree person. I thought about deleting my answer as redundant, but then I thought an answer from a customer might be helpful. I wish you well in your new career!

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