What they do
Arborists manage, maintain and care for trees. They identify particular types of trees, inspect them and prune or plant them according to the tree's condition, and the area in which it is situated. They often deal with hazards such as trees that are within a dangerous proximity to power lines, and also clear damaged or fallen branches and trees after storms. They consult with councils and liaise between local authorities and members of the public about the maintenance or removal of specific trees, and resource management.
Arborists work mostly outdoors in parks, farms and roadsides, and in private yards in most weather conditions. They are occasionally required to cut or remove trees and branches in wet, rainy and stormy conditions, sometimes at heights, and sometimes at night during emergencies. Conditions can be noisy and dangerous.
Tools and technologies
Arborists drive trucks and excavators to and from work sites. They use chainsaws, handsaws and pruning equipment, as well as ropes and climbing equipment such as throw lines and harnesses to get in and out of large trees. They may also use large machines such as volume wood chippers, stump grinders, and elevated working platforms such as cherry pickers, winches on vehicles or chainsaws on very large jobs. They must always wear safety equipment such as helmets, earmuffs, goggles or visors, gloves and boots, and may also need to use traffic management equipment such as cones and signs.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become an arborist, you usually need to gain a qualification in arboriculture.
The Certificate III in Arboriculture is offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.
You can also undertake a traineeship in horticulture (arboriculture) (level 3 or level 4). The traineeships usually take 12 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.