If you have chosen to be an arborist as a career choice, you should first be aware of the intricacies of the profession. In a nutshell, arborists are those that maintain and care for trees. However in reality, it is much more than that. Arborists are experts in tree and stump removal, tree pruning and trimming, hazardous tree management and landscape beautification and maintaining a close liaison with local and borough authorities for tree care activities in public places.
Arborists are also called tree surgeons because of their expertise in treating old and diseased trees. An arborist will remove a tree only as a last resort. Decaying trees that have become infirm and can fall over in the slightest of storms are first strengthened with cables and braces in an effort to help them regain their health. When all else fails the tree is removed. Other classifications for arborists are Arboriculturalist, Arboricultural Technician and Horticulturalist Tradesperson. Specialisations in arboriculture includes being an Arboricultural Consultant, Municipal Arborist and Utility Arborist.
Not everyone can be an arborist. Apart from qualifications, you need to possess certain special skills and aptitude. First of course is that you should have a special interest in horticulture and arboriculture and be truly concerned about environment and tree care. You should also have a sense of aesthetics as landscape beautification is a very crucial part of an arborist’s activities. You must possess good practical and logical abilities and be prepared to work closely with a team of arborists. This is crucial as heavy work like removal of a large tree requires the collective effort and coordination of a team of arborists working in tandem. Finally and obviously, you should be comfortable working at heights.
An arborist should also be at ease in handling heavy and intricate equipment. You will have to drive trucks and excavators and use a variety of chainsaws, handsaws and trimming and pruning equipment. When people avail services for tree stump removal, they expect the ground to be left ready for other plantings. Hence, apart from tree removal, arborists are expected to handle heavy duty stump removal grinders that can turn even large stumps to mulch in no time. You should also be ready to wear safety gear at all times during work including gloves, earmuffs, goggles, helmets and boots and be well conversant with handling cones and signs that are a part of traffic management.
So far as educational qualification is concerned, you have to first complete a 12 month traineeship in horticulture or a certificate in arboriculture. Such courses are offered by TAFE colleges and other registered and certified institutes located all over Australia. After apprenticeship, you have to enter into a written contract with an agency offering tree services. It is here that you will pick up your practical skills and undergo structured instruction with a training provider of your choice. After a period of time and after you have achieved a certain level of competency in arboriculture, you will be awarded a certification that is nationally recognised in Australia.
The salary depends on your skill levels and experiences in this profession as well as the agency that you work for. In any case, it should range from $800 to $900 per week.