12 Careers In Arboriculture (Duties and Average Salaries)

Updated 25 April 2023

Arboriculture is an industry that involves many professionals who cultivate, manage and research wood plants. Some people in this industry may focus on sustainable foresting methods, while others specialise in researching tree species. By reviewing several arboriculture careers, you can identify which job might suit your personality and career aspirations. In this article, we define careers in arboriculture and provide a list of 12 arboriculture careers, along with their primary duties and national average salaries.

What are careers in arboriculture?

Careers in arboriculture can vary between manual labour, management and research roles. Some require extensive training and qualification, while others may be entry-level positions with no formal qualification requirements. The primary purpose of an arboriculture job can depend on its specific responsibilities. For example, a researcher may study tree species to determine their susceptance to diseases. A landscaper might plant saplings for a client to add aesthetic elements to residential gardens. The responsibilities in the arboriculture industry can vary extensively, but they all focus on woody plants.

12 careers in arboriculture

There are many arboriculture careers for you to consider, but it can be important to understand that some might require more extensive employment requirements. These roles typically provide a higher salary because of the qualification and expertise involved. If you're considering an arboriculture job, it can be a good idea to review your current skills and interests. Some jobs might involve varying working environments. For example, a researcher conducts most of their responsibilities in a laboratory, while a tree surgeon works outdoors. Below, you can find 12 arboriculture jobs, along with their primary duties and national average salaries:

1. Groundskeeper

National average salary: $21.46 per hour

Primary duties: A groundskeeper maintains and monitors gardens around buildings and institutes. They differ from a gardener in that a gardener typically tends to residential and small gardens, while a groundskeeper maintains large scale gardens. A groundskeeper typically maintains gardens in schools, universities, apartment blocks, hospitals and other large structures. Their responsibilities include trimming hedges, removing weeds, examining plant health, lopping trees, planting saplings and mowing lawns. A groundskeeper usually has knowledge of maintaining different plants, from succulents to trees. They also operate a range of equipment, such as sit-on mowers, chainsaws and hedge trimmers.


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2. Horticulturist

National average salary: $62,519 per year

Primary duties: A horticulturist can have many roles, but they primarily focus on cultivation and harvesting processes. They may specialise in a specific food source, such as potatoes, oranges, carrots or apples. A horticulturist has advanced knowledge of growing techniques, crop maintenance and harvesting procedures. They can work in the arboriculture industry by specialising in fruit tree cultivation. A horticulturist may research a specific tree species to determine effective growing methods and disease prevention techniques. The growing processes they utilise can help farmers produce greater yields and improve the taste of foods.

Related: 10 Careers In Horticulture: Average Salaries and Primary Duties

3. Landscape technician

National average salary: $65,563 per year

Primary duties: A landscape technician shares very similar responsibilities to a groundskeeper, except they usually focus more on residential gardens. Depending on their employer, they might focus on garden instillations, rather than garden maintenance. When installing gardens, a landscape technician may liaise with clients to determine the style of the garden the client desires. They often have excellent knowledge of plant characteristics, such as water consumption, growth rate and flowering times. A landscape technician can use this knowledge to advise clients on appropriate plant combinations to include in the garden.

Related: What Is a Landscaper? (Plus How to Become One In 7 Steps)

4. Arborist

National average salary: $68,894 per year

Primary duties: Arborists are experts in tree maintenance and use their knowledge to ensure the health of trees. They may also remove trees from power lines and administer disease prevention products. An arborist usually has formal education in tree maintenance and understands the common principles of tree care. They typically have excellent safety awareness because they operate heavy machinery and powerful handheld tools. An arborist can utilise advanced techniques and tree lopping methods to achieve a specific aesthetic look for clients. Their work environment can range from residential areas to national parks.

Related: What Does an Arborist Do? (With Steps to Become One)

5. Tree surgeon

National average salary: $36.43 per hour

Primary duties: A tree surgeon is very similar to an arborist but usually has less formal qualifications. Depending on their employment, they might actually have the job title of an arborist, but there are some differences between the roles. A tree surgeon focuses on removing trees in urban settings in a safe and controlled manner. Instead of focusing on tree health, they focus on tree removal. A tree surgeon may specialise in hazardous tree removal, particularly in suburban environments. They may prune branches overlapping power lines or remove large trees between properties.

6. Tree climber

National average salary: $36.86 per hour

Primary duties: A tree climber also shares similar responsibilities to a tree surgeon and arborist. They may prune, remove and maintain large trees, though they focus on extensively large trees that can be difficult to scale. Compared to a tree surgeon or arborist, a tree climber may have a larger variety of responsibilities and clients. They may assess tree health in national forests for government agencies, install cameras in trees for film crews and remove large trees for private clients. A tree climber might also collect research samples for environmental scientists and research scientists.

7. Environmental technician

National average salary: $72,187 per year

Primary duties: An environmental technician's responsibilities can vary depending on their employer. They typically have the qualifications to consult organisations in land alterations, though they primarily operate within a team of environmental scientists. While operating in a scientific team, they essentially serve as assistants to environmental scientists. An environmental technician facilitates the study and collection of data for scientists to examine. They maintain equipment, manage inventories and monitor quality assurance measures. An environmental technician's work environment can vary between laboratories and field operations.

8. Forester

National average salary: $82,165 per year

Primary duties: Foresters study information regarding an area's flora and fauna. They develop control systems to maintain forest ecosystems and ensure the health of national parks. A forester may evaluate an area's tree species and consult organisations on sustainable deforesting methods. They may conduct regular evaluations of a forest's health and identify diseases and pests. National agencies typically utilise foresters to determine when the risk of natural bush fires is at its peak. If a forest has a pest infestation, they may test and implement methods for removing pests without disturbing the natural ecosystem.

Related: What Is a Forester? And How to Pursue This Career

9. Landscape foreperson

National average salary: $87,828 per year

Primary duties: A landscape foreperson is a supervisory role in large scale landscaping operations. They typically liaise with clients to design gardens for institutes, such as schools and hospitals. A landscape foreperson communicates with local government agencies to identify compliance requirements for removing existing trees and plants. During the design phase of extensive gardens, they may determine which plants and trees are convenient and aesthetically pleasing for the area. A landscape foreperson also has managerial duties, such as supervising technicians, scheduling shifts, ordering plants and maintaining inventory levels.

10. Ecologist

National average salary: $92,867 per year

Primary duties: An ecologist collects and studies information that a forester might use to determine conservation techniques. An ecologist can specialise in various flora or fauna, from microscopic bacteria to large mammals and trees. An ecologist in the arboriculture industry studies tree species to identify various aspects, such as how they communicate, their susceptibility to disease and their species variations. With this information, they develop and test hypotheses to determine accurate relationships between types of flora. Foresters can utilise this information to understand an area's local ecosystem.

11. Environmental scientist

National average salary: $95,129 per year

Primary duties: An environmental scientist may specialise in an environment, such as rain forests, forests, arid regions, aquatic regions and mountains. They study the flora and fauna of the area and identify ecosystem aspects. An environmental scientist is very similar to an ecologist and often conducts the same responsibilities. The primary difference is usually that an environmental scientist focuses on policies and procedures for protecting the environment. An environmental scientist might specialise in trees, though they typically study an entire ecosystem, from bacteria and fungi to mammals and trees.

Related: What Is Environmental Engineering? Definition and FAQs

12. Environmental consultant

National average salary: $98,864 per year

Primary duties: An environmental consultant is usually an experienced and highly qualified environmental scientist. Both roles study ecosystems and determine effective methods for protecting the environment. The difference between the roles is that environmental consultants offer their services to corporations, government agencies and large-scale operations. A typical client of an environmental consultant may be a mining company. These mining companies usually deforest or destroy massive land areas to extract resources from the earth. A consultant ensures the mining company complies with national regulations and operates with minimal environmental damage.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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