Need a Change of Air? Become an Arborist

The rat race! A majority of people feel they are in it, and they think there is no escape.

What's worse is they hate their day job.

85% of people hate their job according to a Gallop poll taken in 2017, but they either don't know what else to do or they are simply too scared to make a move.

Let's get real. You really do only do live once. If you're lucky you will make it to 80 years of age. That's 80 summers, 80 winters, 80 autumns and just 80 springs. When you think about it like that, life all of a sudden, seems a lot shorter!

So why do we waste our time working a job we hate?

If you're a fan of the outdoors, and don't shy away from a little physical labour, then maybe becoming an arborist could be the dream job you are looking for.

If you are after something that is outdoors, keeps you fit and your up for a bit of an adventure, then you really could be missing your calling.

Firstly, what is an arborist?

The word arbor or arborist comes from the word arboriculture, which is the study of trees, shrubs and other perennial plants. Becoming an arborist is a trade so you will need a minimum of Certificate II in Arboriculture to get you started.

Types of Arbor Jobs

The climber

Just as it sounds, pruning and removing trees in confined spaces (in suburbia) requires an arborist to scale the tree using a harness and ropes. If you are finding it hard to picture, think of rock climbing, but just replace the cliff with a tree.

Once up the tree, they work with the crew on the ground (groundsmen) to tie-off branches 1 by 1, cut with a chainsaw and then lower them to the ground.

This job is for the fitness freak (or those of you who want to be fitter and much stronger). There are no two ways about it... its hard work. You can't be scared of heights and thinking on your feet is a given. Well thinking while swinging from branch 30 foot above the ground to be more accurate.

This truly is a rewarding part of the job, the views the smells, the feeling of being at one with nature... It really is life changing.

The Groundsmen

Also known as 'groundies', groundsmen are there to assist in the removal of trees. Although being a climber can be physically challenging, it's fair to say the groundies to a bulk of the heavy labour. Dragging branches, on the chainsaw all day. It can be hard work.

Like any job, your work mates make the job fun, and with the right crew on the ground the jobs a blast. And as far as hard labour goes, the rule of thumb is, the bigger the company, the less labour there is.

That's because bigger companies go for productivity and tend to splash out on machinery to make the work easier and plough through the work faster.

Get in with a crew that has a bobcat and a crane and the works a breeze.

The consulting arborist

This is the 'professional arborist'. Their sole purpose is the advise home owners and council the best course of action when dealing with trees.

Just say a home owner wants a tree to be removed and because they are building a new pool. An arborist is needed to write a report about the health, vitality, vigour and amenity value of said tree and advise council on whether to give permission to remove or not.

This job is by no means labour intensive, but these days you need to have a diploma in arboriculture to do it. There a lot more study involved then if you wanted to climb or ground.


You will need to complete a minimum Certificate II in Arboriculture. This will be 1 day per week for a year at TAFE. You can also get on the job experience and get assessed by private organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture or ISA.

So if you are looking for a change of air, love working outdoors and you really do want to see the forest for the trees, arboriculture is well worth a second thought as a career change.

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