Looking for career ideas? Get paid to climb trees

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By Erin Eagan


Did you climb trees as a child? For many of us, it brings back fond memories. Did you know you could do it for a living as part of a rewarding career? If you love nature and the outdoors, a career in Arboriculture/Urban Forestry could be the career choice for you.

An industry rising in demand, there are a multitude of job opportunities. “It’s a rapidly growing industry,” Aaron Schauer, Arboriculture instructor at Gateway Technical College recently shared in “On the Job" for Kenosha News. “Trees in urban environments need to be cared for in a different way than a forest, and arborists are that link between trees and people, to help trees grow and survive in a landscape that’s very different than a forest.”


Arborist climbing tree
Arborists work closely with trees, caring for and nurturing them in an urban environment. They respond to damage caused by nature and man-made damage and work to keep them healthy. Specifically, some of the work that arborists do includes:

  • Collect data on the size, age and health of trees
  • Identify and treat health issues of tree species
  • Climb trees to trim or remove them
  • Manage and protect forests

There are different pathways you can take on your way to a career in Arboriculture/Urban Forestry. You can earn a certificate in arboriculture from Milwaukee Area Technical College or Fox Valley Technical College. In these courses, you’ll get an insight into the industry and learn basic techniques in the care and maintenance of trees.

Gateway Technical College and Mid-State Technical College both offer associate degree programs in Arboriculture/Urban Forestry. This two-year degree will give you more in-depth knowledge as you enter the workforce. You’ll learn how to work safely in trees with aerial lifts and how to operate industry equipment. From there, you can always transfer your credits and continue your education if you choose to.

Mid-State Technical College and Milwaukee Area Technical College also offer Arborist Apprenticeships where you’ll gain exposure working in a hands-on environment while getting your education.

PayScale.com reported in January 2016 that arborists earned a median annual salary of $44,299 in this growing field. So you'll be making a good living while enjoying the view and taking in nature from high up in the branches.