How To Become an Arborist in Oregon
Providing tree services is not something to be taken lightly. While there are scores of novices in the field, looking for a qualified arborist is essential if you want to provide your trees with the care they deserve.
This article breaks down how to become an arborist in Oregon to learn the science behind adequately maintaining trees and watching them thrive.
Who Is an Arborist?
To put in simple words, an arborist is a qualified professional who works in the arboriculture industry and knows about the various standards and techniques that are required to provide care for trees, shrubs, vines, and perennial plants. They are popularly known as “tree surgeons,” as their work often includes pruning and bracing trees to provide adequate protection against diseases and pests.
They also study the ways in which healthy trees and shrubs can coexist in the environment, especially along with manmade structures. It’s important to remember that tree care and removal can be dangerous activities, especially when done after heavy rainfall or a snowstorm. A skilled arborist has the necessary skills and experience to handle such tricky situations, even when the trees are located close to power lines or structures.
Arborists are an essential part of the community as they provide others with the right advice needed to care for their trees and to help them thrive. Here’s a list of just some of the responsibilities undertaken by a qualified arborist:
- Planting trees
- Carrying out soil assessments
- Working on landscaping plans
- Getting rid of debris
- Turf management
- Coordinating with landscapers and groundskeepers
- Preparing an inventory of trees in various locations
Arborists usually work for landscaping companies, parks, golf courses, nurseries, utility companies, and social advocacy/non-governmental organizations.
What Are the Requirements for Becoming an Arborist in Oregon?
The best news is that you don’t need a formal degree to become an arborist. Much of the learning happens on the job, and you can gain experience while working on various projects. However, even though there are no mandatory qualifications required to work as an arborist, you should at least hold a high school diploma or GED.
Any tree work, whether it is planting, trimming, removal, or stump grinding, may only be performed by those holding a Landscape Contractor Board (LCB) license.
It is also prudent to get certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), which is the leading certification body of arborists in the world. Working as an ISA-certified arborist means that you will be someone who’s actually qualified and knowledgeable to provide the right advice about tree care and maintenance.
In order to gain certification from the ISA, you need:
- 3 years of full-time experience working in the arboriculture industry
- 2-year degree in either arboriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture, or forestry and 2 years of experience
- 4-year degree in either arboriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture, or forestry and 1 year of experience
According to ISA, one year of experience equals 1,795 hours of working as an arborist on the field. Obtaining a certification from ISA shows that, as an arborist, you are committed to providing quality services and are also dedicated to staying up-to-date with the latest research in the field. The certification also indicates you are well versed in tree care and maintenance, including soil management, tree identification, tree selection, pruning, urban forestry, tree protection, risk management, and installation.
In addition to this, ISA also conducts a series of computerized tests to test the knowledge of prospective arborists about all aspects of trees. ISA-certified arborists are also required to earn continuing education credits or retake certification exams every three years to maintain their license. The number of continuing credits you need to maintain your certification depends on the credentials you hold. Here’s a breakdown as per ISA:
- ISA Certified Arborist: 30 CEUs
- ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist: 6 Utility CEUs + 30 Arborist CEUs = 36 total
- ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist: 12 Municipal CEUs + 30 Arborist CEUs = 42 total
- ISA Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist: 15 CEUs
- ISA Certified Tree Worker Aerial Lift Specialist: 15 CEUs
- ISA Board Certified Master Arborist: 60 CEUs; 20 each in Science, Practice, and Management
Apart from ISA certification, you can also explore opportunities for various arborist apprenticeships. Working as an apprentice may also make you eligible to earn a diploma or certification.
What Skills Do You Need to Become an Arborist?
Given the kind of work an arborist undertakes, being enterprising, proactive, and having a lot of stamina are some of the prerequisites. You have to be prepared to work under various extreme weather conditions, as you can never quite predict when an arborist will be needed to clear out a stump or remove a tree. You should also mentally prepare yourself to wear heavy-duty clothing and other protective gear while rendering these services.
You should also be prepared to encounter some hazardous situations while performing your duties. These may include working with dangerous power tools, pruning heavy or unstable trees, and cutting branches that are located near high-voltage power lines. Being a team player is also a prized skill, as arborists often work in groups when staffed on a large project. And lastly, being passionate about what you do will always hold you in good stead.
Looking for a Qualified Arborist in Oregon?
If you’re looking to work with certified arborists in Oregon to care for your trees, the experts at Mr. Tree would be delighted to help. We have qualified arborists on our team who have been providing expert tree care services for years and are looking forward to working with you on your new project. You can count on enjoying high-quality and exceptional services when you contact Mr. Tree. Get in touch with us. We look forward to serving you.