Advancing Your Career in Tree Service and Arboristry

Posted by Professional Tree Climber on 7/22/2019 to Tree Climbing Safety
Advancing Your Career in Tree Service and Arboristry

No matter where we are in our career, we should always been pushing ourselves to achieve the next level. Learning new skills and gaining knowledge should feel like a constant cycle, because never can we know everything. Even in the arborist community- there’s so much to learn. There is always new gear being released, new techniques being discovered, and new certifications to earn. So where do you start?


In this blog we’re going to cover a few upgrades to add to your resume, the “must-have” courses, and career enhancing certifications. 

Get your CDL Endorsement

If you aren’t familiar, a CDL license allows you to drive a commercial vehicle (defined by a certain weight or number of seats). There are various different levels of CDL (Class A-C). When applying for a job in the arborist world, this is an extremely helpful resume builder as almost every tree care company has a chip truck, bucket truck, and/or crane truck that would require a CDL license. A couple different people in every organization should hold their CDL license in case the main driver is away. Besides, a CDL license can also utilized in many different careers.

Tree Care Apprentice Course

The Tree Care Industry Association (or TCIA) offers a course for new hires going through an apprenticeship program. If your employer doesn’t offer this, ask them to check into it so you can learn the important first steps to tree service with the correct practices. 

The way you first learn any skill will affect how you progress and learn the more difficult parts of the job- like climbing, notching, rigging, and more. Start with a strong foundation in the basics, and make sure they’re “up to code.” Because tree work is ironically something you can do with no previous education, certification, or degree--but it is YOUR responsibility to make sure you are properly educated so they know safe work practices and proper pruning techniques. 

If you run a company and you’re looking to add to your crew, this is a great certification program to start with. You may know all the skills, but sometimes it’s hard to be the teacher AND run a company.

First Aid and CPR

This course is a must-have. We work in a dangerous industry where people can get hurt.

Aerial Rescue Training Program

This is also a must-have course, for everybody on the crew. Even if people aren’t going to be climbing, what happens if the main climbers get hurt or stuck? Everybody needs to understand the basics in order to assist in a rescue. If you’re looking for step-by-step training, TCIA also offers an Aerial Rescue Program that makes the training easier than trying to write out your own.

ISA Certification

Getting your ISA certification brings you to a whole new level of tree knowledge. This course covers tree cycles, pests and diseases, soil make-up, trees’ needs and so much more. ISA certified teams can handle a wider spectrum of tree issues, and have more opportunities for business. Plus, some clients demand certified arborists, so getting your certification could help you stand out from the competition.

Pesticide Applicators License

The certification doubles the amount of work you can be qualified to handle. You already handle pruning, removals, stump grinding and more--but what do you do about deadly pest issues? What about fungal infections? How do you breathe life back into a declining tree with poor soil conditions?

Even if you don’t currently know how to deal with these issues, gaining your Pesticide Applicator’s License can help you learn these skills. There’s lots of information to know and understand, especially when it comes to the chemicals in your tree products. 

On a more legal note, a Commercial Applicator License Is required to use any type of pesticide on property not owned or rented by the applicator or the employer of the applicator. So as funny as it is, a homeowner can handle some of these materials and have it be their own problem. Once you enter their property that makes it your problem, and you need a license.

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