Arborists work mostly outdoors in parks, farms and roadsides, and in private yards in most weather conditions. They are occasionally required to cut or remove trees and branches in wet, rainy and stormy conditions, sometimes at heights, and sometimes at night during emergencies. Conditions can be noisy and dangerous.
On average, arborists, classified under gardeners, can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an arborist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Arborists drive trucks and excavators to and from work sites. They use chainsaws, handsaws and pruning equipment, as well as ropes and climbing equipment such as throw lines and harnesses to get in and out of large trees. They may also use large machines such as volume wood chippers, stump grinders, and elevated working platforms such as cherry pickers, winches on vehicles or chainsaws on very large jobs. They must always wear safety equipment such as helmets, earmuffs, goggles or visors, gloves and boots, and may also need to use traffic management equipment such as cones and signs.
To become an arborist, you usually need to complete a traineeship in horticulture (arboriculture). The traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete.
You can also complete a certificate in arboriculture. The Certificate III in Arboriculture is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.