Thursday, March 18, 2010


Contributing Writer - Bianca Guttierrez, Intern

Part 2 of 3 - Green Careers

Earlier this week I profiled Casey Trees' Summer Crew, an eight week high school summer jobs program that introduces teenagers 16 years and older to a wide variety of green jobs as they care for Casey Trees-planted trees across the City. One of these professions is an arborist, of which there are six on staff at Casey Trees.

So what is an arborist, how do you become one and what can of job can you get as one?

An arborist by definition is a professional in the practice of arboriculture, which is the cultivation, management and study of individual trees. In layman's terms, arborists improve the quality of life in urban environments by selecting, planting and caring for trees. You have arborists to thank for our park filled and tree lined streets.

There are many different paths you can take to become an arborist.

One option is to enroll in a two or four year college program in arboriculture, horticulture, or another related field. In the Washington, DC metro area, University of Maryland at College Park offers degrees in agriculture, landscape architecture and management, plant sciences, and urban forestry. You can find a list of colleges and home study programs offering arboriculture programs on the the International Society of Arboriculture website.

The other option is jobs-skill training. There are several companies, governments, agencies and organizations that provide hands on, entry level training to individuals interested in tree care. Over a period of time, trainees learn tree identifications skills, best practices, proper tree planting and care skills and much more. Since 2007, Casey Trees has offered interested individuals the opportunity to train to become an arborist through its Urban Forestry Apprenticeship program.

No matter which path you take you will need to sit for an arborist certification exam. To ensure certified arborists continue to stay abreast of best practices and emerging threats and trends after becoming certified, certified arborists need to obtain 30 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every three years in order to maintain certification. Many of Casey Trees' classes and programs including the Tree Summit are CEU eligible.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for arborists nationwide is expected to grow faster than average (increase 14 to 19 percent by 2018) – 217,000 new jobs nationally! Job opportunities should be good or favorable (there should be about as many jobs for arborists as there are arborists seeking jobs).

The field of arboriculture continues to grow and attract top talent. This is one case where money is growing in the trees.

No comments: