Arborist Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Arborists specialize in tree health, structure and maintenance. While there aren't degree programs specific to arborists, schools offering programs in forestry, urban forestry or forest science are a viable option.

How to Select an Arborist School

Programs for aspiring arborists are available at community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities. Students interested in arborist related programs can attain a degree at the associate, bacholer's, master's and Ph.D levels.

Consider the following when looking for arborist schools:

  • Look for accreditation by the Society of American Foresters (SAF) or the school's state division of forestry.
  • A program for aspiring arborists should incorporate fieldwork experience in addition to classroom work.
  • The study of silviculture, an emerging field that involves analysis for conservation and sustainability, should also be part of the curriculum

Arborist Program Overviews

Associate's Degree Programs

Many of these 2-year programs are designed to be transferable to local universities for completion of a bachelor's degree program. Associate's degree programs teach students the basics, such as these topics:

  • Dendrology
  • Plant health care
  • Plant identification

Bachelor's Degree Programs

These programs advance students through environment-related fields such as resources, geographic systems and ecology. Some schools offer many of the required courses that lead to forester and arborist certification. Many offer different tracks that are relevant to arborists, such as forest conservation, forest ecology and forest management. An internship may be required. Students enrolled in bachelor's degree programs take courses in the following:

  • Soil science
  • Botany
  • Ecology

Master's Degree Programs

Master's degrees are pertinent to arborists who want to work with government municipalities or in education. Some schools offer the thesis as optional - only those looking to pursue a Ph.D. need to complete one. Relevant programs include courses in the topics below:

  • Forest biometry
  • Wildlife ecology
  • Natural resources

Ph.D. Programs

Arborists interested in university-level research or teaching will need a Ph.D. Most programs require an on-campus residency of at least one year as well as the completion of oral and written examinations and a dissertation. Some programs also require students to fulfill teaching requirements. Courses found in Ph.D. programs might include the following:

  • Advanced silviculture
  • Forest resource management
  • Forest ecology

10 Schools with Arborist Related Programs

College/University Institution Type
University of Tennessee 4-year, Public
Purdue University 4-year, Public
University of Wisconsin 4-year, Public
Yale University 4-year, Private
University of Missouri 4-year, Public
University of Wisconsin 4-year, Public
The Ohio State University 4-year, Public
Stephen F. Austin State University 4-year, Public
Mid State Technical College 2-year, Public
University of Maine 4-year, Public

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