Arborist Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Dec 12, 2019

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.

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

Schools with Arboriculture-Related Programs

Here's a list of schools with applicable programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2018-2019*
University of Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate Undergraduate:
In-state $13,006
Out-of-state $31,426
Graduate:
In-state $11,244
Out-of-state $29,432
Purdue University West Lafayette, Indiana 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate Undergraduate:
In-state $9,992
Out-of-state $28,794
Graduate:
In-state $9,208
Out-of-state $28,010
University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate Undergraduate:
In-state $10,555
Out-of-state $36,805
Graduate:
In-state $10,728
Out-of-state $24,054
Yale University New Haven, Connecticut 4-year, Private Master's, Doctorate $42,100
University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate Undergraduate:
In-state $9,972
Out-of-state $27,042 Graduate:
In-state tuition $8,822
Out-of-state $24,156
The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate Undergraduate:
In-state $10,726
Out-of-state $30,742
Graduate:
In-state $11,560
Out-of-state $34,064
Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches, Texas 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate Undergraduate:
In-state $8,316
Out-of-state $18,276
Graduate:
In-state $4,896
Out-of-state $12,366
Mid-State Technical College Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin 2-year, Public Associate's In-state $4,432
Out-of-state $6,445
University of Maine Orono, Maine 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate Undergraduate:
In-state $11,170
Out-of-state $30,970
Graduate: In-state $7,902
Out-of-state $25,740

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

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.

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 dendrology, plant health care and 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.

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.

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.

When researching degree programs for arborists, such as forestry or forest science, students should verify accreditation, experiential learning components and units in silviculture.

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