Tree Workers vs Arborists: What’s the Difference?

Australia’s tree industry is a great place to work. If you’re considering a career in this field, it’s important to understand the different roles and responsibilities of tree workers and arborists. While both professions are involved with maintaining the health and safety of trees, they differ in their training, skills, and duties.

In this article, we’ll explore the unique qualities of each profession and help you determine which one might be the right fit for you.

Professional qualified tree-climbing arborist

Arborists are the ones that are qualified to climb trees and perform pruning and other technical works. Image source

What are Tree Workers?

Tree workers are the backbone of the tree industry, performing manual labour tasks such as pruning, removing, and disposing of trees. They’re the ones spotting the climbing arborist in the tree, making sure nobody walks into the danger zone, and dragging limbs to put them through the chipper safely.

Even though they may not hold formal certifications or have the same level of knowledge in plant biology, wind mechanics and tree care practices, they’re integral to the works being performed.

What are Arborists?

Arborists, on the other hand, possess specialised training and knowledge in arboriculture and tree care. They’re trained in safe tree climbing and rigging techniques and have a comprehensive understanding of tree biology, growth habits, and health.

They generally perform a wider range of technical tasks, including tree climbing, pruning, removal, planting, fertilisation, pest and disease control, and hazard assessments. Arborists hold formal certifications and often memberships with professional organisations such as Arboriculture Australia or the Australian Institute of Horticulture. They follow industry standards and best practices to ensure the health and safety of trees and the public.

Which Profession is Right for You?

The choice between tree workers and arborists ultimately depends on your personal interests, skills, and career goals. If you’re looking for a gig that doesn’t require a commitment to serious career development, tree work may be a good fit for you. However, if you have a passion for the biology and care of trees and want to expand your knowledge and skills, becoming an arborist might be a better option.

Many people start as tree workers before, or while, they gain a formal qualification in arboriculture as a way to gain experience and prove their value.

Hort People Job Board

Hort People is the Australian horticulture and landscape industry job board, where you can browse both tree worker and arboriculture jobs. Click here

You can also upload your resume so that employers can chase you. Click here


Both tree workers and arborists play critical roles in the tree industry, and each profession offers its own rewards and challenges. The tree industry in Australia offers a wealth of opportunities for individuals who are passionate about trees and the environment. Whether you choose to become a tree worker or an arborist, you’ll have the chance to make a positive impact in your community and enjoy a rewarding career.

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