The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) refers to arborists as tree trimmers and pruners. These tree care professionals may keep trees healthy by cutting away dead branches. They may work to improve the appearance, value and safety of property by trimming excess limbs and branches from sidewalks, roadways or utility lines. They may diagnose, treat and employ preventative measures against tree diseases. A certified arborist's wages may be affected by the part of the country where he works.
The median national annual income for arborists was $30,450 as of May 2010, according to the BLS. The top 10 percent of arborists earned in excess of $47,870 per year, while the bottom 10 percent earned annual wages of less than $20,130. The middle 50 percent of arborists earned annual wages ranging between $24,130 and $38,310 per year.
An arborist's wages can vary significantly based on the state he works in. Arborists who worked in Delaware earned the highest median annual wages among the states at $47,600 as of May 2010, according to the BLS. Those who worked in Rhode Island earned median annual wages of $44,580, while those who worked in Maryland earned median wages of $42,330 per year. Arborists who worked in Oklahoma earned the lowest median annual wages in the country at $19,920.
Approximately 84 percent of the nation's 37,540 arborists worked in the services to buildings and dwellings industry as of May 2010, according to the BLS. Arborists in this industry earned mean annual wages of $30,890. The federal executive branch of government employed less than one percent of the nation's arborists, but paid the highest mean annual wages at $52,780. Local governments and electric power generation, transmission and distribution companies provided approximately 12 percent of the nation's employment opportunities to arborists.
Arborists may seek voluntary professional certification through the International Society of Arboriculture. There are six levels of certification including Certified Arborist, Certified Arborist/Utility Specialist, Certified Arborist/Municipal Specialist, Certified Tree Worker/Climber Specialist, Certified Tree Worker/Aerial Lift Specialist, and Board Certified Master Arborist. Certification by an independent credentialing organization can provide the arborist with evidence of proficiency in his field. The International Society of Arboriculture notes that certification may lead to increased income and promotion opportunities, and may be a factor in hiring decisions.