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Working as a Tree Climber

For most of us, climbing trees is a phase we grow out of by the time we hit puberty and can appreciate the risks of a broken bone. But professional tree climbers never grow out of the urge to climb the nearest strong oak or elm. In fact, they get paid to do so.

Professional tree climbers often double as arborists, otherwise known as people who help keep trees healthy. They cut away dead branches and prune trees so that they look attractive and are safe to walk under. However, some tree climbers also work as guides in tourism or recreation as recreational tree climbing is becoming more and more popular among the young at heart.

As you can probably imagine, tree climbing isn't a skill that you can major in at most universities, which explains why few tree climbers have bachelor's degrees. Most learn the tools of the trade on the job, such as how to use climbing ropes and saddles to climb trees. Professional tree climbing is far more technical than the scramble to the nearest branch in childhood.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a tree climber. For example, did you know that they make an average of $17.96 an hour? That's $37,351 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 9% and produce 115,300 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Tree Climber Do

There are certain skills that many tree climbers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed physical stamina, None and None.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a tree climber, we found that a lot of resumes listed 26.5% of tree climbers included cdl, while 14.4% of resumes included bucket truck, and 13.2% of resumes included hand tools. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the tree climber job title. But what industry to start with? Most tree climbers actually find jobs in the construction and retail industries.

How To Become a Tree Climber

If you're interested in becoming a tree climber, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 10.3% of tree climbers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 0.8% of tree climbers have master's degrees. Even though some tree climbers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a tree climber. When we researched the most common majors for a tree climber, we found that they most commonly earn high school diploma degrees or diploma degrees. Other degrees that we often see on tree climber resumes include bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a tree climber. In fact, many tree climber jobs require experience in a role such as tree trimmer. Meanwhile, many tree climbers also have previous career experience in roles such as foreman or groundsman.

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Average Salary$37,351
Job Growth Rate9%

Tree Climber Career Paths

Top Careers Before Tree Climber

Foreman
7.3 %

Top Careers After Tree Climber

Foreman
8.4 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Tree Climber

Tree Climbers in America make an average salary of $37,351 per year or $18 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $52,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $26,000 per year.
Average Salary
$37,351

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Santa Clara, CA
Salary Range41k - 63k$51k$51,197
Union, NJ
Salary Range41k - 61k$50k$50,124
Boston, MA
Salary Range38k - 54k$46k$45,875
Norwalk, CT
Salary Range35k - 52k$43k$43,328
Cleveland, OH
Salary Range32k - 47k$39k$39,123
Horsham, PA
Salary Range29k - 44k$37k$36,588
$22k
$63k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Climber-General Tree Care
Climber-General Tree Care
Savatree
Savatree
01/31/2021
01/31/2021
$27,13101/31/2021
$27,131
Tree Climber/Arborist-Monster Tree Service of Bucksmont
Tree Climber/Arborist-Monster Tree Service of Bucksmont
Monster Tree Service
Monster Tree Service
11/21/2020
11/21/2020
$73,04511/21/2020
$73,045
Tree Climber/Arborist
Tree Climber/Arborist
Barracuda Staffing
Barracuda Staffing
10/23/2020
10/23/2020
$31,30510/23/2020
$31,305
Tree Care Climber/Arborist-P
Tree Care Climber/Arborist-P
Acres Group
Acres Group
10/09/2020
10/09/2020
$56,34910/09/2020
$56,349
Tree Feller, Climber, and Operator
Tree Feller, Climber, and Operator
Integrity Tree Services
Integrity Tree Services
09/21/2020
09/21/2020
$31,30509/21/2020
$31,305
See More Recent Salaries

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Tree Climber Demographics

Gender

male

91.2 %

female

6.4 %

unknown

2.4 %

Ethnicity

White

71.1 %

Hispanic or Latino

20.7 %

Black or African American

4.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

54.5 %

French

27.3 %

Russian

9.1 %
See More Demographics

Tree Climber Education

Majors

Business
18.3 %
Forestry
10.0 %

Degrees

High School Diploma

56.3 %

Diploma

15.6 %

Bachelors

10.3 %
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Tree Climber

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 26.5% of tree climbers listed cdl on their resume, but soft skills such as physical stamina and None are important as well.

Best States For a Tree Climber

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a tree climber. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, New Jersey, New York, and North Dakota. Tree climbers make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $54,203. Whereas in New Jersey and New York, they would average $49,911 and $47,530, respectively. While tree climbers would only make an average of $47,241 in North Dakota, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New York

Total Tree Climber Jobs:
50
Highest 10% Earn:
$68,000
Location Quotient:
1.3
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New Hampshire

Total Tree Climber Jobs:
6
Highest 10% Earn:
$58,000
Location Quotient:
1.32
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New Jersey

Total Tree Climber Jobs:
19
Highest 10% Earn:
$72,000
Location Quotient:
0.84
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Tree Climber Employers

1. The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$44,027
Tree Climbers Hired: 
22+
2. Wright Tree Service
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$44,892
Tree Climbers Hired: 
20+
3. Townsend Tree Service
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$37,655
Tree Climbers Hired: 
11+
4. Monster.com
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$47,956
Tree Climbers Hired: 
10+
5. Lewis Tree Service
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$44,839
Tree Climbers Hired: 
8+
6. Davey Tree Expert Company
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$44,930
Tree Climbers Hired: 
7+