How To Become A Tree Removal Contractor: Education And Certification Requirements

How To Become A Tree Removal Contractor: Education And Certification Requirements

Trees are an essential part of our environment, providing us with shade, oxygen, and natural beauty. However, there are times when trees need to be removed due to safety concerns or development plans. This is where tree removal contractors come in – professionals who specialize in removing trees safely and efficiently.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a tree removal contractor, it’s important to understand the education and certification requirements needed to succeed in this field. In this article, we’ll explore the necessary steps you need to take to become a qualified tree removal contractor and provide tips on how you can thrive in this challenging yet rewarding profession.

Education Requirements:

To become a tree removal contractor, there are several education requirements to be met.


The first option is to obtain certification which can be done through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Certification from ISA requires passing an exam and having at least three years of full-time experience in the field. It is important to note that while certification is not a requirement for tree removal contractors, it does help demonstrate competency and knowledge in the field.

Degree Programs

Another option is to complete a degree program in arboriculture or forestry. These programs offer courses in tree biology, identification, safety, and management. Some popular universities offering such programs include Penn State University, Michigan State University, and Oregon State University.


Lastly, apprenticeship programs provide on-the-job training where aspiring contractors can learn from experienced professionals. This route typically takes around three years to complete and includes both classroom instruction and hands-on experience working with various types of trees. Ultimately, regardless of which path one chooses, education plays a crucial role in becoming a competent and successful tree removal contractor.

Certification Requirements:

To become a tree removal contractor, one must meet certain certification requirements.


The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) offers two levels of certification: Certified Arborist and Board Certified Master Arborist. To become a Certified Arborist, one must have at least three years of experience in the industry, pass an exam, and adhere to ISA’s code of ethics. To become a Board-Certified Master Arborist, individuals must have an additional three years of experience and pass another exam.


The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) also offers several certifications for tree removal contractors, including Tree Care Specialists and Certified Treecare Safety Professionals. The certification process for TCIA involves taking courses and passing exams on topics such as safety protocols, tree care techniques, and business management.

OSHA Guidelines

In addition to industry-specific certifications from ISA and TCIA, OSHA guidelines require that all workers involved in tree removal operations receive training on proper safety procedures. This includes education on personal protective equipment (PPE), equipment maintenance checks before use, and communication protocols among workers during the job site workday. Compliance with OSHA guidelines is critical for keeping workers safe while providing quality services to customers.

Experience Requirement:

On-The-Job Training

On-the-job training is a crucial requirement for becoming a tree removal contractor by providing tree services. This involves working with experienced professionals to gain hands-on experience in tree removal, pruning, trimming, and other related tasks. This training provides an opportunity to learn about different types of trees, the equipment used, safety practices, and how to interact with customers. Most employers look for candidates who have at least 1-2 years of on-the-job experience.

Professional Networking

Professional networking is also important in this field as it can help you obtain job opportunities and grow your business. Networking involves building relationships with other professionals in the industry such as arborists, landscapers, and property managers. Attending conferences and joining professional organizations can be beneficial in expanding your network. Additionally, having good communication skills and providing excellent customer service can help you build strong relationships with clients who may refer you to others in need of tree removal services.

Licensing Requirements:

Tree removal contractors must comply with state licensing requirements and obtain necessary permits before they can operate their business legally. Each state has its own set of regulations that govern tree removal services, including safety procedures, equipment handling, and insurance coverage. In general, the licensing process involves submitting an application form, passing a written exam and providing proof of liability insurance.

Additionally, tree removal contractors may need to obtain special permits from local authorities to conduct work in certain areas or on specific types of trees. These permits may vary depending on the size and location of the tree as well as the type of equipment used during the removal process. Failure to comply with state licensing requirements or obtain necessary permits can result in hefty fines or legal penalties.


In conclusion, becoming a tree removal contractor is no easy feat. However, it is a profession that can be both challenging and rewarding for those who are up to the task. As mentioned earlier, there are several educational and certification requirements one must meet before becoming eligible for this career. From studying arboriculture to obtaining necessary licenses and insurance policies, it takes hard work and dedication to establish oneself as a professional in this field.

But once you have met these requirements and acquired sufficient experience, the rewards can be plentiful. Tree removal contractors play an essential role in maintaining public safety by removing hazardous trees that pose a threat to people or property. Additionally, they contribute significantly to environmental conservation efforts by planting new trees where old ones have been removed. Moreover, tree removal contractors often enjoy flexible schedules and good pay rates which make their work-life balance more comfortable compared to other professions in related fields.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *