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Tree Trimmers and Pruners
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Description: what do they do?
Using sophisticated climbing and rigging techniques, cut away dead or excess branches from trees or shrubs to maintain right-of-way for roads, sidewalks, or utilities, or to improve appearance, health, and value of tree. Prune or treat trees or shrubs using handsaws, hand pruners, clippers, and power pruners. Works off the ground in the tree canopy and may use truck-mounted lifts.
Also known as:
Tree Trimmer, Arborist, Line Clearance Foreman, Ground Worker, Trimmer, Tree Climber, Laborer, Climber, Plant Health Care Technician, Groundsman

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: Creating and maintaining outdoor spaces is the work of grounds maintenance workers. Under the direction of a manager, they ensure that both public and private grounds are beautiful and healthy. Landscaping workers are typically employed by homeowners, apartment or office buildings, shopping malls, and hotels… to plant and trim trees, flowers, and other plants. Some maintain permanent fixtures, such as walkways, patios, and decks, or install lighting and sprinkler systems. Groundskeeping workers keep properties, such as parks and businesses, looking good through every season. In summer, they care for plants, grass, and trees… in fall, they rake and mulch leaves… and in winter, they clear snow. They also may maintain parking lots, fountains, swimming pools, and fences. Athletic field groundskeepers keep natural and artificial turf in top condition. They mark out boundaries, and paint turf with team logos and names. At cemeteries, groundskeepers may use a backhoe to dig graves. Greenskeepers maintain golf courses, from intensive turf maintenance, to keeping canopies and tee markers in good repair. Other workers also help keep grounds accessible: pesticide workers apply chemicals to handle weeds, insects, and diseases. Tree trimmers and pruners work high off the ground to cut away excess branches— keeping roads and sidewalks safe, and clearing utility lines. Many grounds maintenance jobs are seasonal, although year-round positions may be available. Work is generally outdoors in all weather conditions, and involves frequent bending, kneeling, lifting and shoveling. Grounds maintenance workers typically do not require any formal education and are trained on the job. Workers who apply pesticides or fertilizers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and must obtain a license.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
54,500
2016 Employment
60,900
2026 Employment
12%
Percent change
7,500
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Tree Trimmers and Pruners in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$23,180
25%$28,730
Median$36,460
75%$47,270
90%$58,910


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2017 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • No work experience
  • Less than 1 month on-the-job training

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Operate grounds maintenance equipment.
  • Drive trucks or other vehicles to or at work sites.
  • Trim trees or other vegetation.
  • Clean equipment or supplies.
  • Supervise maintenance workers.
  • Instruct staff in work policies or procedures.
  • Estimate maintenance service requirements or costs.
  • Inspect landscaping to determine treatment needs.
  • Remove debris from work sites.
  • Treat greenery or surfaces with protective substances.
  • Provide information about landscaping services or costs.
  • Irrigate lawns, trees, or plants.
  • Install equipment to protect or support trees.
  • Prepare chemicals for work application.
  • Plant greenery to improve landscape appearance.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Operation and Control - Using equipment or systems.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Control Precision - Quickly changing the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Reaction Time - Quickly moving your hand, finger, or foot based on a sound, light, picture or other command.
  • Multilimb Coordination - Using your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down.
  • Manual Dexterity - Holding or moving items with your hands.
  • Extent Flexibility - Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - Keeping your arm or hand steady.
  • Static Strength - Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Trunk Strength - Using your lower back and stomach.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Dynamic Strength - Exercising for a long time without your muscles getting tired.
  • Selective Attention - Paying attention to something without being distracted.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Operate shredding and chipping equipment, and feed limbs and brush into the machines.
  • Operate boom trucks, loaders, stump chippers, brush chippers, tractors, power saws, trucks, sprayers, and other equipment and tools.
  • Cut away dead and excess branches from trees, or clear branches around power lines, using climbing equipment or buckets of extended truck booms, or chainsaws, hooks, handsaws, shears, and clippers.
  • Clean, sharpen, and lubricate tools and equipment.
  • Hoist tools and equipment to tree trimmers, and lower branches with ropes or block and tackle.
  • Supervise others engaged in tree trimming work and train lower-level employees.
  • Plan and develop budgets for tree work, and estimate the monetary value of trees.
  • Trim, top, and reshape trees to achieve attractive shapes or to remove low-hanging branches.
  • Inspect trees to determine if they have diseases or pest problems.
  • Load debris and refuse onto trucks and haul it away for disposal.
  • Prune, cut down, fertilize, and spray trees as directed by tree surgeons.
  • Provide information to the public regarding trees, such as advice on tree care.
  • Trim jagged stumps, using saws or pruning shears.
  • Clear sites, streets, and grounds of woody and herbaceous materials, such as tree stumps and fallen trees and limbs.
  • Collect debris and refuse from tree trimming and removal operations into piles, using shovels, rakes, or other tools.
  • Remove broken limbs from wires, using hooked extension poles.
  • Water, root-feed, and fertilize trees.
  • Cable, brace, tie, bolt, stake, and guy trees and branches to provide support.
  • Install lightning protection on trees.
  • Scrape decayed matter from cavities in trees and fill holes with cement to promote healing and to prevent further deterioration.
  • Spray trees to treat diseased or unhealthy trees, including mixing chemicals and calibrating spray equipment.
  • Apply tar or other protective substances to cut surfaces or seal surfaces and to protect them from fungi and insects.
  • Transplant and remove trees and shrubs, and prepare trees for moving.
  • Split logs or wooden blocks into bolts, pickets, posts, or stakes, using hand tools such as ax wedges, sledgehammers, and mallets.
  • Harvest tanbark by cutting rings and slits in bark and stripping bark from trees, using spuds or axes.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

Other resources

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.