Arboricultural Career Hub

Find information on and pathways to careers in arboriculture.

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Join us on Friday, September 9 for the Trees and Tacos Career Fair.

The September 2022 Trees and Tacos Career Fair is a one stop shop for discovering meaningful, exciting careers working with trees. Speak to arborists and urban foresters about their work and discover open positions that provide training on the job. There will be live demonstrations, micro career talks, trucks and equipment on display, vendor booths to get familiar with myriad opportunities.

If that’s not enough, a taco truck will have free tacos for the first 100 participants and there will be a raffle, so register and join us for a nice afternoon among the trees!

This event is free and registration is requested (but not required) to enable us to prepare appropriately. Registration ahead of the career fair earns you one free raffle ticket! Join us in person on Friday, September 9, 2022 at Thatcher Woods in River Forest from 2–5 p.m.

Ready for a taste of what you’ll find? Check out the other page sections to learn more about career options and educational opportunities in arboriculture.

Interested in having a booth or donating a raffle prize? Fill out this form.


Thank you to our planning partners.

Check out the schedule of micro career talk—five minute presentations from a variety of tree professionals about what they do and how they got there.


2:15 p.m. Welcome!

2:20–2:25 p.m. Illinois Pests, Tricia Bethke, The Morton Arboretum/ USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

2:35–2:40 p.m. Consulting and Plant Health Care, Scott Jamieson, Bartlett Tree Experts

2:50–2:55 p.m. Utility Forestry—what the industry is all about and how to get engaged, Sara Dreiser, ComEd

3:05–3:10 p.m. Openlands Arborist Registered Apprenticeship program, Katie Fleming, Openlands

3:20–3:25 p.m. Beyond Tree Climbing and Chainsaw Operation—Pathways to Tree Careers, Paul Filary, Illinois Arborist Association

3:35–3:40 p.m. Aspects of urban forest position with City of Chicago, John Lough, Chicago Bureau of Forestry

3:50–3:55 p.m. Growing plants and trees, Josh Pepping, Midwest Groundcovers

4:05–4:10 p.m. Forestry in Natural Areas, Steve Smith, Forest Preserves of Cook County

4:45 p.m. Raffle winners announced


Register for the event here

Demonstrations provide a chance to watch some of the day to day tasks of professional arborists—or even try some out for yourself!

Meet with employers in the arboricultural industry.

The organizations below are ready to match you with the right career opportunity. Plan ahead to enquire about specific positions or just come ready to network with professionals with varied backgrounds. Each organization includes a description from their website and a link to get more information.


USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)/ The Morton Arboretum

“For nearly 50 years, APHIS has been protecting the health and value of America’s agricultural and natural resources.”


Backwoods Tree Service, Inc.

“Our primary goal is maintaining the well-being of your trees, while meeting and exceeding your standards of excellence. We do so by focusing on getting the job done right the first time, and completing the project as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality, and most importantly safety.”


Bartlett Tree Experts

“From its over 100 offices worldwide, Bartlett helps both residential and commercial customers maintain beautiful, healthy trees. Bartlett is dedicated to developing environmentally sound products and promoting their use on our clients’ properties.”

Learn more about opportunities on their careers page.


Davey Tree Expert Company

“With operations throughout North America, our branches have expanded, but our commitment to scientifically-based horticultural and environmental services and outstanding client service has never wavered.”

Learn more about opportunities on their careers page.


Forest Preserves of Cook County

“To maintain robust ecosystems for plants and animals in an urban landscape, nature needs our help. Forest Preserves staff work with nonprofit partners and thousands of volunteers to conserve, preserve and restore the land, guided by plans like our Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan and using effective management techniques like prescribed burning.”

Learn more about opportunities on their careers webpage.


Gateway Technical College

“Gateway Technical College began in 1911 as America’s first publicly funded technical college, preparing students to achieve their academic and professional goals. Our hands-on training in over 70 programs of study prepares 21,000 students annually to enter new careers or advance their current ones. We value and serve students and communities in Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties through a nationally recognized approach to career and technical education.”

Visit their website to learn more about their Career Pathways Map.


Great Lakes Urban Forestry Management and Graf Tree Care

“Graf Tree Care, Inc. is a tree care/urban forestry consulting firm founded in 1999 in the western suburbs of Chicago, IL. Our company has 16 employees, eight of which are ISA Certified Arborists, two ISA Municipal Specialists, and one Board Certified Master Arborist. We have three divisions: Tree Pruning/Removal, Plant Health Care, Natural Resources Management & GIS”


Greencorps Chicago

“Greencorps Chicago’s mission is to empower residents from Chicagoland’s underserved neighborhoods to create change in their lives and communities through training, service, and career opportunities in environmental fields. Greencorps’ project-based model accomplishes daily technical skills and job readiness training while also developing and implementing meaningful projects that support regional sustainability and resiliency initiatives.”

Visit their website to apply for career opportunities.


Illinois Arborist Association (IAA)

“IAA Foster interest, establish standards, exchange professional ideas and pursue scientific research in arboriculture.”

Learn how to become a certified arborist with the IAA.


Imani Village Green Health Advocates

“Imani Green Health Advocates, a career development initiative from Imani Village and collaborators Trinity United Church of Christ, Advocate Health Care, Chicago Region Trees Initiative, The Morton Arboretum, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service and others. The Imani Green Health Advocates program provides professional development and career training to a small cohort of participants, orienting them toward careers in three areas: environmental health, community health and spiritual health.”

Learn more about Imani Village.


Kramer Tree Specialists, Inc.

“Our primary goal at Kramer Tree Specialists is to promote the practice of safe and professional arboriculture and empower our clients to be the caretakers of their trees.  To achieve this goal, it is integral that our team and clients understand a common goal and shared core values. Our Mission and Core Values that we live by: Safe & Professional Arboriculture, Exceptional Client Service, Exceptional Work Environment, Innovate,

Learn more about opportunities on their careers webpage.


Midwest Groundcovers

“Growing & Propagating Over 20 Million of the Finest Wholesale Plants in the Midwest. Although Groundcovers are our specialty, Midwest Groundcovers’ plant offerings include Evergreens and Broadleaves, Deciduous Shrubs, Perennials, Ornamental Grasses, Vines and Native Prairie, Wetland and Woodland species. We are leaders in the Green Industry in partnering with landscape architects, landscape designers, green roof and plant professionals to create inspiring planting combination solutions. Experts in plants for Midwestern durability and sustainability for over five decades. We are a Wholesale Grower, not open to the public.”

Learn more about open positions and internships.


Openlands Apprenticeship Program

“The Arborist Registered Apprenticeship is a 3-year training program administered by Openlands in partnership with the Department of Labor and Tree Care Companies across the Chicago region. The Apprenticeship coordinates with the industry to improve recruitment and retention, and create a path to welcome a more diverse and experienced applicants. At the same time, the program introduces participating apprentices to a diverse array of career opportunities in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry all while being paid, gaining credentials, and professional training by certified arborists in the field.”

The application for the Arborist Registered Apprenticeship is closed for the 2022 year. Email with any questions.


Pizzo Group: Ecological Restoration

“The Pizzo Group is a family of companies that restores ecosystems and provides sustainable landscape solutions that are both beautiful and functional.”

Find open positions in land restoration with Pizzo and Associations and with Pizzo Native Plant Nurseries.


Russo Power

“Since our modest beginning on the northwest side of Chicago, we have evolved from a neighborhood hardware store to the top landscape supplier with 1 Wisconsin (COMING SOON!) and 5 Chicagoland locations. We’re a local, family-owned and operated business and we take pride in personally getting to know all of our customers, both large and small.”

Learn more about opportunities on their careers webpage.


SavATree Tree Care

“At SavATree, we are committed to providing high quality tree and plant health care services to maintain the structural integrity, shape, appearance and overall well-being of your landscape. Our plant health care programs encourage microbial activity, improve root system health, facilitate nutrient uptake and help manage insect, pest, mite and disease issues. Other tree care services include expert tree pruning, hand pruning of shrubs, removals, cabling, lightning protection and storm damage risk audits.”

Learn more about opportunities on their careers webpage.


Vote Yes Campaign

“The forest preserves of Cook County are an integral part of our community and contribute to our quality of life. Our forest preserves play an important role in helping to protect water and air quality, as well as habitat for wildlife. They give residents of all ages a place to explore nature, be active and healthy, and provide job and scholarship opportunities in communities throughout the county.”


Western Illinois University – Forestry

“This two-year curriculum is designed to prepare students to enter a school of professional forestry with advanced standing.”


Winkler Tree Service

“Founded in 1975, Winkler Tree & Lawn Care has grown to be one of the largest comprehensive tree and lawn care companies in the Chicagoland area. In addition to being Illinois’ first nationally accredited tree care company by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), we are a member of both the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the Society of Commercial Arboriculture (SCA). Additionally, our staff includes six ISA-certified arborists with over 100 years of cumulative experience!”

Learn more about opportunities on their careers webpage.

What kind of arboricultural careers exist?

There is a career in arboriculture for anyone who is interested in trees. Whether you prefer to work in an office, lab, or outdoors; or work in the tops of the canopy or keep your feet on the ground; or work independently or on teams, arboriculture has something for everyone. The links below help you sort out what kind of careers exist in arboriculture and urban forestry.

Careers in Arboriculture (Tree Care Industry Association) Find descriptions of different career paths in tree care.

Canopy Career Chronicles (The Morton Arboretum) Explore various tree science careers with graphic stories.

What is an Arborist? ( Read an overview of the field of arboriculture.

Find pathways to a career in arboriculture.

Listed below are places to find educational programs and resources to help you on your way to a career in arboriculture.

Become Certified (Illinois Arborist Association) Become a certified arborist or pursue advanced qualifications to give yourself a competitive edge on your resume.

Educational Events (Illinois Green Industry Association) Discover more events that explore the arboricultural industry.

Training (Illinois Arborist Association) Check out this page to keep up to date on classes and trainings to grow your skill set.

Take the next step towards a new career in tree care with these green industry job posting sites.

Are you ready to take the next step? These sites are a great place to find your next career in arboriculture and other green industries.

Arborist Registered Apprenticeship Program (Openlands) Openlands offers a 3-year training program administered by Openlands in partnership with the Department of Labor and Tree Care Companies across the Chicago region.

Career Center (Tree Care Industry Association) This online career center lists open positions submitted by TCIA qualified tree care companies.

GreenCorps Chicago (GreenCorps Chicago) GreenCorps features a paid green-industry employment program with on-the-job training focused on preparing participants for successful employment in fields of ecological restoration, green infrastructure, tree care, and landscaping.

Employment Opportunities (Illinois Arborist Association) This webpage lists open positions in Illinois and is updated frequently.

Youth Programs (Student Conservation Association) This organization offers a range of different programs for youth ages 15–19.