Online Arborist Degrees

Aspiring arborists can enroll in an on-campus bachelor's degree program in arboriculture or an online bachelor's or master's degree program in horticulture. Get information on your online options, common coursework and arborist licensure. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Can I Earn an Arborist Degree Online?

Degree programs in arboriculture and urban forestry are not currently offered in an online format; however, bachelor's degree programs in these fields are available on-campus. Another option is to enroll in an online or hybrid degree program in the field of horticulture. Unlike degrees in arboriculture and urban forestry, a degree in horticulture can be earned entirely or partially online. While arborists primarily work with trees, horticulture majors study many forms of plant life. In addition, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) offers various resources for aspiring arborists, such as podcasts and quizzes, which can be accessed online.

Program Availability Degree programs in arboriculture and urban forestry are available on-campus; degree programs in horticulture are available online
Arboriculture Coursework Tree evaluation and identification, ecology, pathology, wildland management
Horticulture Coursework Biotechnology, pest management, biology, soil science and usage, greenhouse management
Online Program Requirements Access to a computer, the Internet and certain software; in-person classes or internships may be required for blended programs
Licensure Information Aspiring arborists with relevant work experience or a degree in the field must pass ISA-approved examinations for arborist certification

What Does an On-campus Arborist Degree Program Entail?

In an on-campus bachelor's degree program in arboriculture, you'll learn how to preserve trees while maintaining the safety of local buildings and communities. Through your ability to recognize dead or hazardous trees, you'll determine whether it's best to prune or remove them. You'll also learn how to care for trees and how to use them in landscaping. Other areas of study include the insects and diseases that affect trees, how trees are viewed by society and arboricultural resource management. Some of the subjects you may study include the following:

  • Tree identification
  • Wildland management
  • Forest planning
  • Tree evaluation
  • Tree ecology
  • Plant pathology

What Does an Online Degree Program in Horticulture Entail?

Online horticulture degrees are often conferred at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. A bachelor's degree program in horticulture focuses on producing, marketing and selling plants used for landscaping or other ornamental purposes. You'll explore science-intensive topics, such as entomology, plant reproduction and plant hybridization. Many programs offer courses on planting in urban settings and other environments. Common areas of study include the following:

  • Pest management
  • Soil usage
  • Plant nutrients
  • Plant biology
  • Horticulture techniques

Master's degree programs may offer concentrations in food safety, environmental science or pest management. In a graduate program, you'll study the relationship between agriculture and trade and learn how agriculture is affected by global issues. Some of the subjects you may study are:

  • Plant diseases
  • Greenhouse management
  • Biotechnology
  • Shrubs as landscapes
  • Turf grass
  • Flower arrangements
  • Soil science
  • Fruit production

How Do Online Programs in Horticulture Work?

Online programs in horticulture work similarly to other online programs. Students are expected to have access to a computer, the Internet and specific software applications. Coursework and exams are typically delivered online, often via a learning platform such as Blackboard.

While some programs in horticulture can be taken entirely online, others come in a hybrid format, in which certain classes or internships must be completed on-campus or in person. Some of these hybrid programs may give you the option of earning credits at alternate universities near your area of residence. For additional flexibility, certain on-campus courses may also be offered at night.

How Do I Become a Certified Arborist?

Whether you study arboriculture or horticulture, it is important to earn certification if you intend to become an arborist. Arborist certification is offered by the ISA; these certifications include the Certified Arborist, the Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist and the Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist. The ISA also offers Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to those with current arborist certification.

To qualify for the various certification examinations, you must have relevant work experience, a degree in the field or a combination of the two. By becoming certified, you'll demonstrate to potential employers and clients your dedication to tree care, safety and continued arboricultural education. According to the Occupational Outlook Quarterly, a magazine published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), arborists are often viewed as 'tree doctors'; therefore, it is advantageous if you can prove your botanical expertise via certification.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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