Arborists gain qualifications to practice arboriculture in a variety of ways and some arborists are more qualified than others.
Experience working safely and effectively in and around trees is essential. Arborists tend to specialize in one or more disciplines of arboriculture, such as diagnosis and treatment, climbing and pruning, cabling and lightning protection, or perhaps consultation and report writing. All these disciplines are related and some arborists are very well experienced in all areas of tree work, but not all arborists have the training or experience to properly practice every discipline.
Many arborists choose to pursue formal certification, which is available in some countries and varies somewhat by location. An arborist who holds certification in one or more disciplines may be expected to participate in rigorous continuing education requirements to ensure continuous improvement of skills and techniques.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. - Confucius
In Australia arboricultural education and training are streamlined countrywide through a multi-disciplinary vocational education, training, and qualification authority called the Australian Qualifications Framework, which offers varying levels of professional qualification.
In France a qualified arborist must hold a Management of Ornamental Trees certificate, and a qualified arborist climber must hold a Pruning and Care of Trees certificate; both delivered by the French Ministry of Agriculture.
In the UK an arborist can gain qualifications up to and including a Master’s degree. Generally most arborists only attain chainsaw related safety certificates (NPTCs) in addition to the practical qualifications offered by many land-based colleges. College-based courses include further education qualifications, such as national certificate, national diploma, while higher education courses in arboriculture include foundation degree, bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.
In the USA a Certified Arborist (CA) is a professional who has over three years of documented and verified experience and has passed a rigorous written test from the International Society of Arboriculture. Other designations include Municipal Specialist, Utility Specialist and Board Certified Master Arborist (BCMA). The USA and Canada also have college based training which if passed will give the certificate of Qualified Arborist. The Qualified Arborist can then be used to offset partial experience towards the Certified Arborist.
Source: Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arborist