Associate Degree in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry


Program Description

Do you prefer to work outdoors? Don’t like being confined to an office?

If so, Gateway’s Arboriculture/Urban Forestry Technician Degree program is the one for you. Almost all the work is conducted outside, working with a variety of tools and machinery. And, if you choose to climb trees, you can have your very own natural “office” with a view every day.

Gateway’s Arboriculture/Urban Forestry Technician associate degree provides the hands-on skills and natural resource education for graduates to enter this exciting career field of arborists, urban foresters and related occupations. It offers family-sustaining wages and year-round work with private, corporate or government landowners.

Gateway is only one of two technical colleges in Wisconsin to offer an associates degree in this field.

Students will learn how to climb trees and use associated manual and technical equipment, on Gateway’s Kenosha Campus and surrounding areas. Along with insights into Urban Forestry, students will learn skills to become an arborist, urban forester or a professional who handles many aspects of caring for trees and removing unhealthy or unsafe trees. Those in this industry also are trained to be consultants, plant health care experts, and inventory managers.

Gateway offers a pesticide applicator course which further boosts a graduate’s ability to enter their career and succeed.

Learning By Doing

Gateway’s Arboriculture/Urban Forestry Technician graduates enter the workforce with real-world knowledge and skills. Our students learn the fundamentals of pruning, plant health care, tree planting and maintenance, plant identification, tree risk assessment, and landscape installation and management through hands-on as well as classroom experience.

Our unique aerial component gives our graduates experience working safely high up in the trees. You’ll be outside learning rope and harness climbing, and the operation of aerial lifts, brush clippers, and other industrial equipment.

Safety is a primary focus of our program. Students learn and follow industry-specific safety standards while gaining skills and advanced theory in aerial arboricultural operations, including working safely at a height to prune or remove trees near structures and obstacles. Safe equipment operation of a brush chipper and other industry-specific equipment is explored. Landscape management and design skills are also examined, preparing students for careers as a horticulture technician, landscape maintenance technician, landscaping design and installation, park maintenance technician and vegetation mapping.

Admission Requirements

  1. Students must submit an application and pay $30 fee.
  2. Students must complete reading, writing, and math skills placement assessments.
  3. Students must submit official high school, GED, or HSED transcript.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Minimum 64 credits with an average of 2.0 or above.
  2. *Average of 2.0 (“C”) or above for these major courses.

For a complete list of Graduation Requirements, check the Student Handbook.

Program Offerings

Location(s) Starting Term(s)
Days Kenosha FA

After Graduation

Arboriculture involves the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining individual trees. Those who work in the field are referred to as arborists.

Gateway graduates will be trained to plant trees as well as maintain young and mature trees. They will also learn how to prune trees in a way to ensure they are safe and grow to a healthy mature size to provide maximum benefits to city residents or homeowners. They will also be trained in technical and specialized tree removals for unhealthy, undesirable, or high-risk trees located around houses and other obstacles. Tree removals and pruning are conducted with specialized equipment varying from aerial lifts to climbing trees using a rope and harness.

Graduates will be trained to work as plant health care technicians, combating tree pests and diseases to help sick trees become healthy again. Coursework helps graduates to gain the knowledge to be a consultant for a variety of tree issues, including risk assessment for pruning and removal of trees.

Urban foresters manage and care for forests within urban areas to improve the overall quality of life for urban residents. Urban forestry technicians understand the inherent value of trees and may act as advocates for forests in urban environments, deciding where trees should be planted, and demonstrating their aesthetic and economic value.

Gateway graduates will be trained to prune trees, plant trees, manage tree care, and collecting data to better understand urban forest environments.

Job & Salary Outlook

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate tree trimmers and pruners earned in Wisconsin an average salary of $36,830 to $39,220 annually in Wisconsin in 2015. Some areas show an average of $50,000.

Nationally, government figures show employment of tree trimmers and pruners will grow at a rate of 18 percent, faster than the average for all occupations. Future “smart cities” are slated to include more green space, and many cities and towns are already planting more trees.

This trend will open up opportunities for arborists.

Last updated Oct 2018

About the School

Education that provides our students a way to gain the skills to fulfill their dreams, right where they are today and tomorrow. That’s what we do here at Gateway Technical College. Each year, Gateway’ ... Read More

Education that provides our students a way to gain the skills to fulfill their dreams, right where they are today and tomorrow. That’s what we do here at Gateway Technical College. Each year, Gateway’s strong education and hands-on, real-world training through 65 different programs provides the foundation for more than 21,000 students to earn the skills to a new career – or better themselves in their current one. Read less
Kenosha , Elkhorn , Racine , Sturtevant , Walworth , Kenosha + 5 More Less