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 of pests, diseases and nutritional deficiencies in trees, 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. 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. 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 s varying levels of professional qualification. Government institutions including Technical and Further Education TAFE Certificate III or a diploma in arboriculture as well as some universities. There are also many private institutions covering similar educational framework in each state. Recognition of prior learning is also an option for practicing arborists with 10 or more experience with no prior formal training. It allows them to be assessed and fast track their certification.
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 dered by the French Ministry of Agriculture.