Proper tree maintenance is a sensitive task. This is due to the fact that even minor errors can transform what should be a helpful tree maintenance practice such as pruning into a catastrophe. Hence, it is crucial to ensure that individuals managing your tree care requirements are adequately trained, qualified, experienced, and skilled.

A level 3 arborist is an arborist who completed a Certificate III in arboriculture course and has the skills and training needed to sufficiently take care of trees in an urban environment. They can trim, remove, and provide risk and hazard assessments on trees.

Here is what you should know about level 3 arborists.

What qualifications does a level 3 arborist have?

In order for one to be a level 3 arborist, they need to have successfully completed a Certificate III arboriculture course1. They also tend to have a respectable level of work experience in the arboriculture industry, especially given that most institutions that provide the Certificate III course include it as part of their minimum requirements for anyone wanting to take their course.

Generally, a level 3 arborist will have mastered the art of tree care including knowing how to use the most up-to-date tree care techniques.

This includes knowing how to:

  • Identify different tree species and their needs.
  • Operate and maintain machinery and tools used for pruning, cutting, and removing trees.
  • Precisely inspect trees in order to determine their health status, their needs, and ways to treat or fix them.
  • Manage and coordinate common activities that take place on worksites
  • Come up with, implement, and review different tree maintenance programs.
  • Conduct various types of aerial rescues.
  • Identify common diseases and pests, and administer the appropriate treatment.
What is a level 3 arborist

What do level 3 arborists charge?

Generally, an arborist will charge between $75 to $4,500 for tree pruning and tree removal services. The actual cost that they end up with usually varies greatly depending on the size of the tree, how easy it is to access it, the type of tree, and the number of trees that they have to work on. Additional services like stump removal and clearing and disposal of debris also tend to attract an additional charge.

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What tasks can a level 3 arborist do?

A level 3 arborist can do the following tasks.

  • Plant trees.
  • Rehabilitate damaged or dying trees.
  • Prune trees.
  • Monitor tree health.
  • Grind and remove tree stumps.
  • Take preventative measures to protect trees from diseases, pests, or storm damage.
  • Apply pesticides and other treatments to trees.
  • Give advice on appropriate tree care.
  • Test soil conditions and take measures to ensure that they are ideal for tree growth.

Difference between a level 3 & level 5 arborist?

While in order to be a level 3 arborist you need to have a Certificate III in either arboriculture or horticulture, a level 5 arborist needs to have a Diploma in either horticulture or arboriculture. Therefore, you need a higher qualification under the Australian Qualification Framework(AQF) in order to be a level 5 arborist.

There is also a difference2 with regard to the type of work they generally do. Level 5 arborists tend to be consultants thanks to their higher level of qualification, extensive on-the-job experience, and thorough training. On the other hand, level 3 arborists tend to do tasks like tree pruning, tree removal, and even the actual climbing of trees.

Level 5 arborists tend to be well-versed in the art of writing technical reports, carrying out assessments, and offering general consulting services to governments, private institutions, and even homeowners. As such, they tend to be referred to as consulting arborists. This is unlike level 3 arborists who are usually called climbing arborists.

Difference between a level 3 & level 5 arborist prof work

Is a level 3 arborist certified?

Just because someone is a level 3 arborist does not mean that he or she has received certification. This is because all you have to be considered a level 3 arborist is a Certificate III in arboriculture. Certification is an extra step that involves meeting the certifying organization’s — like ISA — eligibility requirements.


An ISA-certified arborist is an arborist who has taken the ISA Certified Arborist exam and passed. He or she is an arborist who has proven their understanding of all mattresses relating to arboriculture and they have received the training necessary to complement it.

It also tends to imply that they have more than 3 years of practical experience in the arboriculture industry. And that they have a degree in a related field. Why? Because these are the basic requirements that one needs to meet in order to be eligible for the ISA Certified Arborist exam.

Generally, level 3 arborists do not do arborist reports. Typically, it is level 5 arborists who do arborist reports since they tend to have undergone the training necessary to competently prepare them. Level 3 arborists tend to be restricted to doing routine tree care routines like tree planting, pruning, removal, and treatment.

Yes, an arborist and tree doctor are the same thing since both terms refer to a professional who is trained in the art and science of tree care.

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  1. TAFE NSW, (2021) Certificate III in Arboriculture. <–AHC30820-01> Accessed: 01-03-2024.
  2. Damian Green, (2023) Exploring the Expertise of Arborists at Different AQF Levels. <> Accessed: 01-03-2024.
Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.