Tree Trimmer Licensing

States Licensed


of 50 states and D.C.


Burden Rank


for average burdens 1st is worst


Combined Rank


for states licensed x average burdens 1st is worst

Change from 2017 to 2022, if any:
Burden increased
Burden decreased
Mixed burden change
New license
Eliminated license
2022 Licensing Burden Rank
Lower Burden Rank
Higher Burden Rank
No state license

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Tree trimmers cut away dead or excess branches from trees or shrubs to maintain right-of-way for roads, sidewalks or utilities or improve appearance, health and value of trees. This report looks at what is required to run one’s own tree trimming business. For California and Hawaii, we observe contractor licenses that apply only to tree trimming jobs over a certain contract size. See Appendix B under “Contractor Occupations – Commercial and Residential” for more details.

2022 Snapshot

  • 43 unlicensed states
  • Days lost range from 0 (5 states) to 1,460 (California, Hawaii)
  • Fees range from $25 (Minnesota) to $725 (Connecticut)
  • 7 states require 1+ exam
  • 5 states set minimum age
  • 0 states set minimum grade

Changes Since 2017

  • No licenses created or removed
  • Hawaii, California and Maine increased fees
  • Burden rank worsened 8 spots, largely because fees increased in nearly half the states that license the occupation and other occupations improved more; combined rank stayed the same because of similar burden changes in similarly ranked occupations and because the occupation is licensed by relatively few states

2022 Licensing Burden in Detail

N New License
E Eliminated License

Data Notes: 2022 data collected between February 3, 2020, and March 18, 2022. Fees include charges for application review and license issuance; exams; background checks, credit reports and fingerprinting; recovery fund contributions; third-party certification; and certain fees for training courses. Calendar days lost were estimated based on required education and experience; except for amounts smaller than one day, days lost are rounded to whole days and thus may not reflect very small changes between 2017 and 2022. Appendix A details methods for estimating days lost and calculating burden ranks. Complete data, including revised 2017 data, are available at

Additional Resources