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Tree surgeon

Tree surgeons carry out tree work including planting, felling, care and maintenance, and hazard assessments.

Annual Salary

£16,000 to £30,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

41 to 43 a week

You could work: weekends; at short notice

2%
Future employment

There will be 2% more Tree surgeon jobs in 2025.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • assessing hazards posed by trees
  • assessing tree health and treatment
  • pruning or removing branches
  • planting and felling trees

Working environment

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

You could work in parks and gardens, on the streets, in woodland or on rail tracks.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, at height, dusty and physically demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
University

You can study for a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree.

Relevant courses include:

  • forestry
  • arboriculture
  • countryside management
  • forest management
  • woodland ecology and conservation

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Arboriculture
  • Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You can get into this job through an arborist intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You may be able to start as a ground worker, supporting a qualified tree surgeon. You could then work your way up by completing further training in the use of chainsaws, ropes, ladders and harnesses.

Volunteering and work experience

It can be useful to get some experience of tree work by volunteering with conservation organisations or horticultural groups. For example, you can contact The Tree Council, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust about opportunities.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • You may need a driving licence and access to a vehicle to travel to jobs.
  • be able to cope with working at height
  • have a Certificate of Competence, if you carry out hazardous tasks using a chainsaw

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the The Arboricultrual Association for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find more details about working with trees through The Arboricultural Association and the Royal Forestry Society.

With qualifications and experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager. You could also start your own business.

You could move into recreational tree climbing, taking people into treetops as an outdoor activity.

You can find more details about working with trees through The Arboricultural Association.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • physical skills like movement and co-ordination
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • leadership skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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