Tree surgeon

Alternative titles for this job include Tree climber, arborist

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

Average salary (a year)

£16,000 Starter

to

£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

41 to 43 a week

You could work

weekends at short notice

How to become a tree surgeon

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 for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

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 Forestry and Arboriculture
  • Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture
  • Level 3 Diploma in Work-based Trees and Timber

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

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, for an intermediate apprenticeship

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 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 National Trust and the Woodland Trust about opportunities.

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.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • 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
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

  • be able to cope with working at height

You may need a driving licence and access to a vehicle to travel to jobs.

What you'll do

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 could work on the road, on rail tracks or in woods, forests or gardens.

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

You may need to wear safety clothing.

Career path and progression

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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Arboriculture Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £156.00 Weekly
  • Location: Sidmouth EX10 9NJ

Arborist Apprentice

  • Wage : £200.00 Weekly
  • Location: West Molesey KT8 2JA

Courses In England

Tree Surgery for Craftsmen

  • Provider: GUILDFORD COLLEGE OF FURTHER AND HIGHER EDUCATION
  • Start date: 16 September 2019
  • Location: Guildford

Award Level 3 Cutting of Trees with a Chainsaw Using Free-fall Techniques

  • Provider: Moulton College
  • Start date: 01 July 2019
  • Location: Northampton

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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