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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, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, 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 Arboriculture
  • Level 2 Work-based Trees and Timber
  • Level 2 Felling and Processing Trees
  • 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

More Information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to get into this job through an arborist or a forest operative intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, 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.

Courses are offered by private training providers and further education colleges.

Volunteering

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.

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.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

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
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

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

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Day-to-day, you could:

  • identify hazards posed by trees
  • assess tree health and treatment
  • climb trees to prune or remove branches
  • plant trees and vegetation
  • fell and remove trees and grind stumps
  • chip and cut logs and branches
  • service equipment like chainsaws and chippers
  • produce tree survey reports for domestic and commercial clients
  • deal with clients and complete admin tasks

Working environment

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 may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

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

Arborist Apprentice

  • Wage: £156.00 Weekly
  • Location: Sunderland

Apprentice Arborist

  • Wage: £258.00 Weekly
  • Location: Alfreton

Courses In England

Arboriculture (Tree Surgery) and Forestry Intermediate Diploma (Level 2)

  • Provider: CAPEL MANOR COLLEGE
  • Start date: 06 September 2021
  • Location: London

Diploma Level 3 Forestry and Arboriculture

  • Provider: MOULTON COLLEGE
  • Start date: 06 September 2021
  • Location: Northampton

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