1. Home: Explore careers
  2. Tree surgeon

Tree surgeon

Alternative titles for this job include Tree climber, arborist

Tree surgeons carry out tree work including planting, cutting down, maintenance and hazard assessments.

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter

to

£38,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

41 to 43 a week

You could work

weekends at short notice

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

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 to get some of the skills and knowledge you need as a tree surgeon.

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
  • T Level in Agriculture, Land Management and Production

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
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level

More Information

Apprenticeship

You might 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 might be able to start as a ground worker, supporting a qualified tree surgeon. You could then complete further training to use chainsaws, ropes, ladders and harnesses.

You can find these types of courses from private training providers and further education colleges.

Volunteering

You might find it useful to get some experience of tree work before applying for jobs. 

You can contact conservation organisations like The Tree Council, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust about volunteering opportunities.

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the The Arboricultural 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

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

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

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • identify any hazards caused by trees
  • plant trees and assess their health
  • climb trees to cut back or remove branches
  • cut down and remove trees and stumps
  • service equipment like chainsaws
  • work with clients to produce tree survey reports

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

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could:

  • progress to tree surgeon supervisor or manager
  • start your own business
  • move into recreational tree climbing and take people into treetops as an outdoor activity

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Arborist

  • Wage: £11,700.00 Annually
  • Location: WEST HALLAM, ILKESTON

Arborist Apprentice

  • Wage: £10,004.80 Annually
  • Location: Escot Park, Ottery St. Mary, Devon

Courses In England

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

  • Provider: CAPEL MANOR COLLEGE
  • Start date: 04 September 2023
  • Location: London

Arboriculture & Forestry

  • Provider: SUFFOLK NEW COLLEGE
  • Start date: 12 September 2023
  • Location: Ipswich

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. Click here if you'd like to let us know how we can improve the service.