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How To Become A Tree Surgeon

Tree surgeon trimming a beech tree
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If you adore the great outdoors and land you might consider becoming a tree surgeon or arborist. There is much more to this role than first meets the eye, and so you need to do your research first. Follow our guidance, which will help you take the first steps towards a career in this exciting industry.

What entry requirements do you need?

Before you undertake any professional training, you need to make sure that you have what it takes to succeed. If you want to sculpt a career in this industry, you need to enjoy hands-on work and working outside. Aside from these attributes, you should be comfortable working at great heights as this will be an integral part of the job. If you want to undertake a college course, you will need some GCSE’s in relevant subjects. If you want to undertake a degree, you will also need three A levels.

What UK courses are available?

If you look online, there is a broad range of courses at your fingertips. Myerscough College, for example, is a specialist institute that offers courses in arboriculture. If you hope to take your education to the next level, you may want to gain a foundation degree in a subject such as countryside management. This qualification will provide an excellent base should you decide to go to university and complete a degree. Aside from these courses, you may want to take the apprenticeship route. That means that you will undertake a diploma in trees and timber during your placement.

What are the main duties of the role?

Once you have qualified, you can work as a tree surgeon. Your daily activities will be highly active. Your duties may include things like general pest control, planting shrubs and hazard assessment. You will also need to make sure that you are ready to prune, inspect and care for trees and will need to be comfortable using chainsaw and rigging equipment.

Income and working hours

Of course, before you start qualifying for this role, you need to know what income you can expect. Initially, you may earn a starting salary of around £16,000 p/a. As you gain experience, though, you can demand more money for your efforts. After some years, you will likely earn between £21,000 and £25,000 p/a. It is likely that you will work 40+ hours per week, including some weekend work. When you have a wealth of experience, you may decide to go it alone and become self-employed or even start an agency. Arbjobs is a good resource for tree surgeon and arbiculture related vacancies.

How dangerous is the job?

Much of the time, you will need to work from some serious heights. That is what makes this role so dangerous. You will have to deal with a range of harsh weather conditions, while operating heavy duty machinery and have working knowledge of specialist tree surgeon equipment. It is crucial that you are agile and capable of multitasking if you want to take on a role of this nature.


We hope we’ve answered the question how to become a tree surgeon. Before you embark on any new career, it is always important to check out your many options. Becoming a tree surgeon or arborist is a massive commitment, and so you need to make sure that it’s the right one for you before you begin. With any luck, our guidance should give you an idea of whether this career is right for you or not.

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