How to become a Tree Surgeon


estimated salary
What do they do?

Want to branch out into a new field? You should become a Tree Surgeon…

Tree Surgeons (AKA Arborists or Tree Climbers) plant, cultivate, and maintain trees, bushes, and hedges.

Aside from using heavy-duty machinery to climb, chop, and prune trees, they’re also responsible for carrying out practical assessments in order to diagnose hazards, which ultimately helps with the conservation and protection of trees.

Whether they’re working in a city park or a countryside woodland, a Tree Surgeon’s role is based around ensuring trees are healthy, well cared for, and able to thrive in their surroundings.

Other key tasks and duties for a Tree Surgeon could include:

  • Liaising with customers to agree work requirements
  • Designing and planning landscape arrangements
  • Inspecting and surveying trees and surrounding land
  • Reporting on damages and potential hazards
  • Tidying work sites and removing tree branches
  • Abiding by health and safety regulations
  • Dealing with pest control
Is it right for me?

A practical work ethic, combined with an in depth knowledge of tree growth and development, is essential if you want to be a good Tree Surgeon. If you’re scared of heights and/or clumsy, you might be barking up the wrong tree with this job.

Because of the often dangerous aspects of the job, a high level of risk awareness and a proficiency in using heavy-duty machinery will help to reduce the potential hazards involved.

A strong interest in nature and conservation are also vital qualities to have. And, you know, trees…

Tree Surgeons will also need to be:

  • Good at map reading
  • Physically fit
  • Able to work under pressure
  • Calm and confident
  • Excellent problem solvers
  • Great communicators
Career Progression

Junior Tree Surgeon

Up to £16,000

Tree Surgeon

Up to £25,000

Senior Tree Surgeon

Up to £30,000

What's it really like?

I absolutely love being outdoors, and have always wanted to find a job that allows me to work with nature. So after doing a few gardening jobs and a bit of DIY landscaping in my own garden – which took a bit of practice (and a few mistakes) to master – I decided to get into tree surgery. For the most part, it’s really fun – but it does take a lot of bravery, especially when you’re tackling a particularly high tree with questionable branch stability. But as long as I always have safety in mind and take the correct precautions, I can complete the job with no problems. Aside from the practical aspects, you also have to survey the trees before you’re able to do any work on them – which is a vital part of their care and maintenance.

Get qualified

There aren’t any set qualifications needed to become a Tree Surgeon, but work experience in a similar field of work will be beneficial (e.g. groundwork or gardening). If you’re lacking in practical experience, taking a course or carrying out voluntary work is a great way to get involved.

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

This practical and hands-on course will give you the knowledge and understanding required for a career in arboriculture or forestry. You will learn Chainsaw maintenance Machinery use Tree felling Tree identification Tree climbing Pruning operations ... Read more

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Arboriculture I (Basic) - Endorsed Certificate Course (TQUK - Training Qualifications UK) develop skills and understanding in the diagnosis and treatment of tree disorders, whether the problem is being caused by pests, disease, nutritional and water problems, or something else. You will also learn about standard tree surgery practice and essential pruning ... Read more

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