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Job Description


This job is part of our sustainability series:  > See more sustainable job ideas > Find out more about sustainable careers

Tree Surgeons work with trees, hedgerows and shrubs both in urban areas or in the countryside. They seek to improve the health of trees, improve appearance and attend to safety concerns.

Someone in this role will be involved with protecting, pruning, felling, planting and the preservation of trees and shrubs.

Entry Requirements

You can get into this job through:


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 or Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture.

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

The following local colleges offer courses in Arboriculture:


You can get into this job through an arborist intermediate apprenticeship.

You'll usually need some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship.

Click here to search for an apprenticeship.


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

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

Click here to search for a suitable course.


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.

Career Tips

It can be useful to get some experience of tree work by volunteering with conservation organisations or horticultural groups. For example, you can approach conservation organisations, horticulture groups, you can contact The Tree Council, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust about opportunities.

You'll need to:

  • be able to cope with working at height
  • have a Certificate of Competence, if you carry out hazardous tasks using a chainsaw
  • You may need a driving licence and access to a vehicle to travel to jobs.

You can find more details about working with trees through The Arboricultural Association and the Royal Forestry Society.

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.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Arboricultural officer
  • Countryside ranger
  • Countryside officer
  • Forestry worker
  • Forest officer

Required Skills

  • You will need to have an interest in conservation of the countryside
  • You have be prepared to work outside in most weather conditions
  • You will have a genuine interest in trees
  • physical skills like movement and co-ordination
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to work well with others

Salary Range

£21,000 to £34,000

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