Arboricultural officers maintain and manage trees for local councils or arboricultural contractors.

What does an arboricultural officer do?

Arboricultural officers organise inspections and surveys of trees, or advise people how to care for them. You might work for a local council and your activities may include:

  • advising on planning applications to take account of tree protection laws
  • advising on the effect developments may have on trees in an area, and how best to include them in planned projects
  • managing trees in parks, open areas and at the side of roads, organising tree surveys, recording tree locations
  • answering enquiries from the public, and planning tree planting schemes
  • supervising tree care and tree planting contracts by site visits, and overseeing contractors' work
  • giving demonstrations, talks and training 

You might also work as an arboricultural consultant – your duties may involve:

  • making recommendations to tree owners and managers on tree health
  • providing written technical reports on tree safety
  • representing clients in legal, insurance and planning matters relating to trees

As an arboricultural contractor for a professional tree surgery company, you could be:

  • giving tree health and safety management advice
  • selecting plants and designing landscaping schemes
  • managing staff and overseeing work

What do I need to do to become an arboricultural officer?

You’ll need to be interested in conservation and the environment, and have excellent communication skills to supervise workers. You’ll also need some relevant paid or voluntary experience in planting, landscaping or developing urban spaces.​

Arboricultural officers usually enter this job with a nationally recognised arboricultural qualification like the National Certificate in Arboriculture, or a higher-level qualification. It will help if you have a foundation degree, HND or degree in a related subject such as arboriculture, forestry, ecology or biology.

To do a degree, you usually need five GCSEs (A-C) including maths, English and science, plus three A levels. You should check with universities for exact entry requirements as other qualifications may also be accepted. 

You need to be physically fit.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • People management
  • Physical fitness
  • Teamwork

Academic route

  • BSc in Countryside Management

Vocational route

  • Level 2 Certificate in Forestry and Arboriculture
  • Level 4 Diploma in Arboriculture
  • Foundation degree in Arboriculture

Related subjects

  • Biology
  • Geography

Desirable qualifications

  • Foundation degree, HND or degree in a related subject. There can be a lot of competition to get into this job. Relevant subjects may include forestry, arboriculture, country management, forest management, woodland ecology and conservation

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You’ll be working outdoors and may need to travel between different sites.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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