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

What does an arboricultural officer do?

Arboricultural officers plant, maintain, and perform hazard assessments on trees. They also prune or cut down trees where necessary. Tree surgery can be a dangerous job – it involves use of power tools, a lot of climbing, and working at height – so a high level of physical fitness is required. 

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • advising on tree protection and preservation orders in planning applications
  • managing trees in parks, on housing estates, and at the roadside
  • organising tree planting schemes
  • carrying out tree surveys and monitoring tree numbers, using technology
  • supervising tree care and tree planting contracts on site
  • giving demonstrations and talks on arboriculture and woodlands to schools and community groups
  • assessing tree damage after storms
  • training new staff and volunteers

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of geography
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • administration skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • knowledge of maths
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

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

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject like:

  • 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


You could do a course at an agricultural college, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Arboriculture
  • Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture

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

More information


You could join an organisation as an assistant arboricultural officer, if you've got the right qualifications, certificates of competence and experience, for example as a tree surgeon or groundworker.

Volunteering and experience 

You may find it useful when applying for jobs if you have some relevant work experience. You can get this through working with local authority parks departments, landscaping firms, and tree surgery and forestry contractors.

You can also find volunteering opportunities with conservation bodies like Trees for CitiesThe Tree Council and the Woodland Trust.

Direct application

You could apply directly to become an arboricultural officer. You'll usually need:

  • experience of working in a related job, like an arboricultural assistant, tree surgeon, ecologist or landscape architect
  • a nationally recognised arboricultural qualification like the Level 4 Certificate in Arboriculture


Related skills

  • Ability to understand technical plans
  • Administration
  • Attention to detail
  • Creativity
  • Customer service
  • Discipline
  • Mechanical knowledge
  • Organisation
  • Physical fitness
  • Problem solving
  • Technical ability

Vocational route

  • Level 2 Certificate in Arboriculture
  • Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture

Related subjects

  • Biology
  • Design technology
  • Geography
  • Physical education

Essential qualifications

  • Physical fitness

Desirable qualifications

  • Climbing experience

Where to find out more

You can find out more about working in arboriculture from The Arboricultural Association and the Royal Forestry Society.

Where could I be working?

You could work in woodland, in an office, in parks and gardens or on the streets.

Your working environment may be at height and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career opportunities

With experience, you could manage a team of arboricultural officers, for example in a local authority, and co-ordinate work with outside contractors.

You could also work as a consultant, advising organisations on tree management, conservation and safety.

You may find opportunities with training providers who offer courses in arboriculture.

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

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