Tree surgeon

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Tree surgeons maintain and cut down trees.
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What does a tree surgeon do?

Tree surgeons 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. 


What do I need to do to become a tree surgeon?

You do not need to have specific qualifications to become a tree surgeon. You can train on the job, build up experience in a related job like a grounds worker, or take a course at college.  

You will need to develop climbing experience, become proficient with power tools, and develop an understanding of how to work safely. This is all training which can be done on the job as a trainee or apprentice tree surgeon. 

There are many qualifications you can build up over time from basic tree-climbing, competence in chainsaw operations, and aerial rescue certificates right up to a degree.

Some specialist colleges offer level 2 and 3 courses in arboriculture which can provide useful knowledge and experience. Alternatively it may be possible to start off as a ground worker through an apprenticeship scheme. 


Related skills

  • Physical fitness
  • Customer service
  • Discipline
  • Mechanical knowledge

Related subjects

  • Biology
  • Design technology
  • Geography
  • Physical education

Essential qualifications

  • Physical fitness

Desirable qualifications

  • Climbing experience

Where could I be working?

Being a tree surgeon suits those who like an outdoor life, you need to be prepared to work outdoors in all conditions. 

You could be working as a self-employed tree surgeon or for a small company. You may be working on large projects for the Forestry Commission or on an individual tree for a member of the public. 


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