Tree Surgeon

Job Description:

Tree surgeons carry out tree work including planting, cutting down, maintenance and hazard assessments.

Job Category:
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

What you will do:

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • identify any hazards caused by trees
  • plant trees and assess their health
  • climb trees to cut back or remove branches
  • cut down and remove trees and stumps
  • service equipment like chainsaws
  • work with clients to produce tree survey reports

Working environment

You could work in parks and gardens, on the streets, in woodland or on rail tracks.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, at height, dusty and physically demanding.

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


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • physical skills like movement and co-ordination
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • customer service skills & leadership skills


Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Tree Surgeon, which is also known as an Arborist or Tree Care Specialist, specific subjects are not typically required. However, having a strong foundation in certain subjects can be helpful for pursuing this career. Tree Surgeons are responsible for the maintenance, care, and removal of trees, and they need to have a good understanding of biology, forestry, and arboriculture. Here are some useful subjects:

  1. Biology: Biology can provide a fundamental understanding of plant biology and tree structure, which is essential for tree care and maintenance.
  2. Environmental Science: Courses in environmental science can be valuable, as they cover topics related to ecology, conservation, and environmental management.
  3. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are important for measurements and calculations involved in tree work, such as determining tree heights, angles, and loads.
  4. Design and Technology: This subject can be relevant, especially if it includes coursework related to construction, machinery, or working with tools.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

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 could do a college course to get some of the skills and knowledge you need as a tree surgeon.

Relevant subjects, in the UK for example, include:

  • Certificate in Arboriculture
  • Work-based Trees and Timber
  • Felling and Processing Trees
  • Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture

You might be able to get into this job through an arborist or a forest operative intermediate apprenticeship.

You might be able to start as a ground worker, supporting a qualified tree surgeon. You could then complete further training to use chainsaws, ropes, ladders and harnesses.

You can find these types of courses from private training providers and further education colleges.

You might find it useful to get some experience of tree work before applying for jobs.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typical hours are 41-43 hours a week. You could also work during the weekends at short notice.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could:

  • progress to tree surgeon supervisor or manager
  • start your own business
  • move into recreational tree climbing and take people into treetops as an outdoor activity