Job type

Tree surgeon

£16k - £30k

Typical salary

38 – 43

Hours per week

Tree surgeons or arborists carry out all kinds of tree work including planting, felling, care and maintenance, and hazard assessments.

More info

  • Work with trees, planting, trimming branches, and felling them
  • Physical work, often at height and with harnesses and climbing equipment
  • Work for a company or start your own business

Tree surgeons or arborists manage the health and placement of trees.


  • Assess hazards posed by trees
  • Assess tree health and treatment
  • Prune or remove branches
  • Plant and fell trees


You'll carry out physically demanding, potentially hazardous work that may take place in all weathers and you may need to work some weekends or be available out of hours to deal with emergencies. 

Some tree surgeons work for an employer, but there are often self-employment and consultancy opportunities available for experienced tree surgeons. Depending on the areas you cover, you may need to travel between different sites. Most tree surgeons will have their own vehicle for work.

You'll need

There are no set requirements but many tree surgeons gain experience by starting out as a ground-worker. Ground-workers support tree surgeons and learn how to use chainsaws, ropes, ladders and harnesses.

To build your skills, knowledge, and experience you could take a college or university course. Relevant college courses include a Level 2 Certificate in Forestry and Arboriculture, a Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture, or a Level 3 Diploma in Work-based Trees and Timber. At university you could study forestry, arboriculture, countryside management, forest management, or woodland ecology and conservation.

You could also get into this job through an arborist intermediate apprenticeship.

It will be helpful to build up your experience, and you could can approach conservation organisations, horticulture groups, the National Trust or the Woodland Trust to find voluntary work.


With qualifications and experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager. You could also start your own business. You could also move into recreational tree climbing, taking people into treetops as an outdoor activity.