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Tree surgeon Tree climber, arborist

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £16,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements but many tree surgeons gain experience in a closely related job like ground worker. Ground workers support tree surgeons and learn how to use chainsaws, ropes, ladders and harnesses.

Experience is highly valued. You can approach conservation organisations, horticulture groups, the National Trust or the Woodland Trust to find voluntary work.


2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to use ropes, harnesses and equipment
  • the ability to understand plans and maps

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • assessing hazards posed by trees
  • assessing tree health and treatment
  • pruning or removing branches
  • planting and felling trees

4. Salary

Starter: £16,000

Experienced: £24,000

Highly Experienced: Up to £30,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

As a full-time tree surgeon working for an employer, you'll usually work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. You may need to work some weekends and you may be called out of hours to deal with emergencies. 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 carry out physically demanding, potentially hazardous work that may take place in all weathers.

6. Career path and progression

With qualifications and experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager. You could also start your own business.

You could move into recreational tree climbing, taking people into treetops as an outdoor activity.

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Last updated: 10 September 2018