Becoming a Tree Surgeon


Becoming a tree surgeon is no easy task, and neither is acquiring the skills required to effectively perform the job. Today’s tree surgeons are in this field of work via either college education and training or on the job training. Either avenue is acceptable, but both have their pros and cons.

Becoming a Tree Surgeon

Choosing College

If they choose to take the college route, tree surgeons will receive a more in depth training on the theory behind not only tree surgery, but also the information it takes to progress toward becoming an arborist.  They will receive an extensive amount of hands on training and all the certification requirements to allow them to progress quickly in this field.

Like most other jobs, having been college trained and having more certifications makes it easier for these arborists to find a job quickly.  Employers don’t have to worry about completely training them and they are therefore considered a better asset to a company.  A college education can also mean that these tree surgeons will be paid more and can expect about £100 per day.

While the training and certifications are definitely a plus, it’s important to remember that a college education does not automatically make you a good tree surgeon.  It takes a certain skill set to be able to excel at this job and all the theory in the world will not provide you with the necessary physical skills.

Another consideration to make before choosing college training for tree surgery is whether you are absolutely sure you will enjoy it and want to spend the rest of your life doing it.  It may be in your best interest to fully research the job and even talk to people and observe other tree surgeons.  It would be tragic to devote so much time and money to a college education only to find out that you absolutely hate the job.

On the Job Training

No matter what the field of work is, on the job training provides the luxury of learning as you go.  Rather than taking the time to learn the complex theory behind the work, you learn each skill as the need arises in a more hands on approach.

If you choose this avenue towards becoming a tree surgeon, you will have to exercise a significant amount of patience and be able to trust your superiors.  Tree surgery is an extremely dangerous line of work and you will remain a grounds man for as long as your supervisor feels it is necessary before being allowed to start climbing.

Progressing to the role of full blown arborist could take years just depending on your individual skills and how quickly you are able to learn and perform pertinent tasks.  The main thing you will focus on is being able to safely use a chainsaw on the ground; while it sounds simple, there’s much more to it than you may realise.

Unlike the college route, on the job training gives you the opportunity to find out if tree surgery is really what you want to do before you dedicate too much time to it.  Not to mention that the experience you will gain will be absolutely priceless to your future as a tree surgeon or arborist.
Keep in mind that it may be difficult to be hired by a good tree surgery company if you have no prior experience or training.  If you do manage to be hired, companies will often keep you limited to climbing and cutting, which may not be what you want if you are interested in the more in depth aspects of being an arborist.  Also, the pay for someone who chooses on the job training over college is significantly lower.  You can expect to make a starting wage of about £40 per day.