Arboricultural officers manage and maintain trees for local councils and arboricultural contractors.
Salary range: £20,000 to £40,000
How to become an arboricultural officer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject like:
- countryside management
- forest management
- woodland ecology and conservation
You’ll usually need:
- 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could do a course at an agricultural college, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include:
- Level 2 Certificate in Arboriculture
- Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could join an organisation as an assistant arboricultural officer, if you’ve got the right qualifications, certificates of competence and experience, for example as a tree surgeon or groundworker.
Volunteering and experience
You may find it useful when applying for jobs if you have some relevant work experience. You can get this through working with local authority parks departments, landscaping firms, and tree surgery and forestry contractors.
You could apply directly to become an arboricultural officer. You’ll usually need:
- experience of working in a related job, like an arboricultural assistant, tree surgeon, ecologist or landscape architect
- a nationally recognised arboricultural qualification like the Level 4 Certificate in Arboriculture
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of geography
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- administration skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- thinking and reasoning skills
- knowledge of maths
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- advising on tree protection and preservation orders in planning applications
- managing trees in parks, on housing estates and at the roadside
- organising tree planting schemes
- carrying out tree surveys and monitoring tree numbers, using technology
- supervising tree care and tree planting contracts on site
- giving demonstrations and talks on arboriculture and woodlands to schools and community groups
- assessing tree damage after storms
- training new staff and volunteers
You could work in woodland, in an office, in parks and gardens or on the streets.
Your working environment may be at height and outdoors in all weathers.
You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could manage a team of arboricultural officers, for example in a local authority, and co-ordinate work with outside contractors.
You could also work as a consultant, advising organisations on tree management, conservation and safety.
You may find opportunities with training providers who offer courses in arboriculture.