Finding a tree surgeon: the best qualifications and training to look for

There aren’t any specific qualifications that you need to have to be able to call yourself a tree surgeon. However, the best professionals will have a range of specialised training and qualifications to make sure they do a good job and obey health and safety laws.

Read on to find out about the training and qualifications to look for when you’re searching for a reliable tree surgeon.


While there isn’t any UK legislation specifically relating to tree surgery, there are general work safety laws that all professionals need to obey. These are:

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

These laws say that employers and the self-employed have a duty to provide workplace and equipment-specific training.

They also say that machine drivers should have adequate training and that anyone working with chainsaws needs training and a relevant certificate of competence or national competence award.

So what qualifications or training should a tree surgeon have?

As UK law doesn’t identify specific required qualifications and training from particular providers, it can be hard to say what a good tree surgeon should have.

A competence certificate or award in working with a chainsaw is a must. However, as workers are allowed to use chainsaws when undergoing training, it’s usually ok if a member of a tree surgeon’s team doesn’t have one, as long as they’re adequately supervised.

It would also be good if your chosen tree surgeon had certificates showing they have been trained and have qualifications in areas like tree climbing and can use machines like chippers and stump grinders safely. They should be happy to discuss this with you and show you any certificates you ask to see.

A quality tree surgeon should also be aware of BS3998 – British Standard Recommendations for Tree Work. Detailed knowledge of these standards will show that a professional has a good level of expertise and will complete work safely and competently.