Too Old To Be A Tree Surgeon?

by Ronnie
(UK)

Is thirty five too old to be a tree surgeon?

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Too Old To Be A Tree Surgeon?
by: Anonymous

The short answer to your question, Ronnie is no, you are not too old to train to become a tree surgeon. Then I guess I would want to add a longer response that would begin with 'it depends'.

I wonder how much research you have done already about this career area? In particular, have you been in touch with people who already work as tree surgeons and asked them what the job involves on a day-to-day basis. Even better, have you spent time with them out on the job to get an idea of what the work is really like, not just on a lovely day in the summer, but also when it is cold, wet and windy.

Aboriculture or tree surgery is a job that demands a high level of fitness and stamina and a willingness to work outdoors in all kinds of weather. And it goes without saying that you need a good head for heights. Given the kinds of tools you would be using, it is also potentially a dangerous job where you need to be constantly thinking about the safety aspects of everything you do. In fact the Health & Safety Executive said that tree surgery is the most dangerous job in the UK!

You can train on the job if you can find a company that will take you on as a trainee. Expect that you will be working on the ground to start off with, clearing up and shredding what someone else has cut. They won't let you loose up a tree with a chainsaw for quite some time!

Alternatively you can take a recognised training course at a College of Agriculture such as Hadlow in Kent. But don’t assume that completing the course will mean you can set up in business and earn a living immediately. You will need to add experience to your qualifications and this takes time.

Given the constraints discussed above, tree surgery is generally a younger person's job, but if you are fit and healthy, love the outdoors in all kinds of weather, and have done plenty of research including working in the field with current arboriculturists, then there is no reason why you should not give it a go. Be honest with yourself about your physical fitness and consider the longer term prospects too. Will you still want to be climbing trees with a chain saw at 45 or 55? If not, what will you move on to at that stage?

Take a look at these links which give you much more information.

http://www.ecotreecare.co.uk/jobs_in_tree_surgery.htm
http://www.treesurgeonsregister.com/description.php
http://ww2.prospects.ac.uk/p/types_of_job/arboriculturist_job_description.jsp

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