Engaging An Arborist or Tree Contractor

Engaging an Arborist (Tree Surgeon)

Working with trees can be dangerous and often requires the skills of an expert. It is important to hire appropriately qualified people to carry out tree works.

Before employing an arborist, check that they are insured (you can request a copy of their Certificate of Currency) and they carry an Australian Qualifying Framework (AQF) certification.

Working Arborist (Trade Qualified AQF Level 3)

Working arborists are trade qualified to care for trees, and are generally hired to provide basic care, including pruning and/or removal.

Once you have obtained permission from your council to undertake tree works, look for an arborist who has a minimum AQF Level 3 qualification or equivalent in Horticulture (Arboriculture). This ensures that the work is done in accordance with the Australian Standards.

Consulting Arborists (Consultant – AQF Level 5)

Consulting arborists are qualified to provide expert assessments on the health and condition of trees. Some AQF Level 5 arborists do not have AQF Level 3 certification which means they have not been a tree worker, they have learnt their skills via their course work and through the experience inspecting trees.  Other AQF level 5 arborists start their career as AQF level 3 arborists and progress to AQF level 5.  The course work is the same to qualify for AQF level 5, but the TCAA insists that all its AQF level 5 arborists carry the AQF level 3 certification.  These AQF level 5 arborists are referred to as Climbing Arborists.

If you need specialist advice or an Arborist Report on the health of your tree, as per Council’s conditions, you will need to engage a Consulting Arborist with AQF Level 5 or equivalent in Horticulture (Arboriculture).

All members of the Tree Contractors Association of Australia are qualified with a minimum of AQF Level 3.  AQF Level 5 Arborists can be found in our “Find a Member” search by choosing Level 5 Aborists.


All members of the Tree Contractors Association of Australia are independently audited by BNG Conserve to ensure they are suitably qualified, and also carry ALL the appropriate insurances to carry out tree work.

Using a tree contractor who is a member of the TCAA guarantees you get a qualified tree contractor who is fully insured.

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The TCAA appreciates the support of the following commercial members.