RFS Certificate in Arboriculture

For more than 40 years the Royal Forestry Society’s Certificate in Arboriculture has set the standard for craftsman-level arborists. The RFS Certificate is widely recognised throughout the arboricultural industry as proof that the holder has both a good theoretical knowledge of arboriculture and is proficient in the practical skills needed to succeed.

The theoretical and the practical components of the Certificate are studied separately and a number of local and land-based colleges provide training.

To gain the full RFS Certificate you need the following:

  • (a) The ABC Level 2 Certificate in Arboriculture, to prove that your theoretical background is sound;
  • (b) A suite of competence tests selected from the list below. Some are compulsory to meet health and safety requirements.

(a) ABC Level 2 Certificate in Arboriculture

This theory course is awarded through ABC Awards.

The theoretical components of the Certificate are covered in the ABC Level 2 ABC Certificate of Arboriculture. The subjects you cover as part of this qualification are listed as 'units', below.

Learners must achieve all of the mandatory units and one of the optional units to complete their certificate.

Mandatory units:

  • The interaction of soil environments and woody plants
  • Woody plant physiology
  • The supply, planting and aftercare of woody plants
  • Principles of tree surgery operations
  • Tree inspections and statute and common law applied to trees

Optional units:

  • The principles of aerial tree surgery and ground-based arboricultural operations
  • Principles of woodlands, forestry and ecology
  • The principles of managing special trees
  • Principles of tree surgery equipment use and maintenance

You can complete the ABC Level 2 Certificate in Arboriculture at any of the approved centres listed below:



Post code

Contact no.

Bridgwater College



01278 455464

*Capel Manor



08456 122 122

Coleg Cambria



01244 831531

Guildford College



01483 884000

Hadlow College


TN11 0AL

0500 551434

Horticultural Correspondence College

Distance Learning


0800 083 9191

01409 220 777

Moulton College



01604 491131

*Myerscough College



01995 642222

Plumpton College

Near Lewes


01273 890454

*College offers the course via distance learning

(b) Practical competence tests

The practical competence tests are provided by NPTC and LANTRA. Full details of the tests are available to download (scroll to end of this page).

Please note that Lantra Awards do not currently offer the full range of courses required. Please check the course codes carefully before undertaking your training and ensure the course you are completing is a Certificate of Competence. Details of the approved training centres where you can undertake Certificates of Competence can be found at the following links http://www.nptc.org.uk/centredefault.aspx and http://www.lantra-awards.co.uk/Course-Search.aspx



Once you have passed the ABC Level 2 Certificate in Arboriculture and all required Certificates of Competence components, please send photocopies of the certificates to the Education Manager at:Royal Forestry Society, The Hay Barns, Home Farm Drive, Upton Estate, Banbury OX15 6HU.

The RFS will verify all paperwork and issue the full RFS Certificate in Arboriculture. There is no charge for applicants.

The RFS will then publish the names and home towns (but not the full address or any other details) of successful holders of the RFS Cert Arb in the spring issue of the Quarterly Journal of Forestry and promote candidates in press releases to the arboricultural and forestry media.

Holders of the Certificate may also use the abbreviation Cert Arb RFS after their name.


Attachment(click to download)Size
Competence_tests_Tables_1-3_111213.pdfCompetence_tests_Tables_1-3_111213.pdf153.47 KB