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RFS Qualifications

The RFS offers two professional certificates which recognise the broad range of skills of foresters and arborists:

- RFS Certificate in Forestry
- RFS Certificate in Arboriculture


To qualify for the certification you must have completed:

  • A theory course in Arboriculture, Forestry or other equivalent qualification at level 2 or higher.
  • 8 practical modules of competency from NPTC or Lantra.


Reasons to apply

RFS Certification has a strong reputation that is attractive to employers.


Both certificates give you the right to add the name of the certificate after your name e.g. John Smith, Cert. Arb.   or John Smith, Cert. For.


No need for the additional time and expense of attending further training courses. Your portfolio can be completed at any speed and based on CPD that you have already undertaken or select a pathway that suits your own needs at a local training provider.


The RFS retains detailed records on file for each application. We are able to provide verification of RFS Certificates to employers and potential clients.


Successful candidates are eligible for free membership of the RFS for one year (saving £49). Details of how candidates can claim their free membership will be provided along with the award certificate. 


Theory Elements


ABC Level 2 Certificate in Arboriculture: This course is normally studied flexibly over one year. It is a theoretical course at craft level and is assessed by a portfolio of evidence. It is a complete qualification in itself, but  can also be used as the theory course for the RFS Certificate in Arboriculture. 


Other equivalent arboriculture or forestry qualifications at Level 2 or higher.


Practical Elements

Completion of 8 or more NPTC or Lantra certificates of competency. Full details of the recognised elements for each certificate can be found below.

RFS Certificate in Forestry

RFS Certificate in Arboriculture 


Candidates must complete the full Certificate of Competency in each practical skill from a recognised awarding body and obtain the official license to practice. The RFS does not accept lesser certificates of training or attendance. 


How to apply

  • Candidates must complete all the required elements (theory qualification and a minimum of 8 practical NPTC/Lantra modules). 
  • Scan copies of all your original theory and practical qualifications and save in PDF or JPG formats. For the theory certificate (i.e., ABC Level 2/3 Certificate) we require both the award certificate and the module transcript. Please note, we normally accept digital copies but may request originals for auditing purposes.
  • There is a £75 fee for RFS Certificate applications.  £25 will be retained as a non refundable admin charge in the event that an application is not successful. You can complete the payment process for the certification, either by using the shop or by phoning 01295 678588.
  • Following receipt of an application, the RFS will then verify all certificates, complete our registration process and if successful, issue the full certificate in the post.

  • Please note, it can take up to 12 weeks for your certificate to be processed and posted to you due to demand.
  • Applications can be submitted at any time.

  • There is a £25 fee for re-issuing of lost or damaged certificates.



Although not a formal requirement, RFS strongly recommends that all candidates complete First Aid at Work training, and maintain a valid certificate while working in a woodland. This is important for personal health and safety, as well as for the well-being of colleagues. Further information about health and safety is available from the Forest Industry Safety Accord (FISA).