Otago Polytechnic

National Certificate in Horticulture (Arboriculture) (Level 4)

Dread being cooped up in an office all day? Want a hands-on, physical job where you can spend your time outdoors?

Become a tree surgeon through studying arboriculture - a specialised field involving pruning, felling, transplanting and maintaining the health of trees and shrubs. New Zealand's diverse and robust horticulture and related industries have experienced steady growth over recent years and this means that qualified and experienced horticulturists in any specialist field are in demand across the country. Employment opportunities may arise within City or District Council parks and gardens, landscaping companies or as a contract climber. With motivation and a responsible attitude, you could even branch out into self-employment or tree-care consultancy roles.

Gain a wide range of practical arboriculture skills at a tradesperson level. Undertake both applied and theoretical instruction, necessary in this dynamic industry, and gain valuable work experience during the year. Benefit from our close proximity to the beautiful and internationally-acclaimed Dunedin Botanic Garden.

All certificate and diploma qualifications are currently being reviewed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Qualification titles and content may be altered as a result of the review but any changes will be introduced and communicated over a transitional period so that there is minimal impact on students. 

Skills required
  • Physical fitness - previous climbing, rope and/or rigging skills are a plus
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • Good communication skills
  • An eye for detail.
  • A good transition from forestry
Entry requirements
  • Open entry but you must have the physical and mental ability/strength required for tree climbing.
  • You must be drug free while enrolled in this programme.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you are ready for this study. 
  • If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5, with no band score lower than 5.5.
Additional documentation

You must supply certified copies of proof of identity, academic records and proof of residency (where appropriate). 

Selection procedure

Applications will be processed as they are received. If the number of applications exceeds the number of places, applicants will be placed on a waiting list in the order that they applied.

Additional costs

Please click here for a PDF with additional costs further information 

Further study options

Arboriculture may also be studied at diploma-level in New Zealand.

Programme specific risks

You are advised of the physical risks and requirements of the programme either in person or by telephone before you enrol. You are also advised of the need to purchase steel cap safety boots for practical work and the reasons for this. Risks include injury to the body due to the physical nature of arboricultural work (manual labour, lifting, bending, working at heights, eyesight) and from using sharp tools (secateurs, chainsaws, spades) and larger machinery. There is a risk from poisonous plants, insect stings, the physical environment (excessive heat or cold, wet weather), working in isolation and machinery noise.

You will study

Gain a wide range of arboriculture skills so you can become a confident and knowledgeable tree surgeon (arborist). Learn the correct techniques for pruning and felling trees, using chainsaws and other machinery and tree climbing, and discover how to identify plants and diagnose tree health problems. Develop an excellent understanding of health and safety procedures.  

Your workload

On average, you will undertake three days a week of practical instruction and one day a week of theoretical teaching. Four weeks of work experience will also occur during the year.

Qualification structure

 

Unit Number

Unit  Content

Level

Credit

43

Maintain a chainsaw

3

10

6916

Demonstrate knowledge of the rules relating to chainsaw use

2

5

6917

Demonstrate basic chainsaw operation

2

8

2763

Demonstrate knowledge of the New Zealand arboriculture industry

2

3

2765

Plant trees and shrubs

2

4

2766

Maintain amenity trees and shrubs

3

8

2767

Climb a well branched tree

4

10

2768

Prune young trees and shrubs in arboriculture situations

3

4

2773

Diagnose amenity tree health problems

4

8

2774

Climb and branch walk difficult trees

4

10

2775

Prune mature amenity trees

4

10

17151

Demonstrate knowledge of safety requirements for tree work near electrical supply lines

3

5

17256

Use climbing equipment for arboriculture

3

3

17257

Fell and limb trees in arboriculture under supervision

3

10

17258

Use advanced felling techniques in arboriculture

4

10

17261

Carry out grounds person's duties in an arboriculture situation 

3

4

17262

Carry out an arboriculture tree inspection

4

5

25399

Prepare to use and remove a brushwood chipper

3

3

25406

Undertake sectional felling in arboriculture tree work

4

10

20574

Identify plants

2

5

22174

Demonstrate knowledge of soils and fertilisers 

2

5

22177

Demonstrate knowledge of the structure and function of plants

2

5

26551

Provide first aid for life threatening conditions 

2

1

26552

Demonstrate knowledge of common first aid conditions and how to respond to them

2

1

497

Demonstrate knowledge of workplace health and safety requirements

1

3

Student loans/allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification.

Disclaimer

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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