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RFS Certification Structure, Policies & Overview


 Flowchart 2

RFS Certifications combine theory with practical competencies in
Arboricuture and Forestry 

Course Structure

To successfully complete an RFS Certification, each candidate must gain a recognised theory qualification (at Level 2 or higher in a relevant field) and a suite of 8 practical certificates of competency. Full details for practical requirements are provided on the menu on left of screen.
The structure of the RFS Certifications is illustrated in Figure 1. 

Candidates must complete all the required elements (i.e., theory qualification and practical certificates) before they can apply for the RFS Certificate.


Rfs Certificates Corrected 06 03 2017

Figure 1. The structure and requirements for RFS Certificate qualifications
in Arboriculture, Forestry and Silviculture. 


Theory Qualification

The qualification standard for the theory component of each RFS Certificate is the ABC Level 2 Certificate in Arboriculture, ABC Level 2 Certificate in Forestry or ABC Level 3 Certificate in Silviculture. Please see relevant pages (Arboriculture, Forestry, Silviculture) for full information. ABC Awards is a leading national awarding organisation renowned for its portfolio of high quality vocational qualifications.   

Equivalency recognition. We recognise that not all applicants will have completed an ABC award to fulfil the theory requirement of the RFS Certificate. For this reason, we are prepared to consider alternative theory qualifications on a case-by-case basis, so long as the relevant award is at Level 2/3, or above, and accredited by a recognised examination/qualifications awarding body. For advice and information about the acceptability of alternative qualifications please contact RFS at the earliest opportunity.

Each ABC Level 2 theory Certificate is a stand-alone qualification. The completion of an RFS/ABC level 2 theory certifcation DOES NOT entitle the holder to use any RFS postnomial accreditation until they have paid for and submitted both the theory and practical elements to RFS for approval.

RFS has worked with ABC to develop the curriculum for each certificate. However, it is important to note that the ABC certificates are not  RFS awards. Candidates can only attain the RFS Certificate once they complete a valid theory qualification plus the required number of practical certificates of competency.    


Practical Certificates of Competency

The practical component of the RFS Certificate comprises a suite of eight Certificates of Competency or licenses to practice. Four of these are prescribed as compulsory units, and four must be selected from a list of optional units. Candidates must complete the full Certificate of Competency in each practical skill from a recognised awarding/examination body and obtain the official completion certificate (license to practice). RFS does not accept lesser certificates of training or attendance. Recognised awarding and examination bodies include NPTC (City & Guilds) and Lantra.

Correspondence relating to RFS Qualifications

All enquiries and correspondence relating to RFS qualifications should be addressed to


Applying for a RFS Certificate 


Details of the application requirements and procedure are here