About the Program

Tree Trimmers work to prune, trim, and sometimes remove trees, usually in close proximity to powerlines. Because so much of the work is done in trees, Trimmers will often work in excess of 100 feet using ropes and aerial lifts to perform their job duties. Often utilizing advanced rigging, cutting, and climbing techniques to safely remove hazardous trees. Participants in the program will learn how to safely operate in these conditions.

person in cherry picker looking at powerline in snow.

Job Functions

As a Journeyman Tree Trimmer, you will work with a variety of hydraulic tools, aerial lifts, ropes, and rigging equipment to perform a career at great heights. Operating in a key role outdoors in all weather conditions in an effort to keep the lights on.

Tree Trimmer Duties

  • Apply chemical herbicide
  • Apply knowledge of ropes and knots to create rigging systems
  • Climb and perform work in trees
  • Drag and chip brush
  • Inspect, operate, and transport equipment such as dump trucks, lift trucks, cranes, and chippers
  • Operate chainsaws
  • Prune and trim trees away from overhead and underground power utilities
  • Remove trees in close proximity to electrical utilities
  • Supervising groundman and training future apprentices
  • Use of hand tools
person in tree

How to Apply

To apply, first create an account. Once your account has been confirmed via email, you will be able to complete an application. These applications are accepted year-round and the ranking list is updated on the first Tuesday of every month.

Minimum Requirements To Apply Are

  • “Must complete the application online
  • Copy of Birth certificate or Drivers License (proof of age 18 or older)
  • High school diploma or high school equivalency
  • Must be able to obtain Class B CDL Permit (Manual) within 90 days of employment
  • Must be able to obtain valid CPR & 1st Aid Certification within 45 days of employment
  • Must be able to obtain valid Flagger Certification within 90 days of employment

Items strongly recommended (not required) to include in your application

  • Documentation of past work experience on company letterhead
  • Industry-related certifications – i.e. pesticide applicator licenses.

Applicants will be placed in a ranked list based on the number of points in their application (see below).

Qualifying applications will be reviewed and scored according to the following point system:

Trade-related work experience

  • Current employee of training agent : 5 points
  • Groundman/logging: 2,000 hours : 1 point
  • Power line clearance: 1,000 hours : 8 points
  • Trimmer (residential): 1,000 hours : 4 points

General Work Experience

  • General construction: 2,000 hours : 1 point
  • Letter must be from employer on company letterhead
  • Other: 2,000 hours : ½ point

Education Related To Occupation

  • 1st Aid/CPR Certification: 3 points
  • Copies of cards and/or certifications
  • Flagging Traffic Control Certification: 3 points
  • ISA Certification: 2 points
  • Laws & Safety: 2 points
  • Rights of Way: 2 points

High School Education

  • GED or equivalent: 2 points
  • GPA – 2.0 or above (official transcript is required): 1 point
  • High school diploma: 5 points
  • Transcript or copy of diploma or GED

Additional schooling

  • 2-year college degree (official transcript is required): 3 points
  • 4-year college degree (official transcript is required): 3 points
  • Commercial driver’s license permit: 1 point
  • Commercial driver’s license: 5 points (Manual transmission – no code “E” restriction)
  • Job Corps Forestry Program Graduate 2 points (additional)
  • Job Corps or B-FIT graduate: 3 points
  • Military/Americorps/Peace Corps: 1-year service: 2 points 8 maximum points
  • Trade school (need to specify): 5 points
  • Transcripts or copy of Completion Certificate
view of snowy forrest from powerline

Apprenticeship Benefits

As an apprentice tree trimmer, you will earn money and benefits throughout the 4 step training process. In addition to full health coverage for you and your immediate family, you will also gain access to our pension and annuity plans, both of which are fully paid for by your employer.

The current average wage for a journeyman trimmer in our area is $32.35 per hour

person in tree


  • 1st Step = 75% of journeyman wage
  • 2nd Step = 80% of journeyman wage
  • 3rd Step = 85% of journeyman wage
  • 4th Step = 90% of journeyman wage

Medical Insurance

As an employee in the electrical industry under the Four Local Agreement, you will receive health insurance benefits for yourself and your dependent family, including health, dental and vision insurance. This insurance is provided 100% by the electrical industry and is not deducted from your paycheck. The health insurance plan provided allows you to see any doctor you wish, anywhere in the country.

Retirement Plans

In a time when most companies are cutting back on retirement benefits, the outside electrical industry offers two outstanding retirement benefits to ensure you and your family of a secure financial future.  This includes the National Electrical Annuity Plan (NEAP) and National Electrical Benefit Fund (NEBF), all paid by your employer.  As an IBEW member, you will have access to the National Electrical 401k plan as well.

College Credit

Because your apprenticeship is more than just on-the-job training, you are eligible to earn college credit issued by the American Council of Education (ACE) and/or through a Local Community College.


Veterans may be eligible for educational benefits while working their way through the apprenticeship program. Once you have been indentured, our Certifying Official will work with you to get your benefit claim going.


Are there fees associated with the apprenticeship?

Yes, apprenticeship fees are required – new apprentices are billed when indentured. You can pay the invoice in full or you can make minimum monthly payments.

Are apprentices required to attend school?

Yes apprentices are required to attend school, which will be a combination of classroom and climb labs. Typically, you will be attending training at least once a month during your two-year apprenticeship program.

How long is the apprenticeship program?

The program is approximately 2-year program 4,000 hours on the job training. During this time, you’ll advance through four (4) steps of the program. After completing each of these steps, your pay rate will increase, coming closer and closer to that of the journeymen trimmers you’re working and training with.

How does my previous experience count towards credit in the apprenticeship?

Experience for work performed in the trade will be given credit toward your first advancement. Documentation must be submitted prior to being indentured into the program, be on company letterhead, and must be specific in the type of work. The documentation is reviewed and the Assistant Director to the program verifies the amount of credit to award that applicant.

When are applications accepted?

Applications are accepted all year long. The rank list is updated the first Tuesday of every month.

How long are you on the rank list for?

You will remain on the rank list for two years or until your indentured into the program. If you are not indentured within the two years, you will have to re-apply.

Can you submit more points after you have been added to the rank list?

Yes, you can submit more points to move up the rank list. Documents for points must be submitted the Monday prior to the first Tuesday of the month by 4pm to 12pm to be added to your rank, otherwise they will be added the following month.

How often is the rank list updated?

The first Tuesday of every month.

When are apprentices selected for the apprenticeship?

When contractors need an apprentice, they contact the JATC office. If all currently indentured apprentices are working, they will notify the top applicant on the rank list for the area the contractor needs (NW WA, SW WA, E WA, N OR, S OR). The top applicant is given the time, date and location of the work assignment and indentured as a new apprentice.

Once an application is complete, what is the next step?

Once you have a completed application, you will be notified by mail of your score based on the points submitted. Applications completed the first Monday of the month by 12pm will be added to the rank list for the month. Submissions received after 12pm will be added to the next month’s rank list.

What are the travel requirements?

On your application there are five areas to indicate where you would like to work (Northwest Washington, Southwest Washington, Eastern Washington, Northern Oregon and Southern Oregon). You will be added to the rank list for the area(s) that you have indicated you want to work in. You will only work in the area from the rank list you are indentured from. (i.e. you selected Northern and Southern Oregon on your application but are indentured from the Northern Oregon rank list, you will be working just in the Northern Oregon area during your apprenticeship).

Is there an application fee?

No, there is no application fee.

How do you get started in the Tree Apprenticeship Program?

First step would be to create an account to start your online application. It can take up to 24 hours for your account to be approved. Once your account is approved you will receive an email with a link to start your online application.

Begin your future as a Tree Trimmer