About the Program

Tree trimmers provide tree maintenance and removal typically near active power lines. Trimmers typically work in excess of 100 feet, utilizing ropes and aerial lifts to perform their job duties. Their advanced rigging, cutting, and climbing techniques help them to identify trees and tree sections that pose a danger.

person in cherry picker looking at powerline in snow.

Job Functions

Tree trimmers are responsible for the maintenance of powerline right of ways. A trimmer engages in a variety of tree maintenance operations to prevent interruption of utility electrical service to their customers. They will use a variety of tools, heavy machinery, and bucket trucks on a regular basis. Their work includes cleanup operations during and after storms and other natural disasters.

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

Once you have determined the Tree Apprenticeship is a good fit, you will need to create an online account. This account can take up to 24 hours to be approved. Once the account is approved, you will receive an email with a link to start your online application. Applications are accepted year-round and must be submitted by 12pm the first Monday of the month to be considered for that month. Any submissions received after the cut off will be added to the following month’s ranking.

Minimum Requirements

  • Completed online application
  • Must be able to obtain valid Class B Commercial Driver’s (CDL) Permit with no Class E restrictions within 90 days of employment
  • Official high school transcript or equivalent (GED/HSED)
  • Valid Driver’s License, 18 or older
  • Valid First Aid/CPR Certification, following OSHA recommendations, we require annual recertification of First Aid/CPR, and Flagging Traffic Control Certification (issued by the State(s) of Oregon, Washington, Idaho or Montana). Online certifications not accepted.

Point System for Qualifying Applicants

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

Accepted documentation letter must be on company letter head

  • General construction: 2,000 hours = 1 point
  • Other: 2,000 hours = ½ point

Education Related To Occupation

Only copies of valid cards and/or certifications will be accepted

  • Firefighter RED Card: 5 points
  • Industry Certifications (Tree felling/rigging etc.): 3 points
  • ISA Certification: 2 points
  • Pesticide Laws & Safety: 2 points
  • Pesticide Right of Way: 2 points

High School Education

Only official high school transcripts or high school equivalency (GED/HSED) will be accepted

  • GED or equivalent: 2 points
  • GPA – 2.0 or above on official transcript: 1 point
  • High school diploma: 5 points

Additional schooling

  • Associate degree with a forestry related major: 4 points
  • Associate degree: 2 points
  • Bachelor's with a Forestry related major: 8 points
  • Bachelor’s degree: 4 points
  • Commercial driver’s license (CDL Class A): 8 points
  • Commercial driver’s license (CDL Class B): 6 points
  • Commercial driver’s license (CDL) permit: 4 points
  • Job Corps Forestry Program Graduate: 2 points
  • Military/AmeriCorps/Peace Corps: 1-year service =2 points (No more than eight (8) total points may be awarded for service years)
  • Trade school (need to specify): 5 points
view of snowy forrest from powerline

Apprenticeship Benefits

As an apprentice tree trimmer, you can look forward to earning steady wages and 100% employer-paid benefits through the duration of your program. In addition to full health coverage for you and your immediate dependents, you will also gain access to two retirement plans- a pension and an annuity. Based on collective bargaining agreements in our program area, the average wage is $36.12 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 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.


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.


As an apprentice, am I required to attend school?

Apprentices are required to attend school, which is a combination of online learning, classroom training and hands-on labs.

Can my previous work experience count as credit towards my apprenticeship?

Previous experience for work performed may be given as credit toward your first advancement, however this will be at the discretion of the Program. Proper documentation must be submitted prior to being indentured. It must be on company letterhead and outline the specific type of work completed. Once your documentation has been reviewed and approved, credit will be awarded accordingly.

How long am I on the rank list?

You will remain on the rank list for two years or until you are indentured into the program. After two years, you will need to re-apply.

Can I increase my initial rank score by submitting more points?

Yes, more points may be submitted in order to move up in ranking. Required documents must be submitted no later than 12pm on the first Monday of each month. Anything received after 12pm, will be added to the following month.

When will I be selected for apprenticeship?

When a contractor needs an apprentice, they will contact NW Line JATC. If all currently indentured apprentices are working, we will notify the top-ranking applicant for the area with the time, date, and location of the work assignment and indenture them as a new apprentice.

What happens after I submit my completed application?

Upon completing your application, you will be notified via email of your current score. Remember applications must be submitted by 12pm the first Monday of the month to be considered for that month. Any submissions received after the cut off will be added to the following month’s ranking.

How do I start the process to enter the Tree Apprenticeship?

Once you have determined the Tree Apprenticeship is a good fit, you will need to create an online account. This account can take up to 24 hours to be approved. Once the account is approved, you will receive an email with a link to start your online application.

Are there fees associated with the apprenticeship?

Yes, apprenticeship fees are required – contractors withhold $15.00 per week from your check, which is forwarded to the JATC.

How long is the apprenticeship program?

The apprenticeship program is a 4,000-hour, on-the-job training program completed in approximately two (2) years. During this time, you will advance through four (4) individual steps, completion of each step granting a pay increase.

When are applications accepted?

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

How often is the rank list updated?

The first Tuesday of every month.

What are the travel requirements?

Your application will indicate five separate areas where you would like to work: Northwestern Washington, Southwestern Washington, Eastern Washington, Northern Oregon, and Southern Oregon. You will mark the area(s) you prefer to work in and will be added to the corresponding rank list(s). Once you are called into an area and indentured as a new apprentice, you will only work within that area for the duration of your apprenticeship.

Is there an application fee?

No, there is no application fee.

Begin your future as a Tree Trimmer