Tree Trimmer

Tree Trimmers typically start their careers with utilities as ground workers or helpers, entry-level positions that lead to an apprenticeship. The apprenticeship lasts approximately 2 years or 4,000 hours and they are trained in tree trimming and climbing, tree falling, power line identification, tree top rescue, and safety. They provide tree maintenance and removal typically near power lines, often at heights of 100 feet.

Also known as: Arborist, Climber, Grounds Worker, Tree Climber, Tree Pruner

Pay Scale

$52,330 in 2021 in WA

$46,970 in 2021 in U.S.


High School Diploma, Apprenticeship

Projected Opportunities

280 through 2030 in WA

9,100 through 2031 in U.S.

Career Path

The career path for becoming a tree trimmer starts with an entry-level position such as a ground worker. From there, you become an apprentice tree trimmer, completing the apprenticeship to become a journey-level tree trimmer. Advancement opportunities exist in becoming a foreman and further to a supervisor.

tree trimmer career path

Training & Requirements


Training for tree trimmers can vary by employment. There is not always a formal education system, so they are trained on-the-job, and many utilities have registered apprenticeship programs. The training can last from 1-2 years depending on the scope of work. Journey tree trimmers can make as much as $32.35 as part of a union.

Required Skills

    • Tree climbing and trimming
    • Aerial tree trimming
    • Tree and power line identification
    • Knowledge of equipment used in the trade
    • Tree top rescue
    • Use of rigging and safety equipment
    • Ability to operate machinery and drive a vehicle


      • Operate shredding and chipping equipment
      • Operate boom trucks, loaders, stump chippers, power saws, trucks, sprayers, and other equipment
      • Clear branches around power lines
      • Use climbing equipment or buckets
      • Clean, sharpen, and lubricate tools and equipment