Apprenticeship FAQ

Do I pay an apprentice?

Yes, your apprentice will be an employee, and will earn wages for the time they spend doing on-the-job learning, as well as time spent in the classroom.
Apprentices are paid a progressively-increasing schedule of wages based on hitting certain milestones in on-the-job competencies and in related classroom instruction. Here is a recommended wage progression:

  • First-year apprentice (0-1999 hours of OJL completed) = 70% of journeyworker rate
  • Second-year apprentice (2000-3999 hours of OJL completed) = 80% of journeyworker rate
  • Third-year apprentice (4000-6000 hours of OJL completed) = 90% of journeyworker rate

We recommend that you establish the journeyworker rate by examining local, existing wage structure and determining an appropriate rate of pay for a tree climber with three years’ experience and the ability to train others. You are encouraged to evaluate apprentices regularly, using existing appraisal processes to provide employee feedback. As the employer, you reserve the right to delay wage increases if the apprentice is not making good progress, or increase wage rate for exceptional performance. TCIA is required to capture wage changes as the apprentice progresses through the program.

How much does it cost?

You won’t pay a cent until you hire your apprentice and verify their employment and assigned journeyworker with TCIA. At this point, you will pay the apprentice registration fee ($250 for TCIA members, $350 for non-members).
TCIA will invoice you annually for the apprentice registration fee per apprentice for each year they are in the program.

Who pays for the related instruction?

Each employer offers different benefits to their employees. If tuition reimbursement is not a benefit offered through your company, then the apprentice will responsible for their tuition. 

I’m hiring a veteran. Is there anything I should know?

Eligible veterans may receive wages and GI Bill benefits at the same time. We encourage you to share this Department of Labor Fact Sheet on Benefits for Veterans in Apprenticeship to help them get started.

Can my apprentice transfer work experience?

You may grant credit of previous work experience based on your apprentice’s demonstration of skills or knowledge equivalent to those identified as on-the-job learning (OJL) competencies.

How do I register my company?

You will begin by verifying your login information here. To ensure duplicate company records are not created (this could slow down the process for registering your company!), we encourage everyone to start by first searching for a username in our sign-in system. If you can find a username, please use it to sign in. If you cannot find a username, please create a new account and then sign in.

Upon signing in, all we ask for is basic information for the person you have identified will be your apprentice trainer, or journeyworker. Once TCIA has received this information and verified your company’s eligibility to participate as an employer in the Arborist Apprenticeship Program, you will receive further instruction from us.

What is the hiring process like?

Once TCIA has verified the information you provided to us during registration, you will proceed with your normal hiring processes. This will start with creating a job posting (sample job posting). Any interviewing, skills testing, drug testing and onboarding processes will be completed according to your company’s hiring policies. Candidates can be sourced three ways:

  • Current employees
  • New hires you have independently sourced
  • New hires from TCIA’s list of eligible candidates*

All candidates must meet the minimum requirements of the program. TCIA verifies this information when the candidate you have selected completes the application to participate in the Arborist Apprenticeship Program. All apprentices must complete the Apprenticeship Application in addition to the job application they complete with you.

*Upon registering your company, you will be provided access to a list of candidates who have been qualified by TCIA to meet the minimum requirements of the program.

What can I expect once I hire my apprentice?

Your apprentice will be an employee subject to your onboarding, mentoring and disciplinary procedures. You will provide your apprentice with continuous employment sufficient to provide the opportunity for completion of the apprenticeship.

Each applicant selected for apprenticeship will serve a probationary period. The probationary period cannot exceed 25 percent of the length of the program or one year, whichever is shorter.