Skip to main content

Climbing Arborist: Apprenticeship


Arborists manage and care for trees in our urban environment. The Climbing Arborist program is the second of three sequential trades credentials in arboriculture. A climbing arborist's job focuses on tree work such as pruning, disease control, structural support, and tree removal.

The Climbing Arborist Apprenticeship links learning and employment by providing apprentices the opportunity to further their education, while maintaining full-time employment in the arboriculture industry. An apprenticeship is established when an employer and employee complete, sign and register an Apprentice and Sponsor Registration form with the Industry Training Authority (ITA, Apprentices may also apply to the ITA for work-based training completed before the apprenticeship is established. Refer to for information.

Climbing Arborist apprentices attend one 8-week long technical training session at the Langley campus of KPU. Topics include aerial lift operations, tree identification, tree pests and disease management, pruning, tree support, rigging, climbing, aerial rescue, job planning, and risk assessment. The curriculum used for technical training has been developed and approved by the arboriculture industry.

Journeypersons in arboriculture are in demand. Municipal parks departments and the large private arboriculture industry sector require certified climbing arborists to fill a significant number of positions.

Training Schedules

KPU apprentice training schedules and waitlists are published on Kwantlen Course Search.  Additional apprenticeship training opportunities are listed on Trades Training BC; this is the hub for BC's Public Trades Training Programs & Services.


In addition to applicable tuition fees, students will incur expenses for the following:

  • textbooks
  • school supplies
  • safety footwear (in conformance with WorkSafeBC regulations)
  • climbing gear
  • rain gear
  • field trips
  • travel
  • accommodation and food

Financial Supports for Apprentices

Apprentices may be eligible for financial support for the in-class portion of their training through the EPBC Apprentice Program Financial Supports. Application to this program must be made four to six weeks prior to the start of technical training. Information is available through WorkBC.

Apprentices must apply separately for Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits no later than the last week of work, or during the first week of training, or they will not be eligible to receive EPBC Apprentice Program Financial Supports. EI information can be obtained by visiting Service Canada.

Student Profile

Students interested in this apprenticeship program should have a strong desire for hands-on outdoor work, enjoy nature and living things, be concerned about the environment, and have entrepreneurial talents. Individuals with allergies to dust, pollen or plant products, or specific chemicals should be aware of the potential impact on their health. Physical fitness and a healthy back are required for a successful career in arboriculture. Apprentices may work with plant protection products.

Practical Assessment

After completing the technical training and logging 1800 hours of work experience, an apprentice will need to complete a practical assessment to gain their Certificate of Qualification.  Contact HortEducationBC for more information on the practical assessment at

General Prerequisites

The following requirements apply:

  • Completed KPU Apprentice Registration
  • Active apprentice registration in the BC Apprenticeship system.
  • Valid Trade Worker Identification number from the Industry Training Authority (ITA-ID). If you do not have an ITA-ID, you will need to complete an apprenticeship registration form through the ITA ( prior to enrolling. To determine your eligibility please consult with the Industry Training Authority.
  • Completion of Arborist Technician
  • English 10 or better preferred

Note: International student enrolment requires approval of the Dean.

Curricular Requirements

Notes: AARB courses are assessed Tuition Category 2.b.2 tuition and fees for domestic students.

KPU Tech does not permit students to register in Apprenticeship Levels out of sequence.

Climbing Arborist (AARB 1020)

  • Regulations, Safety, and Site Inspection
  • Tree Identification
  • Management of Pests and Diseases
  • Rigging, Climbing, and Cutting Trees
  • Safe Aerial Operations and Aerial Rescue

Credential Awarded

Upon successful completion of an apprentice level, KPU will report your technical training completion information to the Industry Trade Authority (ITA) in order for the ITA to determine credit towards your designated apprenticeship.

At a Glance

Faculty of Science and Horticulture


Program Type:

  • Vocational

Credential Granted:

  • No Credential

Offered At:

  • KPU Langley  Langley

Start Date(s):

  • Intake Start Varies  Varies

Intake Type:

  • Open Intake  Apprenticeship


  • Full-time  Full-time

Instructional Cycle:

  • Fixed-term

Curriculum Effective Date:

  • 02-Mar-2015

How to Register:

Last Updated: 13-Jun-2018

This online version of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Calendar is the official version of the University Calendar. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, KPU reserves the right to make any corrections in the contents and provisions of this calendar without notice. In addition, the University reserves the right to cancel, add, or revise contents or change fees at any time without notice. To report errors or omissions, or send comments or suggestions, please email