Arborist Apprentice

Are you looking for a career in a growing, well-paying industry while getting to work outside?  Would you like to receive on-the-job training and marketable, desirable skills that will lead to a long-term career in arboriculture or urban forestry?  Openlands Arborist Registered Apprenticeship is an opportunity for individuals to participate in a 3-year program, working alongside industry professionals and gaining hands-on experience, training and skills in arboriculture. The 3-year program includes: 

  • 5400 hours of on-the-job training (OTJ)
  • 400+ hours of paid, classroom learning 
  • Gaining certifications and industry credentials (including commercial drivers license, IL state pesticide license, etc.)
  • Experience climbing trees, using power equipment, and planting, pruning and maintaining trees
  • Learn the fundamentals of arboriculture and working with trees in an urban environment

Apprentices will be employed by Openlands for Year 1 of the apprenticeship and then be matched with a Year 2/3 tree care employer partner to complete the program.  The program is full-time (35+ hours/week) with structured pay increases every 6 months, starting at $18/hour with benefits.  

Minimum requirements:

  • Commitment to complete the 3-year program, and an intention to have a career in arboriculture or urban forestry;
  • Ability to lift up to 50+ pounds repeatedly and ability to stand, crouch, and perform various types of manual labor;
  • Tolerant to working outdoors in inclement weather and other environmental factors;
  • Must be punctual and responsible;
  • Proof of High School diploma or GED;
  • Valid Driver’s License that must be maintained for the duration of employment, with a clean driving record;
  • Willingness to work in all neighborhoods of Chicago and surrounding communities;
  • Mobile phone for a means of reliable communication;
  • Flexibility to work additional hours, evenings and weekends;
  • Pass all drug and alcohol screens as required by company policy, and if applicable, required by Department of Transportation regulations. 

Job Expectations:

  • Demonstrate a genuine interest to learn, while progressing in skills and qualifications through active participation in OTJ training and classroom learning;
  • Complete program hour requirements and objectives while demonstrating an understanding of content learned;
  • Comfortable learning tree climbing techniques, using climbing equipment and ascending/descending >40 ft. trees;
  • Safely operate and maintain trucks and equipment;
  • Meeting, working with, and leading groups of volunteers;
  • Work as a team and communicate well with other crew members;
  • Responsibly carry out job assignments and duties;
  • Effectively and efficiently follow directions from supervisors;  
  • Maintain a positive and open-minded attitude

Openlands is an equal-opportunity employer.  

The application closes on January 27 and the program begins on March 6, 2023.  

Visit www.openlands.org/apprenticeship to learn more and apply here