TCI Climbing Program for Entry-Level Tree Workers

Tree work is difficult and very dangerous. There is no middle ground when you work in the trees. What you do is either right, or it's wrong — with potentially disastrous results. That's why worker safety is our first concern and primary emphasis. Throughout our program, students learn the right way to do things as well as the right things to do so they are safe and their work is competent and efficient.

  • Prerequisites

    In good health with weight appropriate to height.
    Must speak some English.

  • Length of Program

    5 full days. Taught April through November.

  • Maximum Class Size

    3 students

  • Cost

    $1,200 per person


LEARN SPIKELESS CLIMBING TECHNIQUES. No tree climbing experience necessary!

Most of our students have never climbed a tree with a rope and saddle. No worries. First you'll learn and practice everything you need to climb safely. Then we'll teach you more advanced techniques and skills that are used daily on the job. While some theory is taught, our emphasis is on practical, hands–on training. Most of your class time is spent in or under a tree. And, due to our small class size, you'll get plenty of individual help.

Download the Tree Worker Program Outline


TCI's Tree Worker Program instructors are known for their vast knowledge and experience, patience, and ability to communicate clearly.

  • Peter

    Peter "Treeman" Jenkins

    "Treeman," the founder of TCI (in 1983), is an ISA-Certified Arborist with over 25 years of accident-free production climbing experience. He has also been teaching tree workers and recreational tree climbers at all skill levels for over 35 years, with no accidents to date. Peter no longer climbs for a living, but in addition to teaching, he is happily performing residential tree inspections for risks and hazards as a Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) tree inspector.

  • Robert Tews

    Robert Tews

    Robert is an ISA-Certified Arborist, Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) and production tree climber with over 25 years of injury-free production climbing experience. Robert has been teaching tree climbers since 1998. He runs Treeventure Services LLC in his home town of Jacksonville, Florida.

  • Bret McKee

    Bret McKee

    Atlanta native Bret McKee started climbing with TCI in 2005. In addition to teaching the TCI Basic Tree Climbing Course to our students, Bret is an actor and accredited stunt performer, a 4th degree black belt in the Bujinkan school of martial arts, a certified deep diver, fluent in German, and a photographer. He also gets called on to do light tree work and cat and drone rescues.

  • Jepson

    "I remember when I first started doing treework back in the '80's. Peter was one of my most influential climbing mentors. He was an effective teacher because he was both knowledgeable and passionate about what he does. And he is funny. What a great combination! Thanks, Peter!"

    Jeff Jepson
    Author, "The Tree Climber's Companion"
    and other books for tree climbers

If you don't see any open dates on our calendar, please contact us with inquiries or to register. Make sure to include your phone number!

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT OUR PROGRAM: Please read it all the way through!

Safety During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Safety is TCI's highest priority: safety for our students and safety for our instructors. The good news is that the TCI Tree Worker Program is taught outdoors, and distancing is pretty easy. The bad news is that the number of people getting sick or dying from coronovirus is not yet under control, so easing up on restrictions is still risky.

To ensure that our students and instructors are safe while you're with us in Atlanta, TCI has instituted the following rules.

  • Students will be required to sign a form guaranteeing that while you are in class and on your own time, you will follow the mask and social distancing guidelines recommended by the CDC. Failure to do so will result in your being barred from future instruction (with no tuition refund).
  • Unfortunately, we are not able to host students in the TCI Clubhouse during the pandemic. Students will need to stay offsite and provide your own transportation. We will provide recommendations for motels nearby.
  • Dining-in at restaurants, even with social distancing in place, is not safe. Take-out meals are a must. There are many restaurants open for take-out meals within walking distance of the teaching trees and local lodging options. There are also several large grocery stores.

We will be forced to eject from class anyone who is careless with these guidelines. Thank you for your cooperation.


The cost for this 5-day program is $1,200. We take a $400 deposit by credit card with course registration. The balance is due by cash or check on the first day of class.


TCI's class schedule is shown on our calendar. Most of our classes fill up quickly after we announce them. If you see an open class that you can attend, we urge you to sign up for it quickly. Call us to register — we do not register students by email.

Sometimes we can schedule a class upon request. Call to see what's possible. A minimum of two students is required for a class to be confirmed.

Cancellation Policy


The success of each TCI class depends upon every student's participation. We schedule a maximum of only three students per course, and we do not overbook. If you don’t show up, your absence has a major impact on us and on people who are waiting to take our training.

With that in mind, TCI has the following cancellation policy: If your plans change and you need to cancel, you must call us at least three weeks ahead of time. (We prefer to know as soon as you know.) This gives someone on our waiting list enough time to make travel and personal arrangements to take the course. We will refund your deposit minus a $50 cancellation fee.

If you cancel fewer than three weeks ahead of time, you will forfeit your entire deposit unless you or we are able to fill your slot with someone else. In that case, we may refund your deposit minus a $50 cancellation fee.

In the event of a health or family emergency (for which we may require documentation), we will refund your tuition deposit minus a $50 cancellation fee.

TCI reserves the right to deny future program participation to students who cancel without adequate notice.


NOTE: During the Covid-19, TCI is not hosting students at our Clubhouse. Please talk to us about options for where to stay while you're in Atlanta.

In Atlanta, two days of the course are taught at the TCI Clubhouse, and three are at Blackburn Park. There are plenty of places to stay near both sites.

In Jacksonville, the class is taught at 8101 Fort Caroline Rd., 32277. There are several motels nearby.


If you don't own gear, we suggest that you NOT purchase it until after you have taken our training, when you'll have a much better idea of what you'll need and use. We have all the gear for your training, including all the gear in the pdfTCI Climbing Kit for Entry-Level Tree Workers sold by WesSpur and American Arborist Supplies.

However, if you own a saddle and/or a helmet that you are comfortable in, please bring it/them with you.


Upon satisfactory completion of our program, students will be given a certificate signed by your instructor. Show this to a potential employer along with the course outline, and you are sure to get a job!



This program qualifies for 32.5 ISA CEUs in the Practice, Climber Specialist, and Certified Arborist categories.

Recommended Reading

TCI teaches Jeff Jepson's P.R.E.P. system of preparing for tree work. We highly recommend his book, The Tree Climber's Companion, which many arborists consider the "Bible" for tree workers. It is not necessary to read this book before coming to class.

We also suggest Jepson's two other excellent books, To Fell A Tree and Knots at Work. In addition, we recommend the ISA's excellent publication, The Art and Science of Practical Rigging by Peter Donzelli and Sharon Lilly.

All four books are available onsite in Atlanta and in our website store.

See for yourself!

Here are a simple outline and some photos to give you an idea of what you'll be doing each day in our program.


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