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

Please visit our CALENDAR for our Spring 2022 class schedule.


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

  • Peter "Treeman" Jenkins

    Peter "Treeman" Jenkins

    "Treeman," the founder of TCI (in 1983), is an ISA-Certified Arborist with over 25 years of production climbing experience. He has also been teaching tree workers and recreational tree climbers at all skill levels for almost 40 years, with no accidents to date. Peter no longer climbs for tree work, 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. He is a founder and twice past-president of the Georgia Arborist Association.

  • 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.

  • TJ Convery

    TJ Convery

    T.J. Convery, “TreeJ,” is an outdoor enthusiast and adventurer. He has been doing tree work in Atlanta for over 25 years and is a member of the Georgia Arborist Association. TreeJ is also a life-long power boater, sailor, and boating safety instructor, as well as a Merchant Mariner (Captain). He does mission work with Honduras Outreach and United Methodist Men.

    • 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!

    • Covid-19

      Safety is TCI's highest priority: safety for our students and safety for our instructors. Fortunately, protection against Covid-19 and its variants is pretty easy, since the vaccinations are so effective against it. Also, TCI's courses are taught entirely outdoors, adding another layer of protection.

      TCI prefers that our students be vaccinated against Covid-19. However, we recognize that many of our students do not want to get the shots. As has been our policy in the past, we may require the wearing of masks if/when you are in close proximity to our instructors and the other students in the class.

      Thank you for your cooperation.

    • Cost

      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 morning of class.

    • Scheduling

      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 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 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.

    • Location

      The TCI Entry-level Tree Worker Program is taught in Atlanta, Georgia. We meet at the TCI Clubhouse, 1290 Merry Lane NE, Atlanta 30329, on the first morning. After orientation, you will go up to Blackburn Park, where days 1, 2, and 4 of the class are taught. Training on days 3 and 5 is at the Clubhouse. The Clubhouse carport is fully equipped for teaching in the event of rain.

    • Lodging

      Due to the ongoing threat of illness from Covid-19 and its variants, we are not hosting students at the TCI Clubhouse. There are many hotels, motels and AirBnB's available nearby. Ask for recommendations!

    • Gear

      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 that you are comfortable in and a helmet, please bring it/them with you.

    • Certificate

      "Certification" of tree climbers is provided by any organization that we know of. However, 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!

      TWP CERT

    • ISA CEUs

      This program qualifies for 32.5 ISA CEUs in the Practice, Climber Specialist, and Certified Arborist categories. Ask us how to apply.

    • 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 climbers. It is not necessary to read this book before coming to class.

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

      All five 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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