Line clearance tree trimming is a growing career path in the utility industry, and there has never been a better time to get started in the tree trim field. This is due to the increasing demand for tree trimming, great pay and benefits and the opportunity to quickly rise up through the ranks of the profession.
So, how does someone become a tree trimmer?
People learn about the tree trim profession in various ways, but a common thread is the positive recommendations people received from others in the trade.
“I learned about the profession from a friend after I left the armed forces,” Ryan Ford, arborist for DTE Energy, said. “I was looking for a job that would keep me active and in the outdoors, so it was a perfect fit for me. It was at just the right time.”
Once someone begins a career as a tree trimmer, there is a lot of training that is necessary to learn the ins-and-outs of the industry, including proper safety and trimming practices.
“Training you receive through classes and in the field will make you a professional in your trade,” Andrew Spreeman, arborist for DTE Energy, said. “If you apply that, never stop your desire to learn and have a good work ethic, you can go as far as you want to.
“I started as a woodsman and progressed through the apprenticeship program, to management, and now I’m an arborist/facilitator at DTE.”
Still, it’s the benefits that make tree trimming such a popular career opportunity for most people. One of the main perks of the profession is the ability to work outside instead of a traditional office environment.
“Being outside every day is my favorite part of the job,” Spreeman said. “The work might seem like it’s the same, but the puzzle of clearing trees from power lines and transformers is different every day.”
In addition to working outdoors, the camaraderie between tree trimmers and their crews, as well as the impact trimmers have on their community, are the major draws to the profession.
“Interacting with the community, the impact you make while doing storm restoration and how many lives you touch because people depend on you to help restore the power to the communities is very rewarding,” Spreeman said.
“Growing up with three older sisters, it was nice to experience the camaraderie and brotherhood that tree trimming offers,” Marty Kenosian, arborist for DTE Energy, said.
On top of all that is the ability to make good money with great benefits.
“The amount of money that you can make was definitely a positive surprise,” Kenosian said. “It’s something I didn’t realize when I first started, but it quickly became a huge benefit.
For those interested in joining the trade, our arborists offered some advice they wish they had known when they started.
“Dig deep and learn everything you can about the trade,” Ford said. “There is always new training and techniques, classes and seminars you can learn from to strive to be on top of the industry. Knowledge is power.”
“It’s hard work. It’s honest work with a very good income for anyone willing to choose it for a career,” Spreeman said. “As in anything you do in life, apply yourself to the best of your abilities, and you can go far. The sky will be the limit for you.”
Interested in becoming a tree trimmer?
DTE is partnering with the International Brothers of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Focus: HOPE to build a Detroit-based Tree Trimming Academy to provide training for those seeking a career in line clearance tree trimming. DTE Tree Trim Academy will open its doors in Spring 2021. Learn more about this great career opportunity here.