Certified Utility Arborist (CUA) Apprenticeship

Download the pdf handout for the Certified Utility Arborist (CUA) Apprenticeship with the information found on this page

What is a Utility Arborist?

A Certified Utility Arborist is a person who undertakes any work required to prune or clear vegetation in proximity [defined as a distance of three meters or less from a primary conductor with a voltage of 750 volts or higher] to energized electrical equipment, structures and conductors; or, who in the course of utility line clearing operations, prunes, falls, or removes trees which, could come into contact with energized power lines.


Typical Duties

  • Responsible for vegetation management activities
  • Remove vegetation from around power lines, utilizing bucket truck or climbing
  • Physically demanding and work is performed in all types of weather


Apprenticeship Overview

  • Technical Training
    1. Block release
      • 6 weeks for Level 1
      • 2 weeks for Level 2
  • 2,378 Hours of work experience (including 1,200 in proximity)
  • Tax Credits for Apprentices – minimum of $2000
  • Tax Credits for Sponsors – up to $4000
  • Certificate of Qualification as a Utility Arborist


What is apprenticeship?

An ITA Certified Utility Arborist is a formal apprenticeship and upon completion provides the individual with a Certificate of Qualifications and a Certificate of Apprenticeship as provided by the Industry Training Authority (ITA). The program is structured to provide both in-school and work-based training with two correspondence courses also being required.

  • The Certified Utility Arborist Apprenticeship process can take up to 2 years to complete
  • Requires In-school technical training – Level 1 (6 weeks) and Level 2 (2 weeks) and two correspondence courses.
    • During and at the conclusion of each Level an apprentice will be required to challenge both written and competency based outcomes. (Year One: Level Exam; Year Two:CofQ Exam).
  • Requires 2,378 workplace hours with confirmation of hours by your employer
    • With 1,200 hours must be in proximity to energized power lines (Proximity is defined as a distance of three meters or less from a primary conductor with a voltage of 750 volts or greater)
  • Upon completion of all schooling and hours, you are awarded a Certificate of Qualification and a certificate of Apprenticeship as a Utility Arborist.


Steps to become a Utility Arborist Apprentice

Step 1: Register the apprenticeship with the ITA. You must have a Sponsor who is either a Certified Tradesperson or has Sign-Off Authority and has registered with the ITA. Click here for Sponsor information. HortEducation.ca can be your sponsor for the school duration if you do not have employment in the field. Contact HortEducation.ca – [email protected]

Register one of 2 ways:

1. Register as an apprentice online

2. Register as an apprentice using a paper-based system

          • If you prefer to use a paper-based system; or, this is the sponsor’s first apprentice registration since either completing their Certified Utility Arborist Certificate of Qualification or receiving sign-off authority status, complete the Apprenticeship and Sponsor Registration Form with your sponsor and mail or fax to the ITA (contact info is on the form).
    • Read the Apprentice/Trainee Guide and the 6 Steps to Success guide provided by ITA.

Step 2: Register for Technical Training. Register with Electrical Industry Training Institute (EITI) for the in-school training portion of the apprenticeship.

Step 3: Track workplace training hours. Track your hours and submit your proximity verification declaration report along with your employer using the ITA Direct Access system or fill out the Work-Based Training Report and complete your log book and Work-Based Training Proximity Verification Declaration Report.

Step 4: Apply for Certificate of Qualification. After completing Level 2 your ‘Recommend for Certification’ form must be signed by your sponsor. This form is provided by ITA upon completing of all training and work based hours.

Contact ITA Customer Service for any assistance

Tax Credits

    • Remember that you may be eligible for tax credits starting at $1000 per completed level.


What does it cost?

  • Tuition Fees – $2100 approx.
  • Hydro or Fortis PSSP/Lockout training – $350 (if required)
  • Apprentices may be eligible to collect Employment Insurance benefits during school technical training sessions. Some apprentices qualify for additional benefits such as travel or lodging allowance. Contact your local WorkBC Apprentice Services Centre to enquire about EI and additional benefits.


Related Links


What can I make?

Private Sector

  • Utility Arborist – $25-30/hr


Sponsor Info


Job Titles

  • Certified Utility Arborist


Additional Certifications