A lineman is an electrician who maintains and installs electrical power lines on transmission towers, or pylons. When you see workers up high in the air and working on power lines, that person is a lineman. Linemen typically work outdoors in the construction industry. In 2019, line installers and repairers made an average annual pay of $72,520 (bls.gov).
An apprenticeship and licensure are both required to work as a lineman; it's a hazardous job that requires extensive knowledge of technical and safety standards. Without the proper knowledge and experience, you could be electrocuted easily, which could result in permanent damage or even death. A lineman apprenticeship program allows participants to receive first-hand experience in the field.
Lineman Apprenticeship Programs
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you must take a minimum of 576 hours of certified in-class electrical training and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training as an apprentice electrician under a qualified electrician in order to start work as a lineman.
Find accredited electrical programs near you.
After you complete the educational portion of your training as well as your apprenticeship, you can apply for a license to become a journeyman electrical lineman. A license is required in all 50 U.S. states.
An apprenticeship program will teach you how to use the equipment and tools needed to perform the job, as well as many other vital things.
When working under a journeyman or master electrician (lineman), you will learn how to assemble and erect electrical power lines and towers, frame and build wood poles, place your footing for safety, install the required hardware, insulate the wiring, and use conductors. An apprenticeship will also teach you about what not to do in order to stay safe.
You will also learn how to do the following during your apprenticeship:
- Wear and use required conductive personal protective equipment and take the necessary safety precautions when working with hazardous materials and high voltages
- Perform maintenance on energized conductors
- Install and replace de-energized (dead) transformers, switches, capacitors and capacitor banks, and lines
- Perform hot stick work on high distribution voltages
Apprentices can also learn about installing and maintaining telephone systems, street light systems, and traffic control systems.
How To Find Lineman Apprenticeship Programs
To find an apprenticeship program, you can try searching regular job boards like Southeastern Line Constructors Apprenticeship and Training (SELCAT) or simply by asking your academic advisor if there are any programs available through your school. The Northwest Lineman College, for example, offers education and apprenticeships for their students.
The best time to sign up for a lineman apprenticeship is directly after you complete the required classroom training. After you finish your 576 hours of classroom training and pass any required exams, start looking for and applying to apprenticeships. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket, though—apply for several at once. If you're accepted into several programs, you will then have many options regarding which program you'd like to choose.