A lineman works on the installation, upkeep, and repair of power lines on transmission towers, or pylons. Usually kept busy working for utility, phone service, or energy companies, linemen are found high in the air working hard to keep our cities running. Their hours are spent outdoors, occupied by these towers, or even working on power lines running underground. In 2021, line installers and repairers made an average annual pay of $79,060 (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, skill set, and training, permanent damage and even death could result from electrocution. It's a job for highly skilled individuals. Apprenticeship programs prepare participants to receive the experience necessary for success 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 to complete your apprenticeship. During your apprenticeship, you will work under a qualified electrician to ensure you receive the guidance you need.
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 for journeyman status as a lineman. This license is required in all 50 U.S. states.
An apprenticeship program will teach you the proper use of tools and equipment on the job, and many other vital aspects of the position. 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.
You may also learn:
- Proper wear and use of required conductive personal protective equipment and the necessary safety precautions to take when working with hazardous materials and high voltages
- To perform maintenance on energized conductors
- To install and replace de-energized (dead) transformers, switches, capacitors and capacitor banks, and lines
- How to perform hot stick work on high distribution voltages
- The installation and maintenance of telecommunication systems, street lights, and traffic control devices
Finding a Lineman Apprenticeship Program
To find an apprenticeship program, you can try searching regular job boards like Southeastern Line Constructors Apprenticeship and Training (SELCAT), or simply ask 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. Meaning, after you finish 576 hours in a classroom and pass your required exams, it is time to begin applications.
It is recommended to apply to several apprenticeship programs at once to keep your options open. If you're accepted into a few, you can then base your decision off of which program best suits your needs.