Working in an office, tucked away behind a desk, can sometimes cause hives.
Have you ever thought about all those wires along tree lines and buried in ditches alongside streets?
Have you been in search of a profitable career path with some similarity to engineering?
Do you find it interesting working outside or doing electrical work piques your interest?
Then becoming a lineman worker is best befitting for you.
Lineman Workers are responsible for installing and maintaining them.
Then this article will serve as a guide to enlighten you on How To Become A Lineman Worker and what to expect on the job.
How To Become A Lineman Worker?
A lineworker is a type of electrician who works for utility, telecommunications, or energy companies to maintain, repair and install power lines.
They can work on power lines that are strung on poles aboveground or power lines buried underground.
Lineman Worker Job Description
Lineman worker work varies slightly depending on the type of lines you work on.
Some people work on power lines, fiber optic cables, or telephone lines.
In any case, your primary responsibility as you become a lineman worker is to install and repair it wherever necessary to ensure the utility’s widespread distribution.
In addition to focusing on the lines themselves, you must also inspect and test any supporting or auxiliary equipment used on those lines.
For example, you could inspect transformers along electrical lines and switches along telecommunications lines.
Your daily tasks will be strenuous.
To begin, you’ll need to climb ladders and poles to work at heights above ground.
Simultaneously, you’ll transport and operate power equipment wherever your day’s work takes you.
Lineman work can be hazardous.
As a result, you’ll need to complete all of your tasks in accordance with standard safety and operating procedures.
Furthermore, in order to ensure your and your teammates’ safety, you must always be aware of the rules that apply to your line of work.
Responsibilities Of A Lineman Worker
Electricity, telecommunications, and even television are all carried by cables mounted on towers and poles across the country.
Linemen and women, formally known as line installers and repairers, are in full control of installing and repairing those lines.
The following are the main responsibilities of lineman workers:
- Drive utility vehicles to work sites
- Climb poles to service power lines
- Service transmission and distribution lines from power plants to buildings
- Plan and supervise installation projects
- Install electrical equipment for power systems
- Repair aboveground and below-ground power lines
- Maintain power lines through regular inspections
- Manage apprentices and groundsmen
- Ensure the job site follows government and company safety rules
Tools For Lineman Worker Use
Here’s a list of tools and equipment lineman worker use to perform their duties:
- Hand Tools:
Lineman workers use hand tools like wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, wire stripping tools, and bolt cutters to service power lines. A lineman worker’s tools are insulated using a non-conductive substance like rubber, plastic, or nylon to protect them from electric shock.
- Personal Protective Grounds:
Linemen worked can also use grounding equipment like clamps, cables, clusters, and ferrules to stay safe while servicing power lines.
- Climbing Belt:
A lineman worker can wear a climbing belt to scale poles and service power lines safely.
- Other Climbing Gear:
Lineman workers can use gaffs, straps, and climbing spikes to scale utility poles safely.
- Hard Hats:
Lineman workers wear hard hats to protect them from falls since they can work from tall heights.
Wearing insulated gloves can help lineman workers stay safe from electrocution while they work.
- Bucket Truck:
Lineworkers for utility, energy, and telecommunications companies can drive bucket trucks that allow them to access power lines strung on poles.
How To Become A Lineman worker
Below are the necessary key steps to become a lineman worker:
1. Earn A High School Diploma Or GED
Employers will typically expect people learning how to become a lineman worker to have a high school diploma or a general education diploma (GED) at least as a minimum education requirement.
So If you don’t have a GED, there is a provision for you to take classes and possibly study for the test.
By passing the test, it depicts that you have gotten the job and passed each subject test to earn a GED.
2. Get A Driver’s License
During an apprenticeship, you may need to drive for hours to get to job sites in your training region.
Getting a driver’s license can allow you to get the number of apprenticeship hours your state requires.
3. Attend A Trade School
Optionally, some experts recommend that aspiring lineworkers enter a trade school, sometimes called a “pre-apprenticeship,” in order to gain essential knowledge and skills to use during a lineworker apprenticeship.
It can take anywhere from two months to a year to complete a pre-apprenticeship for a lineworker career.
Here are some of the skills you can learn in a trade school:
- Equipment Repair:
You can learn to fix and replace damaged or aging electrical equipment.
You can learn to climb poles safely during a pre-apprenticeship.
A trade school can also teach you how to properly use the tools lineworkers use daily.
- Cable Splicing:
A trade school can also teach you to splice cables together to form longer cables or repair existing electrical networks.
- Reading Voltages:
Another lineman worker skill you can learn in a trade school is how to use tools to read voltages in electrical systems.
- Line Tension:
You can learn to calculate the tension of a line before hoisting equipment to ensure a job’s safety.
4. Take An Aptitude Test
You can take an aptitude test to gain entry to an apprenticeship program after obtaining a high school diploma or GED.
Lineworker aptitude tests can have math and reading comprehension questions that can measure your critical thinking and analytical skills.
If you score high enough on an aptitude test, depending on your state, you can also have an interview for an apprenticeship.
You can bring your resume to the interview to show your current qualifications and work experience.
5. Begin An Apprenticeship Program
Once you’re accepted into an apprenticeship program, you can begin working as a paid apprentice under journeyman lineworkers who can teach you the knowledge and skills you need to pass your apprenticeship.
A lineworker apprenticeship takes about 7,000 hours of hands-on work and training classes, or about four years, to complete in most states.
Here are some trade skills you can learn in a lineworker apprenticeship:
- Job Safety:
You can learn the government safety regulations and best practices for lineworkers during an apprenticeship.
For example, you can learn how to use personal protective equipment to keep you safe around live wires.
- Line Assembly:
An apprenticeship can teach you how to build and install power lines and towers.
- Pole Building:
You can also learn how to frame and assemble wooden poles for utility lines in an apprenticeship.
During your apprenticeship, you can learn how to properly maintain conductors, telephone lines, street lights, and elements of traffic control systems, like traffic lights.
A journeyman lineworker or master electrician can teach you to install wires and other hardware into energy, telephone, traffic control, and street light systems.
- Wire Insulation:
You can also learn how to insulate wires safely during a lineworker apprenticeship.
- Conductor Use:
During an apprenticeship, you can learn how to remain safe while using conductors.
- Hot Stick Work:
You can learn how to use a fiberglass hot stick to stay a safe distance away from high-distribution voltages.
6. Earn Certifications
Optionally, you can earn extra certifications that can help you gain more safety knowledge and perform your lineman worker duties.
Earning the following certifications or licenses can help you get a job as a lineman worker:
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL):
A commercial driver’s license can allow you to drive large utility trucks that governments use to service power lines.
- OSHA Certification:
You can earn an OSHA certification to show employers your knowledge of safety regulations for electrical work.
- First Aid and CPR Certification:
This is a certification for health and for safety on the job site.
- Traffic Control Flagger Certification:
This is a certification issued by state authorities to guide traffic safely around the job site.
7. Become A Journeyman Lineman Worker
Once you’ve completed the required hours of experience in an apprenticeship, you can be eligible to become a journeyman lineman worker.
Some states require you to get a license to become a lineman worker, so you can use your knowledge from your apprenticeship to obtain a license and begin working independently to repair, replace and maintain power infrastructure.
Necessary Skills For A Lineman Worker
Whether you’re considering a career as a lineman worker or you want to improve your job performance.
Here are some hard and soft skills you can use in a career as a lineman worker:
Hard Skills For A Lineworker
Below is a list of hard skills lineman workers can use on the job:
- Physical Strength:
A lineman worker can climb to reach electrical lines as you haul heavy gear, so physical strength can help you perform your duties as a lineworker.
- Comfort At Heights:
Lineman workers work from 100 or more feet in the air to service electrical lines, so comfort at heights is an asset to aspiring lineworkers.
- Math Skills:
You can use math skills to pass an apprenticeship aptitude test and to solve everyday problems you face on the job as a lineman worker.
- Reading Skills:
Lineman workers can use reading skills to interpret wiring diagrams.
You can also use reading skills to pass a lineworker apprenticeship test.
- Tree Trimming:
A lineman worker can trim branches away from power lines to prevent electrical outages or injuries. So experience with landscaping equipment is a plus.
- Equipment Maintenance:
Lineman workers can care for their equipment with regular maintenance to ensure it’s ready for use.
- Project Management:
A lineman worker can use project management skills to develop and oversee large installation projects.
Soft Skills For A Lineman Worker
Here are some soft skills that lineman workers can use in their careers:
- Critical Thinking:
Lineman workers can work with electricity in dangerous conditions like rain or snow.
Critical thinking can prevent accidents during these situations.
- Time Management:
Deadlines are common in the lineman worker profession.
Time management can help you meet deadlines.
- Detail Orientation:
Being detail-oriented can help you learn the complicated electrical knowledge needed in your apprenticeship and apply it to your lineman worker duties.
A journeyman lineman worker can work without supervision, so independence can help you thrive in this career.
The Average Salary Of A Lineman Worker
The average salary of a lineman worker depends on the types of lines that you work on.
Here are the average salaries for electrical and telecommunications lineman workers respectively
1. Electrical Lineman Worker:
An electrical power line installer and repairer earns an average of $74,410 a year.
The top 90th percentile earns $108,380, while the bottom 10th percentile earns $39,090.
According to the BLS, there are 5 top states with the highest average pay for electrical Lineman Worker are:
- Oregon ($99,040 a year)
- Hawaii ($96,780 a year)
- Connecticut ($95,970 a year)
- Massachusetts ($95,450 a year)
- Alaska ($95,210 a year)
2. Telecommunication Lineman Worker
A telecommunication line installer and repairer earn an average of $61,860 a year.
The top 90th percentile of this group earns $97,840, and the bottom 10th percentile earns $34,180.
Also, according to the BLS, the top five states with the highest average pay for telecommunications linemen are:
- New Jersey ($90,050 a year)
- Massachusetts ($86,570 a year)
- Pennsylvania ($78,140 a year)
- District of Columbia ($76,490 a year)
- Hawaii ($73,700 a year)
Regardless of the type of lineman you are, you can increase your earning potential by pursuing the optional additional certifications and licenses listed above.
How Does A Lineman Worker Find Work?
Now that you know how to become a lineman worker and the average salary range of a lineman worker.
Let’s discuss how you will find work…
You can find work as a lineman worker by targeting the sectors and employers with a strong demand for people with your skills and knowledge.
According to the US Bureau of labor statistics (BLS), some of the sectors that hire the most linemen are:
- Electric power companies e.g. your local utility company.
- Telecommunications companies e.g. your local cable or phone company.
- Building equipment contractors e.g. contractors that work on large projects which require laying power or telecommunications lines.
By targeting these employers, you’ll increase your chances of landing a job.
You can check their websites or call them directly to check for current job openings.
Wherever possible, submit a copy of your resume or CV to potential employers if there are future job openings available.
Top 3 Most Popular Lineman Worker Job Paths
To be more competitive, you can pursue one of the following specializations for this line of work below:
- Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers
You’ll specialize in working with lines that carry electricity in this role.
These lines are often high-voltage lines, which means a higher-risk and higher reward specialization for a lineman.
- Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers
Here, you’ll work exclusively with lines like fiber optic cables and telephone lines.
Some of the lines you handle will involve electricity but at lower voltages.
- Specializing in Either Installations or Repairs Only
It’s also common for linemen of either type above to focus exclusively on installations or repairs instead of generalizing in both areas.
If being a lineman is something you’re interested in, you should first think about the qualifications required and the inherent risk of the position.
Once you’ve made the decision to move forward, you can select a training program and an industry training center or college to assist you in gaining the knowledge required to begin an apprenticeship.
Once your apprenticeship is complete, you can pursue any lineman career that appeals to you.
Having said all of this, I hope the knowledge was useful.