Here's How to Become a Lineman (Professional Guide)

Here's how to become a lineman. Linemen connect or maintain power for homes and businesses, sometimes in hazardous situations. Learning about the responsibilities, abilities, and stages involved in becoming a lineman will assist you in making career decisions.

how to become a lineman

What is a lineman?

A lineman is an electrician who maintains, repairs, and installs electricity lines for utility, telecommunications, or energy organizations. They can work on both aboveground and subterranean electricity lines that are stretched on poles.

What does a lineman do?

A lineman's responsibilities are listed below:

  • To job locations, drive utility vehicles.
  • To service electricity lines, climb poles.
  • Transmission and distribution lines from power plants to buildings provide service.
  • Plan and oversee installation jobs.
  • Install power system electrical equipment.
  • Power lines, both above and below ground, must be repaired.
  • Inspections of electricity lines are required on a regular basis to keep them in good working order.
  • Oversee the work of apprentices and groundsmen.

Ensure that the job site adheres to all government and corporate safety regulations.

What tools does a lineman use?

The following is a list of the tools and equipment that lineman use to carry out their duties:

  • Hand tooling: Linemen service electricity lines with hand tools such as wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, wire stripping tools, and bolt cutters. To protect themselves from electric shock, linemen's instruments are insulated with nonconductive materials like rubber, plastic, or nylon.
  • Protective grounds: Linemen can also utilize grounding equipment such as clamps, cables, clusters, and ferrules to keep themselves safe when working on electricity lines.
  • Climbing belt: A lineman can safely ascend poles and service electricity lines by wearing a climbing belt.
  • Use of gaffs: Gaffs, harnesses, and climbing spikes can be used by a lineman to safely scale utility poles.
  • Linemen use hard helmets to protect themselves from falls because they operate at such a high altitude.
  • Gloves: Linemen can protect themselves against electrocution by wearing insulated gloves while working.
  • Bucket truck: Utility, energy, and telecommunications linemen can operate bucket trucks, which allow them to access electrical wires stretched on poles.

Average salary for a lineman

The typical base income for a lineman is $22.57 per hour. They can make an extra $6,750 each year by working overtime. The lineman occupation is expected to remain unchanged between 2019 and 2029, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How to become a professional lineman

The following is a list of stages to becoming a lineman:

Get a high school diploma

To become a lineman, you must first have a high school certificate or a GED. If you don't already have a GED, you can enroll in programs to prepare for the exam and pass each subject examination.

Obtain a driver's license

You can need to drive for hours to go to employment sites in your training zone throughout your apprenticeship. Obtaining a driver's license can enable you to complete the required amount of apprenticeship hours in your state.

how to become a lineman

Attend trade or vocational-technical school

Some experts recommend that aspiring linemen enroll in a trade school, often known as a "pre-apprenticeship," to learn crucial information and abilities that would be useful throughout their apprenticeship. A pre-apprenticeship for a lineman job might take anything from two months to a year to complete. Some of the talents you can learn in a trade school include:

  • Repairing and replacing broken or aging electrical equipment is something you can learn to do.
  • Climbing: During a pre-apprenticeship, you can learn how to securely climb poles.
  • Tools: A vocational school can educate you on how to utilize the tools that linemen use on a regular basis.
  • Splicing cables together to make longer cables or repairing existing electrical networks: A trade school can teach you how to splice cables together to form longer cables or repair existing electrical networks.
  • Another lineman skill you can acquire at a trade school is how to read voltages in electrical systems using tools.

To protect the safety of work, you can learn to calculate the tension of a line before lifting equipment.

Take the aptitude test

how to become a lineman

After receiving a high school diploma or GED, you can take an aptitude exam to gain entrance into an apprenticeship program. Math and reading comprehension questions on lineman aptitude exams can be used to assess your critical thinking and analytical abilities.

Depending on your state, you can be eligible for an apprenticeship interview if you score well on an aptitude exam. To demonstrate your current qualifications and job experience, bring your résumé to the interview.

Begin an apprenticeship

Once you've been accepted into an apprenticeship program, you can start working as a paid apprentice under journeyman lineman who can teach you the information and skills you'll need to complete your apprenticeship. In most jurisdictions, a lineman apprenticeship involves around 7,000 hours of hands-on labor and training sessions or four years.

A lineman apprenticeship can teach you the following trade skills:

  • During an apprenticeship, you can learn about government safety laws and best practices for a lineman. You can, for example, learn how to utilize personal protective equipment to keep yourself safe when working with live wires.
  • Apprenticeships inline assembly can educate you how to construct and install electricity lines and towers.
  • In an apprenticeship, you can also learn how to construct and erect wooden poles for utility lines.
  • Maintenance: You can learn how to correctly maintain conductors, telephone lines, street lights, and elements of traffic control systems, such as traffic lights, throughout your apprenticeship.
  • Installing wires and other hardware into electricity, telephone, traffic control, and street light systems can be taught by a journeyman lineman or master electrician.
  • Wire insulation: During a lineman apprenticeship, you can learn how to securely insulate wires.
  • Conductor usage: You can learn how to utilize conductors safely during an apprenticeship.
  • Work with a fiberglass hot stick: To keep a safe distance from high-distribution voltages, learn how to utilize a fiberglass hot stick.

how to become a lineman

Earn certifications

You can acquire additional certificates to assist you learn more about safety and execute your lineman duties. You can acquire a job as a journeyman lineman by earning the following certifications:

  • A commercial driver's license (CDL) enables you to operate huge utility trucks that are used by governments to maintain electricity lines. This is to operate large utility trucks.
  • OSHA certification: You can obtain an OSHA certification to demonstrate to employers that you are familiar with electrical safety rules.

Telecommunications companies can require a CDL in order to get employed.

Become a journeyman lineman

You can be able to become a journeyman lineman after completing the requisite hours of experience in an apprenticeship. Some jurisdictions need a license to work as a lineman, so you can utilize your apprenticeship skills to earn a license and start working on your own to repair, replace, and maintain electricity infrastructure.

Required skills for a lineman

Here are some hard and soft talents you can utilize in a profession as a lineman, whether you're seeking a career as a lineman or want to enhance current work performance:

how to become a lineman

Hard skills

  • Strength: Physical strength can assist you to accomplish your tasks as a lineman by allowing you to climb to access electrical wires while hauling heavy equipment. Job duties frequently need bending and twisting at the waist and neck, as well as reaching forward, to the side, across the body, and overhead.
  • Comfort at heights: Lineman service electrical wires from 100 feet or more in the air, thus comfort at heights is a plus for aspiring linemen.
  • Math abilities: You can utilize your math skills to pass an apprenticeship aptitude test and to handle day-to-day lineman difficulties.
  • Reading skills: Linemen can utilize their reading abilities to decipher electrical schematics. Reading skills can also be used to pass a lineman apprenticeship test.
  • Trimming: Experience with landscaping equipment is a bonus since a lineman can trim branches away from power wires to prevent electrical outages or accidents.
  • Equipment use: Linemen can take care of their equipment by doing routine maintenance to keep it in good working order.
  • Project management: A lineman's project management abilities can be used to plan and oversee major installation projects.

Soft skills

  • Critical-thinking: Linemen are capable of working with electricity in hazardous circumstances such as rain or snow. In these instances, critical thinking can help you avoid mishaps.
  • Time management: Time management is essential in the lineman's career. Meeting deadlines can be made easier with time management.
  • Detail-oriented: Detail orientation can assist you in learning the complex electrical information required throughout your apprenticeship and applying it to your lineman tasks.
  • Independence: As a journeyman lineman, you will be able to work without supervision, which will help you succeed in this field.

In addition, when called upon, an apprentice lineman/journeyman linemen must be willing and ready to react to "after hours" crises and duties. This isn't a choice; it's a need.

how to become a lineman

Common questions

Frequently asked questions about becoming a lineman:

What's the career path of a lineman?

They'll need to enroll in a state-approved apprenticeship program that includes 7,000 hours of on-the-job training. This apprenticeship lasts around 3 1/2 to 4 years and leads to the position of a journeyman lineman. There are several methods to begin an apprenticeship. Hands-on training is usually provided by the apprenticeship program or vocational school. Training classes introduce students to job related information and training.

Where can I find a lineman school and what's it like?

They will learn how to climb poles, handle tools of the job, and perform day-to-day Lineman responsibilities. This is in addition to their classroom training. They're just for a few weeks, ranging from 10 to 15 weeks. There are a number of lineman schools available, and while they are not required to apply for the apprenticeship, they are an excellent place to start.

You'll learn a basic understanding of electrical distribution systems, electrical theory, and mechanical principles. Some online courses are available for linemen.

What's it like to be an apprentice?

While obtaining training in various areas of the industry, you can be expected to work anywhere in our service region (Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming) as an apprentice.

how to become a lineman

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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