How to Become a Lineman in America

Nobody can remain rational when their electricity clicks off without warning. When its been off for 3 or 4 days, you want to spit!

When you’re used to having electricity consistently delivered by means of a complex network, being without electricity for just a couple of hours literally puts ‘everyday living’ on hold. It’s when we look at the lineman, journeyman or powerline technician in a whole new light – someone who is able to get the lights back on for us and take us out of our predicament.

line men working on pole

In the United States, the electricity grid is made up of thousands of miles of high- and low voltage power lines with distribution transformers connecting thousands of power plants to millions of consumers all across the country. Being a lineman in America is no mean feat – after all these linemen are doing a very dangerous job. However, with safety measures, such as boots, in place, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that the number of job fatalities is on the decline.

You’ll Need more than a High School Diploma
for a Journeymen Job

We rely heavily on the services of a lineman, and many youngsters look at becoming an journeyman in America – being involved in the construction- and maintenance of both overhead- and underground power lines. When you see substations and all those switches and cables, you can imagine that to become a lineman you’re going to need more than a GED or high school diploma.

While high school graduation is required, you’re not going to have to have excellent marks to be a lineman. Yes, you’ll be using your hands but you’ll be using your mind too, and will need to be able to think clearly.

Earn-while-you-Learn – An Apprenticeship

Post secondary training and an apprenticeship is also going to be imperative.To become certified, a high school graduate has to complete at least 2 years of technical training, and in some states, the training will be 4 years.
Take note that it is difficult getting an apprenticeship and you may not make the entrance exams. Going to college then can be a worthwhile alternative.

The benefit of working and learning at the same time means that as an apprentice you will be considered to be a full-time employee and you’ll receive wages during your training.

On the job, you’ll be learning all the skills required to work on substations and switchyards, as well as transmission and distribution circuits. Reading, trigonometry, blueprint reading, electrical components such as switchboards, geometry and maths will all be required for this job. Upon satisfactory completion of these programs, apprentices become linemen in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
As an apprentice lineman, you’ll also be prepared for certain certificates. Employers look for Electrical Line Technicians with certificates. You will need –

IBEW – International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
OHHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration

There are many excellent colleges where you can learn to become a lineworker. Courses last 4 to 6 years. As a lineman you may also need to know how to use computer aided design cad software and inventory management software tools.
Just some of them are –

  • Minnesota State Community and Technical College
  • Mitchell Technical Institute
  • Warren County Career Center
  • Northwest Iowa Community College
  • North Georgia Technical College
  • Coastal Pines Technical College

At colleges like this you’ll learn all the skills to install, maintain and repair electric power cables, erect tower lines and also install underground cables, remote communication, codes and standards among others.

Stand out and be Counted In

There are thousands of young people clamoring for the job you want, so increasingly you have to do all it takes to stand out among your competition and clinch that job you so badly want. Summing up, the general overview to becoming a lineman in the United States requires –
getting yourself a high school diploma or equivalent
applying for a lineman apprenticeship and registering as an electrician apprentice in your state
completing your 4 – 6 year apprenticeship
getting your lineman license or become certified in your state

Students learning how to climb

These are the basic steps to becoming a lineman, bearing in mind that the more you know, the greater your chances are of landing a plum job.

Millions are Relying on the Power and Electricity you Help Provide

A lineman job allows you to earn good wages and benefits. The average lineman salary in the United States is in the region of $77,000 in 2019 but your earnings can vary, depending on a range of factors such as your training and education, any additional skills you have, the number of years you’ve already worked and your certification.

Being a lineman is great, albeit it difficult and dangerous, and you’ve got to be out there in all kinds of weather conditions because the job just has to get done.
You’ve got to be strong, fit and mentally sharp too.

You can take home some big bucks as a lineman but there’s another kind of satisfaction – knowing you’ve got the means to switch the lights back on and bring a whole lot of relief to millions of people.

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