The job of an electrical lineman is physically and mentally challenging. Jobs require work high in the air or underneath buildings and streets, crawling through small tunnels or climbing many different types of ladders. It takes years of training to get a job, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics considers it one of the fields that will continue to need new workers who are trained in the latest technologies. It may be challenging, but it also pays well. Salaries range from approximately $30,000 on the low end to a high of $80,000 annually. Many electrical linemen are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and enjoy excellent benefits.
Graduate from high school, having taken the full math curriculum including algebra and trigonometry. Good reading and writing skills are also important in finding a job as an electrical lineman. The BLS advises that technical knowledge of electricity or electronics obtained through military service, vocational programs or community colleges can be helpful, but is often not required.
Contact the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Association for advice on what to look for in a good training school and apprenticeship program.
Begin your training at a technical school, junior or community college and apply for apprenticeship programs.
Tips & Warnings
- The National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee has been creating training and apprenticeship programs since the late 1940s. It operates a joint training and apprenticeship program in partnership with the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and is a good place to start your research into the best way to obtain quality education and on-the-job experience so you can qualify for excellent jobs.
- Apprenticeship lasts approximately three to five years, according to the BLS, and those who qualify reach journeyman level. A journeyman line worker is given responsibility on the job and can work most jobs without supervision. They are also skilled enough to look for work at other companies. Once you have many years of experience, you can manage or train employees under you.
- Physical fitness is an important part of your job as an electrical line worker. A careful, detail-oriented personality is also a good quality to have since you will be working with high voltage, often in dangerous situations and bad weather conditions. Safety is a major element of line worker training.
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