Hawaii's economy has a steady demand for electrical workers, including line installers and repairers, or linemen. Linemen in Hawaii typically enjoy above-average wages in a beautiful environment, with a wealth of outdoor activities available for off-duty hours. Working conditions can be hazardous, though, with routine exposure to high voltage equipment and heights.
Hawaii is generally friendly to trade unions. Chances are you will be employed as a lineman with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, or IBEW 1186. As a union worker, you will have access to a group health insurance plan for yourself and your family, as well as a pension plan. Benefits and job security increase as you gain seniority. Non-union employment is rare for electrical line installers and repairers. The union does occasionally strike, so you should have sufficient cash reserves to weather a short-term work stoppage.
Weather conditions are always important to a lineman. Outdoor working conditions in Hawaii are generally pleasant, with mild weather year round. The only snow you are likely to see is at higher elevations on the Big Island of Hawaii, though the weather can be quite chilly in the winter at higher elevations on the island of Maui, as well. Hawaii does get the occasional hurricane, but severe weather events -- and all the overtime they bring to line repairers -- are rare.
As of 2009, the median hourly wage for an electrical line repairer/installer in Hawaii is $34.51, which is significantly higher than the $27.24 median wage nationwide. Only 10 percent of those employed in this trade in Hawaii, earn less than 27.25 per hour, while the highest 10 percent of linemen in Hawaii earn $40.55 per hour or more. However, you should also bear in mind that the cost of living in Hawaii is also high.
Getting Started as a Lineman in Hawaii
If you are looking to get a start as an electrical line installer/repairer in Hawaii, you will either need to join an apprenticeship program to learn on the job, or attend a vocational school to learn the basics. The Department of Labor lists the Hawaiian Electric Company, the primary electrical utility company in the state, as an official sponsor for a lineman apprenticeship program.