How To Become A Lineman
Have you ever seen one of those guys hanging from utility poles working and wondered what it takes to become one of them? Below are some tips for becoming a successful lineman.
Why Are Linemen Important?
Linemen are technicians who are responsible for maintaining, repairing, and installing auxiliary equipment and electric power devices. It is their job to ensure the whole electrical system is working correctly, that power is being transferred from power plants to businesses and homes. To this end, they spend a great deal of time working near overhead structures such as street lights or power lines, but might also be employed near underground vaults and trenches.
Skills Needed To Become a Lineman
It must first be emphasized that while this job pays a lot, it can also be hazardous. Not only will you be working high above the ground on utility poles, where a fall can lead to serious injury or death, but you’ll also be in close proximity to electrical equipment which contains huge volts of electricity passing through. Finally, you will sometimes need to work in adverse weather conditions such as snow, rain, hail, extreme heat, and strong wind. As you can imagine, lineman must have superb strength with no fear of heights. Additional skills include:
- An understanding of mathematics such as algebra and geometry
- An understanding of fundamental public security and safety measures
- How to trim or prune trees
- Understand the basics of building construction
- Know how to ascend poles and operate at elevated altitudes
- Knowledge of electrical systems and equipment
At a minimum, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED. Because of the job’s demanding requirements, you’ll also need to become an apprentice working under an experienced lineman. Some apprenticeships are paid and include classroom training as well as hands-on instruction. It can also be helpful to obtain an Associate’s Degree or technical certification via trade school prior to beginning the apprenticeship.
During your training, there are a number of essential skills you’ll learn. The first is how to repair or install different types of electric power equipment. Educational courses will also cover the importance of project management and how to both plan and supervise major projects. Students are also given lectures on the importance of safety procedures and always remaining in compliance with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines.
Salary and Future Outlook
There is high demand for skilled linemen and this is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future. Modern society depends heavily on electricity and electrical power systems and linemen are the guys that keep it running.
Unlike other jobs which are likely to become obsolete in the coming decades due to robotics and artificial intelligence, it is not likely that machines will replace human linemen anytime soon. This job requires substantial dexterity, strength, flexibility, and creativity which are far beyond the capabilities of any machine. Therefore, the long-term prospects for this work are outstanding and the average yearly salary is about $66,000, which is respectable given the training and education needed.