What to Know About Being an Electrical Lineman
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- The top 10% of electrical power line technicians earn more than $108,380.
- Electrical linemen must earn a high school diploma or GED certificate.
- There were 115,000 electrical line installers and repairers in 2020.
- Some 23,000 positions will open each year for the next decade.
Electrical linemen perform challenging yet important jobs that pay well and do not require a college education. These professionals are also called electrical lineworkers, electrical line installers and repairers, and electrical power line technicians. Due to our shift toward conscious language, the rest of this article will refer to these professionals using these terms.
In May 2020, electrical line installers and repairers earned a median annual salary of $75,030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those with more experience can make up to six figures.
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The BLS projects jobs for electrical power line technicians will grow at a slower rate than the average across all occupations over the next ten years. However, the increasing population will create more work opportunities for electrical power line technicians. Employers need trained electrical line installers and repairers who understand the safety protocols required to work with high voltage.
Find out how you can get started as an electrical line installer or technician, including the training requirements, career prospects, and job duties.
What Does an Electrical Lineman Do?
Electrical installers and repairers perform maintenance on power lines, sometimes in hazardous conditions. When storms, blizzards, or other natural disasters damage the power lines, electrical power line technicians restore electricity. These emergency repairs usually require climbing poles, towers, or using a truck-mounted bucket.
Working with high voltages poses a danger for electrical line installers and repairers, who need training to avoid shocks and burns. They mainly gain training through apprenticeships that last as long as four years, but some may also go to vocational school. Electrical power line technicians have many responsibilities, such as:
- Working in dangerous circumstances and often at great heights
- Repairing power lines in inclement weather and during outages
- Installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical power lines
- Inspecting and testing other equipment, such as conductors, voltage regulators, and switches
- Climbing poles and transmission towers or using truck-mounted buckets
- Stringing power lines between poles
- Erecting new poles into place
What Is an Electrical Lineman's Career Outlook?
The BLS projects positions for electrical line installers and repairers will grow 1% between 2020 and 2030. However, employers will add about 23,300 positions every year during that time to replace workers who leave their jobs or retire.
There were about 240,300 line installers and repairers employed in the United States in May 2020. According to the BLS, jobs for telecommunications line installers and repairers are projected to decline by 1% between 2020 and2030.
What Is an Electrical Lineman's Salary Potential?
Electrical line installers and repairers' salaries generally increase with experience. According to the BLS, the bottom 10% of electrical line installers and repairers made less than $39,090 annually in May 2020, while the top 10% earned more than $108,380.
Where an electrical power line technician works also determines their salary. These professionals can find jobs in electrical power generation, power and community line construction, logical government, and as electrical contractors. The BLS reports electrical power line technicians working in electric power generation, transmission, and distribution make the most, with a median annual wage of $81,930 in May 2020.
Frequently Asked Questions About an Electrical Lineman's Career
Is being an electrical installer and repairer a good career?
If you do not have a college education, only a high school diploma or GED certificate, you can become an electrical line installer and repairer with job training alone. Despite slower than average job growth, this career path offers a decent salary and the chance to advance from apprentice to electrical power line technician, supervisor, or plant manager.
How long does it take to become an electrical power line technician?
It can take up to four years of on-the-job training as an apprentice to learn the electrical power line technician trade. States require about 7,000 hours of work training. Line technician school takes about 18 weeks on average to complete.
What are the requirements to become an electrical power line technician?
A high school diploma or GED certificate is the primary educational prerequisite needed to become an electrical power line technician. Electrical line installers and repairers must be 18 years old to secure apprenticeships, pass a drug screening, and have experience in algebra. Most electrical power line technicians have about four years of apprenticeship experience through companies and organizations such as the Electrical Training ALLIANCE. Those with college or vocational training in telecommunications electronics or electricity may have an advantage in securing apprenticeships.