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What Does an Electrical Lineman Do?

Do you get a thrill out of living on the edge? If you do, and don’t mind heights, this is a job worth exploring. Electrical linemen install, maintain and repair electric power lines and other equipment associated with electrical distribution and transmission systems.

Electrical linemen — also called linemen, lineworkers, line installers and repairers, and power line technicians — regularly work at height and deal with high-voltage electricity, so the job is considered dangerous. Much of the work is done outdoors, in all weather conditions. Transmission lineman bring power to the pole, and they are the ones who climb 100 feet off the ground. Distribution lineman, who bring the power from the pole to the customer, usually only climb around 50 feet off the ground.

Working on evenings, nights, weekends and holidays is often necessary during emergencies.

A related job is telecommunications line installer and repairer, which involves installing and repairing telecommunications cables, such as fiber optic cables for internet and cable TV. These workers typically earn less than electrical linemen.

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$ 49,000 - $ 117,000
$ 82,000
800+
Electrical linemen work on a power line pole
Electrical linemen frequently work about 100 feet off the ground with a view you don’t get in most jobs. (Credit: Sawat Banyenngam/Shutterstock)
Job Responsibilities
  • Install equipment ranging from utility poles to power lines to crossarms, insulators, switches and switchgear
  • Test equipment, including conductors, switches, voltage regulators and transformers
  • Climb poles and transmission towers and use truck-mounted buckets to reach power lines and other equipment
  • Dig holes and set (erect) poles using construction equipment
  • Drive work vehicles to job sites
Education + Training

Becoming an electrical lineman typically takes several years and requires technical instruction, often at a community college or technical school, plus on-the-job training. An apprenticeship may provide both classroom instruction and on-the-job training.

Some community colleges offer related two-year associate degree programs; degree titles vary. One-year certificate programs in electricity and related topics are also available through schools or companies. Certain work may require a safety certification. Most employers require a basic knowledge of algebra and trigonometry.

YOU MAY BE A GOOD FIT FOR THIS POSITION IF YOU
  • Are physically fit and agile
  • Have good balance and no fear of heights
  • Pay close attention to detail
  • Like to work outdoors

Electrical Lineman Training in Your Area

Coordinates

Electric Power & Distribution, A.A.S.

Manhattan Area Technical College
Manhattan (153.6 Miles)

Electrical Powerline Technology, A.A.S.

Pratt Community College
Pratt (169.3 Miles)

Electrical Powerline Technology Certificate

Pratt Community College
Pratt (169.3 Miles)
Southwest Tennessee Community College logo

Electrical Engineering Technology, A.A.S.

Southwest Tennessee Community College
Memphis (352.4 Miles)
Southwest Tennessee Community College logo

Electrical / Electronic Fundamental

Southwest Tennessee Community College
Memphis (352.4 Miles)
Amarillo College logo

Utility Power Worker Certificate

Amarillo College
Amarillo (366.5 Miles)
Texas State Technical College logo

Electrical Lineworker Technology, A.A.S.

Texas State Technical College
Waco (384.8 Miles)
Texas State Technical College logo

Electrical Lineworker Certificate 1

Texas State Technical College
Waco (384.8 Miles)
Southeast Technical Institute logo

Telecommunications Tower Technician I Certificate

Southeast Technical Institute
Sioux Falls (451.3 Miles)
Southeast Technical Institute logo

Telecommunications Tower Technician II Certificate

Southeast Technical Institute
Sioux Falls (451.3 Miles)
Minnesota West Community and Technical College logo

Powerline Diploma

Minnesota West Community and Technical College
Worthington (451.5 Miles)
Minnesota West Community and Technical College logo

Powerline Technician Diploma

Minnesota West Community and Technical College
Worthington (451.5 Miles)

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