How to be a Lineman

How to become a lineman

What is a lineman? 

Linemen perform essential services sometimes in dangerous conditions to connect or repair electricity to homes and businesses. A lineman is a type of electrician who works for utility, telecommunications or energy companies to maintain, repair and install power lines. They can work on power lines that are strung on poles aboveground or power lines buried underground. 

What does a lineman do? 

The list of duties and responsibilities include: 

  • Drive utility vehicles to work sites
  • Climb poles to service power lines
  • Service transmission and distribution lines from power plants to buildings
  • Plan and supervise installation projects
  • Install electrical equipment for power systems
  • Repair aboveground and below-ground power lines
  • Maintain power lines through regular inspections
  • Manage apprentices and groundsmen
  • Ensure job site follows government and company safety rules

How to become a lineman.

Now that you know what a lineman is, their duties and responsibilities. The next question is, how to become a lineman. 

  • Earn a high school diploma or GED
  • Get a driver's license
  • Attend a trade school

Here are some of the skills you can learn in a trade school:

  • Equipment repair: You can learn to fix and replace damaged or aging electrical equipment.
  • Climbing: You can learn to climb poles safely.
  • Tools: A trade school can also teach you how to properly use the tools linemen use.
  • Cable splicing: A trade school can also teach you to splice cables together to form longer cables or repair existing electrical networks.
  • Reading voltages: You learn how to use tools to read voltages in electrical systems.
  • Line tension: You can learn to calculate the tension of a line before hoisting equipment to ensure a job's safety.

Begin an apprenticeship program

Once you're accepted into an apprenticeship program, you can begin working as a paid apprentice under journeyman lineman who can teach you the knowledge and skills you need to pass your apprenticeship. Here are some trade skills you can learn in a lineman apprenticeship:

  • Job safety: You can learn the government safety regulations and best practices for linemen during an apprenticeship. 
  • Line assembly: An apprenticeship can teach you how to build and install power lines and towers.
  • Pole building: You can also learn how to frame and assemble wooden poles for utility lines in an apprenticeship.
  • Maintenance: During your apprenticeship, you can learn how to properly maintain conductors, telephone lines, street lights and elements of traffic control systems, like traffic lights.
  • Installation: A journeyman lineman or master electrician can teach you to install wires and other hardware into energy, telephone, traffic control and street light systems.
  • Wire insulation: You can also learn how to insulate wires safely during a lineman apprenticeship.
  • Conductor use: During an apprenticeship, you can learn how to remain safe while using conductors.
  • Hot stick work: You can learn how to use a fiberglass hot stick to stay a safe distance away from high-distribution voltages.

Become a journeyman lineman

Once you've completed the required hours of experience in an apprenticeship, you can be eligible to become a journeyman lineman. Some states require you to get a license to become a lineman, so you can use your knowledge from your apprenticeship to obtain a license and begin working independently to repair, replace and maintain power infrastructure.

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