Also known as line repairers, line installers, or line workers, electrical linemen work with electrical wiring systems that provide homes, businesses, and other structures with electricity, internet, telephone and cable television service. Because of the complex networks that connect power lines, fiber optic cables, and other conduits, electrical line workers must have a broad understanding of the systems and networks they repair or install.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical “Line Installers and Repairers” often begin their careers with on-the-job training. Novice electrical linemen work alongside more experienced linemen, learning about electronics, electrical systems, fiber optics, networking systems, and microwave transmissions. In some cases, they may obtain more formal training by completing certification programs at vocational schools or community colleges. Some even complete two-year associate’s degrees in electronics or electrical engineering. Apprenticeships last around four to five years and feature a mix of hands-on training with classroom-centered instruction.
Line workers have unusually dangerous jobs. Not only do they risk electrocution from the power cables and lines they must handle, they sometimes must perform their jobs in hazardous weather conditions, which can substantially increase the risk factor. For this reason, in addition to all the training in electrical systems and installation and repair procedures, line workers also must receive extensive training in proper safety protocol and procedures. Summed up neatly by the BLS, “[S]afety regulations strictly define the training and educational requirements for apprentice electrical line installers.” No additional licensing or certification is needed, but line workers must receive safety training during their apprenticeship or other training.
Line workers should be physically fit, with good stamina, and a willingness to be physically involved with their jobs. Installing lines and cables can take place in deep trenches or many feet above the ground. Line workers must also be comfortable using complex technology and willing to learn new technologies and add new techniques to their professional repertoire, to keep up with the inevitable advances in both technology and telecommunications science.