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An electrical lineman – also known as a power line worker – is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. There were nine reported lineman fatalities in the United States in 2021, mostly from electrocution. The hours are long and laborious, but the compensation makes it all worthwhile. If you’re looking for a fresh start in a new career, here’s how to become a lineman.
What is a Lineman?
First, you might be wondering: what is a lineman? To be clear, this occupation is not sports-related. It doesn’t involve any 320-pound football players or soccer referees. This job requires you to install and repair the electrical lines that power our towns and communities.
This is the full list of the average lineman’s job duties:
- Install, maintain and repair power lines.
- Inspect and test power lines.
- Identify defective devices on power lines, such as voltage regulators, transformers and switches.
- Connect power lines between poles, buildings and towers – sometimes in remote areas.
- Climb poles and transmission towers
- Ride truck-mounted buckets to reach greater heights.
- Operate power equipment when making installations and repairs.
Linemen play a crucial role in providing our neighbors with refrigeration, heat, A/C and all the other luxuries that require electricity. Due to the job’s high-risk nature, lineman make anywhere from $79,000 to $97,000 per year.
Must-Have Talents and Qualifications
As with other manual labor jobs, you don’t need many qualifications to get hired. A few linemen might have degrees in electrical engineering, but most of them only have high school diplomas or GEDs. These are the traits and talents you must possess to become a lineman:
- Physical fitness: linemen must be physically fit to do their jobs. They have to climb, haul heavy equipment, handle thick wiring and work long hours. Fatigue directly affects your performance and can lead to injury or death. This is why the lineman workforce consists almost entirely of able-bodied men.
- Strong work ethic: linemen don’t have the traditional 9-5 work schedules. They’re on-call for most of the year, which means they often work upwards of 60 hours per week. They work early in the morning, late at night and everywhere in between. You must have a strong work ethic to last in this profession.
- Hands-on learning style: as we mentioned, there’s no real education to become a lineman. You learn almost everything on the job through personal experience. If you have a visual learning style, this job isn’t for you. You must be a hands-on learner who shows patience in the face of adversity.
- Comfortable taking risks: linemen put their lives on the line every day. They climb to great heights, deal with high-voltage utilities, operate heavy machinery and work in all kinds of inclement weather. You must be comfortable taking these risks on a regular basis. Some linemen are even first responders. This job isn’t for the faint of heart.
- Long-term aspirations: most manual labor jobs have high turnover rates, but linemen are exceptions. Their jobs require such a unique skill set that companies are willing to pay more to hold onto the most experienced employees – hence the $20,000 fluctuation in pay. You need to have long-term aspirations in this business to make a real difference.
You don’t have to be a genius to become a lineman, but you do need thick skin and a can-do attitude. This industry hasn’t been immune to the Great Resignation, so there’s a good chance an electrical company in your area is looking to hire new linemen. If you’re ready to take a leap of faith and start a new career, you have a great opportunity in front of you
Get a Fresh Start as a Lineman
If your current job or career isn’t giving you the salary and satisfaction you deserve, consider becoming a lineman. The work is undeniably challenging, but the compensation and benefits are great and the experiences will make you a stronger person. So what are you waiting for? Fill out that application and kickstart your new career!