Linemen (and women) are responsible for keeping your power on. Linemen lay new power lines, ensure existing power lines work well and make repairs when necessary. It’s an important job and one that compensates fairly well for the potential hazards workers can encounter.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median annual income for linemen was $69,000 in 2017, with the top 10% earning more than $99,000. Not bad. But how can you become a lineman? Have you for what it takes to study at Northwest Lineman College?
What’s the Difference Between a Wireman and a Lineman?
Within the electrical power industry, there are a number of highly specialized roles. At the earliest stages of your training, you’ll need to think about what role suits you best. It may sound like a matter of semantics but the difference between a wireman and a lineman is huge.
Any person involved in electrical work who operates indoors is a wireman. Think homes or businesses. By contrast, any person working on power transmission lines outdoors is a lineman. Working outside means being responsible for the network of transmission lines that send electricity from its source to its final destination, including homes, factories, hospitals, basically anywhere that uses electricity! Either way you need to the get the correct safety gear including the correct work boots for climbing poles. Tough work clothes and tool belts are worn too.
Linemen may also work on telecommunication lines. Working on power lines outdoors involves a number of hazards. Linemen may work high in the air, repairing high voltage lines or deep beneath the ground, maintaining hidden wiring vaults. As a result, this job is very physically demanding. To be a good lineman you must have a solid understanding of safety protocol, a high level of concentration and thorough knowledge of the workings of the power industry.
Do You Need to Study to be a Lineman?
You will gain all of the skills and knowledge you need to become a lineman at a vocational technical college. Some job sites advise that a high school degree and an apprenticeship are sufficient to start your career as a lineman. However, lineman apprenticeships and the jobs that follow them are in short supply.
Being a lineman is a sought-after position and the competition for apprenticeships is fierce. To guarantee you stand out to potential recruiters, complete a course at a specialized vocational college like Northwest Lineman.
What Does Northwest Lineman College Offer?
Northwest Lineman College is one of the power industry’s most trusted technical colleges. Established in 1993, NLC offers two focussed training programs that set you firmly on your way to becoming a lineman.
The Telecommunications Lineworker Program
This program is fairly new, established when Fortune 500 company, Quanta Services acquired the college in 2018. The program costs $8,900 for an intensive 7-week program.
The Electrical Lineworker Program
This program has been operating for decades. For a fee of $17,450, you can take part in an intensive 15-week program that will set you up for an exciting career as a linesman.
Several graduates of this training course went on to paid positions with Quanta weeks after finishing their course. NCL aims to help its students to access opportunities within the lineman industry as soon as they complete their course and offers career-planning advice and resources to all students. Before you get to that stage, NCL also helps you find housing near one of their campuses and financial assistance when required. NCL operates in Edgewater, Florida; Meridian, Idaho; Denton, Texas, and Oroville, Texas.
Being a lineman is a challenging and rewarding job. Fulfilling an important public service, linemen work hard to ensure that everyone has access to the power they need when they need it.