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Lineman Apprentice - A Career in the Air

Updated on June 19, 2013
Become an apprentice lineman
Become an apprentice lineman

The Lineman Apprenticeship

For those who enjoy traveling, the science of electricity, and working outdoors, then a job as a lineman apprentice may be for you. Ultimately, your apprenticeship will lead to a career as a Journeyman Lineman, and a nice living engaged in a career that you enjoy. Linemen are those unique folks who work the power lines that bring electricity to all of our homes and businesses. They are regularly the first to head out into a storm, and they are often heroes to those who have lost power. Of course, the job isn’t all about storm chasing. Linemen are responsible for the maintenance and installation of the lines that form the power grid.

The Lineman Journey Begins

Like many professions, a career path toward becoming a Journey Lineman begins with an apprenticeship. As an apprentice your job will mainly include assistance to Journeymen Lineman in simple tasks related to the construction, service, and maintenance of transmission and distribution lines. As you gain experience and your technical abilities improve, you will begin to take on additional responsibilities related to all phases of line work. It will be your job and responsibility to follow all safety regulations and insure that your fellow workers are safe from all hazards within your control. Additionally, there are several technical and non-technical training requirements that you must complete.

Beyond the training, you will need to be able to handle yourself physically, and as a Lineman, you will need to be very comfortable with heights. It is not uncommon for Journey Lineman to scale heights greater than 500 feet. That said, for those with the nerve, it is a career that offers nice pay and a sense of satisfaction.

What does it pay?

As a Lineman apprentice, you should expect to earn between $30,000 (usd) and $60,000 (usd) depending on where you are in your apprenticeship training. Once you become a full blown Journey Lineman, starting salaries are generally between $60,000 (usd) and $70,000 (usd). Additional qualifications for the job include a minimum of a high school education (or equivalent) and some experience with electricity is a plus. Finally, you will be required to pass a standardized test which is required of all Journey Lineman.

The AIR Test

This test, known as the AIR Test, is used for Lineman Apprentices, Groundman Trainees, and Electrician Apprentices. The test concentrates on Algebra, reading comprehension, and applied mathematics. While a diligent apprentice should expect to perform well on the test, it would be a good idea to prepare well in advance and practice these three areas extensively before you actually sit for the exam.

If you are thinking of a career that pays well and allows you to get outside, you would do well to think about an apprenticeship as a Lineman. Solid pay, comradery, and some adventure await those who are physically and mentally strong enough to take on this career. If this describes you, take a look at starting as a Lineman apprentice and begin working toward this satisfying career.


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    • T. R. Brown profile image

      T. R. Brown 5 years ago from Nashville, TN


      Thanks very much! It is pretty impressive work. I am not really scared of heights, but I am not sure I could ever get as comfortable as these guys seem to be.

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      This was a fascinating read -- hope others track this one down. Very interesting profession. Voting up.