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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    North Central FL

    Question How/Where do I start in getting into Linework?

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    Since no one has started one, I will. So guys, list your suggestions in this thread for the guy/gal wanting to go into linework.

    EDIT: This is an old thread, but there are some great suggestions and advice on how to get started. I'm making it a sticky for all new apprentices or anyone that is interested in this trade can read.
    Last edited by LostArt; 08-13-2007 at 09:32 PM. Reason: Updating and making a sticky

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Houston, twenty yrs at HL&P then 3 yrs on the road.


    Ummm get with Gracie at ... I think she by now is an expert at this subject...
    2Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial matters? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 1Corinthians 6

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Pure Michigan

    Thumbs up Thanks for the start LostArt.

    A good way to get in is through the IBEW. You can go to your local union hall and try to apply for they apprentice program, or if they aren't accepting apprentices at that time you can sign the books at the local hall as a groundman. This isn't a bad thing either because when you are an apprentice you are pretty much just a groundman that is allowed to climb a pole or ride in a bucket once in a blue moon. Also, if you put in your time as a groundman and then apply for the apprentice program then you will be given extra consideration and probably credit towards a promotion.

  4. #4
    riverhog14 Guest

    Cool Linework

    Im not a lineman but have done alot of research getting into this trade. The quickest way is with a contractor. See some contractors workin, pull up, ask them if there hirin' grunts. I talked with some contractors yesterday just about the trade and how Im planning on getting involved. First off is obviously graduate from high school with good grades. Then attend a community college for two years working on my Assosiates, and taking classes in electrical distribution of electrical theory. In the last month or so of college, Im going to go get my CDL learners permit, and then after done with college apply with Progress Energy as an apprentice lineman if there is an opening, or as a plant laborer at a plant nearby to my home. Progress offers job openings to the inside first, and give you 2 weeks to take the job. The employee who has been working the longest has seniority and gets the job. So after a few months of working in the plant, maybe there will be an opening for a lineman apprentice. Then go through there 6 year apprenticeship program, and and Im a lineman! This is how I want to get in, other ways include of coure the IBEW. With them you go to your local hall ( ) and just ask to talk with someone about getting in the trade. How that works is you sign onto their books, and when there is an opening you get the phone call to go to work! They reposition you wherever apprentices are needed so youll have to do some traveling in those 4 years. There are 7 steps. They'll send you to some kind of a training school after a year I believe (at least where Im from). This is probably the best all around training you can get, rather than a utilities apprenticeship where they train you on there system only. Thats all I have to say for now!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Austin Texas


    Linemen climb to the top of their class
    The Associated Press

    SPOKANE, Wash. ó No matter how strong their desire, some students donít realize theyíre not cut out to be linemen until theyíre standing on two metal spikes high up on a utility pole.

    This semester at Avista Utilitiesí Jack Stewart Lineman School, four students dropped out of the course too far along for any of the 14 people on the waiting list to get in.
    Thatís too bad, because the industry needs them.

    A nationwide shortage of linemen has been building for years, and the situationís no different in the Inland Northwest. As legions of aging utility workers edge closer to retirement, the construction industry continues to boom, boosting demand for power line installation. Making matters worse, a number of utilities discontinued apprentice programs in years of corporate downsizing, meaning fewer workers are proceeding through the ranks.

    "There will continue to be a shortage until we can get people pumped through," said Don Guillot, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 77, which represents linemen in Washington and the Idaho Panhandle. "We do have a problem, but we are trying to address it."

    Partially behind the backlog is the amount of time lineman training takes. Students who complete a four-month course like Jack Stewart and go to work for a utility are just beginning. They must work another four years to attain journeyman status and years more to gain the institutional knowledge currently flowing out of utilities with the retirement exodus.

    Mike Hanson, training administrator for Avistaís linemen, said the company has been aware of the pending problem for years.

    The company has an active apprentice program and the Jack Stewart Lineman School was created in 1993 to address the pending shortage. Inland Power and Light, which recently has been hiring several linemen per year, will begin reaching out to local high school students this spring, hoping to attract more people to the trade, said Marketing Manager Dan Villalobos. Guillot said the IBEW is increasing recruitment of apprentices at high schools and job fairs and is trying to encourage utilities to expand apprentice programs.

    Being a lineman is lucrative for those with the fortitude to scale a pole 55 feet high and handle power lines. Graduates fresh out of the training programs are labeled ground men and usually stand to earn $11 an hour in this region. However, within a couple of years, if all goes well, workers earn apprentice ranking and watch their pay rise to $20 an hour. After a couple more years, they can achieve journeyman status and get another $10-an-hour boost.

    Thatís more than $62,000 a year, not including overtime.

    Jeremy Lundberg, 33, landed a spot in the current class at Jack Stewart, drawn by the promise of future earnings. At his former job at a paper mill, he said, he would have topped out at $30 an hour after many years of work. The Spokane man sees the promise of that wage within four years as a lineman, and more after that.

    "It would have taken me a long time to see top dollar," Lundberg said of his last job.
    His brother-in-law is a lineman for Inland Power, and Lundberg thought it sounded like good work. The married man with two young children said heís prepared to go anywhere for a job.

    Lundbergís willingness to move virtually guarantees him a job. Job placement from Jack Stewart is 80 percent but rises to 100 percent if graduates are willing to relocate, Hanson said. California, Utah, Colorado, Montana and southern Idaho will collectively need close to 400 linemen a year for the next five years due to construction alone, he said. And some of the other states offer much higher wages, though theyíre frequently accompanied by a higher cost of living.

    "Some places are offering six months of wages as a signing bonus," Hanson said.
    Upfront costs for lineman training are fairly steep. Jack Stewart holds two four-month sessions each year that cost $5,700 for in-state students and $6,500 for out-of-state. Linemen also are required to buy their own gear, which runs another $850 or so.
    But the jobs appear to be constantly in demand. Though linemen say winter is the slow season, the February issue of the Northwest Public Power Associationís trade magazine, Bulletin, has nine lineman job openings, mostly in Washington. Avista hired nine of the students from the last Jack Stewart session, but students are not guaranteed local positions.

    Paying to attend a training program shows potential employers how serious a student is, Villalobos said. An Avista spokeswoman said itís fairly rare for the company to hire someone who hasnít attended a training program.

    After hiring program graduates, utilities continue to spend thousands of dollars each year training their linemen until they become journeymen. Hanson said Avista spends $70,000 per year training its apprentices. When the students first go to work for a utility, they initially need to be under someoneís supervision all the time, said lead line instructor Bill Magers. For that reason, the power lines students practice on at the school are not energized.

    "You gotta have what it takes before we get to the electricity part of it," he said.
    The Jack Stewart school was named for a former Avista lineman known for mentoring his younger colleagues. Students must be 18 to register and though most are men, four women have graduated from the program since it began.

    Safety is a top concern and the class size is capped at 26 to keep the student-to-instructor ratio low. The instructors donít gloss over the potential dangers of the job. On the classroom wall hangs a memorial photograph of a former student who died while stringing power lines for a helicopter company.

    The program is intense, meeting eight hours a day, five days a week. Half is spent in the classroom; half outside on the training grounds, climbing poles, tying knots and rigging gear. Two sessions are offered per year: January through April and June through October. Thereís more room, generally, in the summer session, instructors said. In four months, the students earn 49 college credits through Spokane Community College, which joined with Avista to create the program.
    "When you take 10 to 18 credits, thatís a heavy load," said Linda Poage, who manages SCCís apprentice division.

    The school also trains students for other possible careers, perhaps with cable or phone companies or in other trade positions at power companies, said Magers. He and the other instructor, Dave Valandra, have worked to make the program more compatible with other utility companiesí needs and more applicable to other career fields.

    "All the other bargaining unit jobs (at Avista) require what we teach here," said Valandra, who recently retired from 33 years as a lineman for Avista. The course includes instruction on flagging, CPR and forklift operations, among other skills.
    But for some, it doesnít seem like work at all.

    Jake Booth is 20, from Davenport, Wash., and is so excited to be in the program, he says over and over how "awesome" it is. An adrenaline junkie who rides motorcycles and snowmobiles, Booth said heís wanted to be a lineman since he was little. He went to college for two years, but hated it. He likes the lineman school because itís more hands-on.

    "The first day youíre out climbing," Booth said. "They put you right out there and let you start doing it."

    Valandra, however, cautions the students against thinking the work is all about being outside and working with their hands.

    "Itís not just climbing poles," said Valandra, 57. "Thatís not what we do for a living. We work electricity. Climbing the poles is one way to get to the work."

    Eligible to retire at anytime Ė when it quits being fun Iím gone

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Austin Texas


    The process will depend on if you are going to be a powerline contractor or work for a publicly owned municipality or co-op. I work for a municipality. I hired in with the assignment of clearing the right of way for a small town Power System. after a year I was offered the opportunity to enter the apprenticeship. I was considered a groundman for the first 6 months. My responsibilities as a groundman included stocking the truck with materials that were used each day, load the truck for the days work, and watch and learn from the linemen I was working with. I would prepare materials on the ground for the linemen to use on the pole. The prime objective of a groundman is to learn what the lineman is going to need and have it ready to hang before he needs it. You also have to learn what all the materials are called and where they go on the truck, as you are responsible for them all being replaced at the end of the day

    The six month groundman period is followed by the 1st step apprentice. This is where you usually attend a climbing school to learn to climb utility poles, or find out if you can learn to climb. The 1st step apprentice is allowed to climb utility poles where there are no energized powerlines. As a 1st step apprentice you are expected to do a considerable amount of the groundman work as well. You will still be learning material names and what the materials are used for in this step. From this point on each step should last one year depending on your abilities and motivation. You will have to have approval from your immediate supervisor as well as your general foreman to move on to each new level. The 2nd step linemans apprentice is allowed to climb utility poles with low voltage on the pole, but is not allowed to handle any voltage at this point. This step consists of running electical services to new houses or hanging security lights, only working on wires that are dead, or have no electricity passing through them. The 3rd step linemans apprentice consists of more responsibility, as you are allowed to work secondary voltage from the pole. This means you can handle wires with low voltage running through them, with the use of rubber gloves. This step also lets you start learning about power transformer connections and building power transformer banks (tying 2 or more transformers together). The 4th step linemans apprentice is the step where most apprentices get to ease off the climbing and start working out of a bucket truck. This step also brings considerably more responsibility, as you will start handling high voltage wires with the use of rubber gloves. This brings greater risk of injury or death to you as well as others working near you. You will learn here how to set up the bucket truck to help you do your job efficiently and make it easier on you. In essence, after you accomplish these steps you have completed a 4 year degree to be a journeyman lineman. You will learn new things as long as you work in the power industry. You will never know everything about linework, but with hard work and motivation you will have become someone who can be very proud of their accomplishments. You will also have a career that not just everyone can do. Find out more information about being an Electrical Lineman and locate a Lineman School on
    Copied this from (another good lineman site)

    Eligible to retire at anytime Ė when it quits being fun Iím gone

  7. #7


    first off what state r u from? The process is different depending on the utility. Forget contractors they are not safe at all. u want to learn the right way. Besides I'm union and I'm not to happy when I see contractors. won't work with them at all. I'm from New Jersey and u can apply for an apprenticeship over the companies web site. They are alway hiring at least a couple of times a year.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    up a creek in the N.W.; Washington state

    Default advice...OUTSIDE LINEMAN...go to link you the leads that a MOTIVATED person needs. Don't ask any questions until you've done these two simple things. Seems like lately some people want others to provide answers that the previous party isn't or un-willing to do for themselves! Wanna-bees...MOTIVATE YOURSELEVES...whatever you choose to do in your life! Want it?...Do what it takes to achieve it!woody P.S. don't come here selling you're silly ass b.s. about not wanting to travel...or I'm not known where I'm at...aka not related b.s. ...cut the cord...until you do something that's what you are! YOUR NOTHING IN OUR EYES UNTIL YOU SHOW US OTHERWISE! Nothing...wannabee...apps...shit...Hope I helped some the right path.

  9. #9
    Lizzy Borden Guest

    Default Confused

    We have a college guy right now. Going to the lineschool through college route.

    School is off for now. He is working in the lineshop toward his course on the job training part.

    They had him cleaning lockers....some had not been emptied for 13 years.

    Then I saw him a few days later watching a portable DVD player he brought to work. They had nothing for him to do.

    He wants to work................what is wrong with this system. Wonder what he is going to tell his instructor.

    He has gone out with the digger truck.

  10. #10
    ColdFusion Guest

    Default Contractors unsafe...not true!!

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    i'm a second generation line man and have been in the trade for 16 years we do work in northern alberta canada..where it reaches -40..ever been up a pole at -40...brrrrrr..anyway about the contractors not being safe ..safty is important to everyone not just the bigger companies...when some one gets hurt our rates go up and the smaller companies cant afford the high rates so saftey is a huge concern, so i dont know where this guy gets off saying that contractors are unsafe ..its the easiest way to get into the trade...we have just recently apprenticed 4 guys, 2 first year apprentices and we just had 2 graduate there 4th year and now are classed as journey men i think some needs to refrain from saying stuff that they know nothing about...
    Last edited by ColdFusion; 01-29-2006 at 06:11 PM.

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