Find out what electronics lineworkers do and how you can become one. Read on to learn about apprenticeship and degree options for electronics line installers and repairers, as well as what you can earn out in the field.
Electronics or electrical line workers are responsible for the huge networks of cables, wires and distribution systems that provide electrical services to customers. For example, you may troubleshoot equipment, such as switches and transformers, to determine the cause of failures. You could also install, repair, inspect, maintain and test power lines that go from electric generating plants to customer sites. In addition, you may erect utility poles and towers or dig trenches to route the cables and wires.
Electrical line workers typically begin as entry-level technicians, progressing to journeyman positions in 3-5 years. Other job titles include lineman, power lineman and line worker.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for electrical power-line installers and repairers were expected to increase by 9% nationwide between 2012 and 2022. As of May 2013, the median annual salary for professionals employed in this physically demanding and occasionally hazardous job was $64,170 (www.bls.gov).
Employers typically seek people with a basic knowledge of trigonometry and algebra, as well as excellent reading and writing skills. Electrical line workers are usually required to have a high school diploma. Some firms like to hire people with technical knowledge of electronics obtained through vocational programs, the armed forces or community colleges.
Two-year courses of study may lead to an associate degree in power systems engineering technology, electricity or electrical technology. Courses offered in an Associate of Science in Electricity program include blueprint reading, commercial wiring and electrical theory. You may also study AC and DC circuits and computer-aided design in a power systems engineering technology program.
If you'd like to have some formal training before entering the field, you may apply for an electronics apprenticeship, which can provide you with the chance to combine your coursework with hands-on experience in the field. Some programs may only be available to those already working for a participating employer.
You could also choose to attend a continuing education program designed to prepare students for employment as an entry-level line worker. Expect to take courses in electrical power systems, line construction and electrical computation.