Electric Power Transmission Installation

Electrical line workers keep our homes and businesses humming with electricity and restore our power after storms or disasters. Read on to learn more about formal and on-the-job training options and earnings before deciding if electric power transmission installation is the right career for you.

Is Electric Power Transmission Installation for Me?

Career Overview

Electrical power transmission workers, commonly called linemen or electrical line workers, install, fix and maintain the systems that carry electricity from power plants to homes and commercial buildings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job of an electrical power line worker is often hazardous due, to the dangers of working with high-voltage electricity. If you pursue this line of work, you may have to be available on short notice during adverse weather, fixing power outages caused by storms, disasters or accidents. In this position, your duties can include stringing the electrical lines between poles or buildings, testing lines and equipment and replacing them when faulty.

Career Options

Most electrical line workers are employed by the electric power industry, utilities and local governments. You could also work for a local utility company, maintaining less powerful distribution lines and equipment, traffic signals and street lamps. As an installer, you might work with a team that travels long distances to maintain the regional power grid. Upon graduating from an apprenticeship or formal education program, you may qualify for a job as a line worker or inspector, cable splicer, meter tester or power substation maintenance technician.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the BLS in May 2013, there were roughly 111,350 electric power transmission installers and repairers working in the United States. Nationwide, employment opportunities for line installers and repairers were expected to increase 7% between 2012 and 2022, which is slower than average. Most electric power line installers and repairers earned between $36,370 and $91,150 in May 2013, as reported by the BLS (www.bls.gov).

How Do I Work in Electric Power Transmission Installation?

Educational Requirements

You'll typically need a high school diploma or GED to get hired for an entry-level job as an electric power transmission installer. You can expect on-the-job training lasting as many as five years once you're hired. Many line workers gain the necessary skills and instruction through apprenticeship programs under the auspices of their employer and a labor union. You could also earn an associate degree or certificate by completing an electric power transmission installation program at a community college or technical school.

Certificate and Associate Degree Programs

In a certificate or an associate degree program, you'll find out how to install the electrical systems that provide power for commercial, industrial and residential buildings. You might study electricity fundamentals, national safety regulations and equipment use. You could also learn how to interpret blueprints and schematic diagrams, install transformers and regulate volts. Some programs provide hands-on experience installing equipment and erecting poles at outdoor facilities or require courses in math and physics.

Required Knowledge and Skills

As an electrical power transmission installer, you'll need to be comfortable with heights, especially when climbing poles and electrical towers or ascending in a bucket attached to a truck. Physical endurance is essential, as well as the ability to follow safety protocols and use power equipment. An understanding of algebra, trigonometry and electricity, along with critical reading skills, can also help you stand out in the job market.

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