The Life of a Lineman

Linemen are the folk who work to bring us power and electricity. If you’ve had a power line go down, or have seen one being added in, the guy climbing the pole or in the bucket is a lineman. When the weather picks up, their job is just starting to make sure we have access to power.

Their work is physically and mentally demanding. Here’s a look at the life of a lineman.

What it’s like on the job

Before someone can become a lineman, they must go through a rigorous training process.

They get trained on safety practices such as getting a coworker out of a troubling situation at the top of the pole, how to properly use their equipment, how to climb the poles, and more. After that, training is continuous, both through programs and coworkers while on the job.

Some training methods involve training over the course of a few years—an apprentice program might entitle training for a week every few months over the course of a few years to teach and keep linemen on top of safety methods and industry advancements.

Some linemen start on the job, learning from the ground and then hands-on from the people they work with every day.

Once they are trained and on the job, a lineman is often on call and can end up traveling across the country to a location in need.

When they aren’t on call, they sometimes do preventative work and patrol for any potential outage issues that they can work to avoid.

SEC in Virginia offers a program to high schools called Day in the Life of a Lineman. With this program, they teach about the field and offer it up as a career path for after school.

Safety on the job and in the gear

The field has grown a great deal since it began, especially when it comes to the equipment used and technology implemented. In the beginning, everything was done by hand.

Today’s equipment includes hard hats, rubber gloves and sleeves, face shields, glasses, safety boots, and more, all of which undergoes regular safety checks.

Linemen can make over $95,000 a year once they finish their training and start working in the field. And their work is tough—they can get called in the middle of the night or while they’re on vacation. However, so many of them find their job so rewarding. They’re out there helping people, and the joy they see in the people they help makes everything worth it.

It’s not all work—there are games, too! Linemen compete in Lineman’s rodeo events. In these events, they compete based on traditional linemen tasks. It started in 1984 with the goal of providing a place that helped maintain a focus on safety on the job as well as a place for the public to better understand the work of a lineman. At these events, linemen are recognized and celebrated for their skills and hard work.

Think this is the job for you? Consider programs in your area that offer training to get started on a rewarding career!