Overview of Requirements and Application process:

Years of apprenticeship and training are required to become a lineman. Some states require that journeyman linemen are certified for competence of personnel for process safety standards.

how-become-a-linemanIn order to become an apprentice, one must join an apprenticeship program (. This means taking three to five years of special classes, along with actual on the job training. The length of the apprenticeship requirements depends on the employer, but usually a longer training time is required.

After the apprenticeship is completed, the future lineman must become a member of an officially recognized journeyman associations and organizations, or in more than one. The National Association of Journeymen Linemen, the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee and the Fiber Optic Association are three of the best ones to join, and offer various classes, certification and a number of valuable resources for their members.

Every different association or organization has its own requirements. Along with the theoretical and practical training, these organizations require that a certification exam is taken in order for a certificate to be issued.

After the exam, a certificate is issued, but most recognized organizations require that the training is continued after that and that practice is being done in order for the certificate to be renewed every several years.

But before one proceeds to join an apprenticeship program, it is a good idea to determine whether they are fit for such a job. This means to carefully consider the risks, as well as the idea that many times the work is done in very unfavorable weather conditions. Also, people who have a fear of heights obviously are not suited for this job. Plus, being a lineman often means traveling and spending days away from home.

If everything seems to feel OK, the potential lineman has to apply to a recognized apprenticeship program. This requires being above the age of 18, having a school algebra grade of C or better, owning a commercial driver’s license, and others. Usually, previous experience is not required to apply for an apprenticeship.

The applicant will be asked to attend a compulsory orientation training regarding the life of linemen, and after that asked to do an interview. The interviewing committee will score the results of the interview. The higher the score, the closer to the top of the list of applicants. The approved applicants will need to pass through initial safety orientation before the actual training begins.

The apprentice will be assigned to a team of linemen for the on the field practical training – they will be the ones that will teach you how to be a lineman. The theoretical classes will include various topics, including: safety, circuits, connecting transformers, electrical theory and many more.

As the apprenticeship moves ahead the apprentice will pass through more than 7,000 hours of training, and will need to pass through a number of steps. With every step, the pay rate for the lineman work will rise.


A lineman is an electrician who installs, maintains or repairs high-power distribution and transition lines. The salary level depends on the level of experience and training. The average wage for a qualified electrical lineman is about 31.19 USD per hour, which means that a lineman can make about 64,875 USD per year.

Journeyman linemen can make an average of 99,570 USD per year. The salaries are good, but this is because of the risks involved.

What equipment and footwear will you need?

The protective equipment and footwear needed by a lineman is detailed in the OSHA 3151-12R occupational safety and Health Administration standard. The specialized safety lineman boots are an obligatory part of the equipment which is needed in order to practice the profession. Also specialized tools, such as work positioning lanyards, lineman belts, tool holsters and bags, pole climbers and other specialized climbing gear and hand tools have to be used.

Further reading:

Power Lineman Program FAQ

Pre-Apprentice Lineman explained