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How To Become A Lineman

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the lineman trade is growing. More and more people are realizing that this is a great career option. According to the Bureau of Labor and statistics the career is growing by 3% a year.

And that, in my opinion, is why you’ve made it to this blog. You, like so many, have been hearing about the lineman trade. However, you may not know where to begin or what it takes to become one. 

Well, before I tell you how to become a lineman, it’s important that you know the word apprentice. Merriam Webster’s definition of apprentice is, “one who is learning by practical experience under skilled workers a trade, art, or calling.”

You can’t become a lineman without first being trained under a lineman as an apprentice. An apprenticeship typically takes 4-5 years. During this time you’ll go through on-the-job training, and often will attend training classes as well. Each company will have their own apprenticeship program, and the requirements of one company can differ from another. What you ultimately need to know is that an apprenticeship is THE key ingredient in becoming a lineman. 

But the next question is the one that you probably want answered. How do I get in a lineman apprenticeship? 

Well, that’s going to vary based on factors like location, a company’s hiring preferences, and whether you’re going union or non-union. It’s also going to be impacted by whether you have tools and gear, a CDL, or already know how to climb poles. Now there are several paths for you to get into an apprenticeship, but let’s cover three.

One path to an apprenticeship would be the union. You can sign with the union with zero experience and get put into their apprenticeship program. You can even get opportunities before an apprenticeship to work as a groundman. However, the main issue that you’ll run into with the union is waiting. You can sign the books and have no guarantee that you’ll get either work or training within the year that you signed because when you sign, you are put on a list, and it will depend on how many people are ahead of you on that list as to how long you’ll have to wait.

Another path you’ll find is just getting hired straight on by a company without any prior training. There are some contractors who still hire off the street, but most regional power companies have significantly moved away from hiring off the street. It can happen, but just know it’s becoming rarer all the time. 

However, if you’re able to get into the industry this way, the upside is that you’ve got a job. You’ll also be getting experience in the industry. The downside of this path however is that, as you’ll probably start your career as a groundman with a contractor, you won’t come into the trade with any knowledge of line work or how to climb poles. So, unless you’re able to get put into an apprenticeship with a contractor, or hired into an apprenticeship with a different company, you may be stuck in that groundman spot for longer than you’d like to be.

The last path we’ll discuss is attending a pre-apprenticeship lineman school. Now obviously you are on a lineman school website, so you can imagine how we feel about this. 

What I’ll say though, is that lineman schools like us (Elite Lineman Training Institute) are typically going to offer an 11-15 week program. Coming away from the program, you should have a CDL, tools and gear, an ability to climb poles, and an understanding of line work basics. Now although you may not start as an apprentice right out of school, you will more than likely have many more options to get hired in some kind of line work position than the two paths mentioned above. You will also (especially if you choose Elite) have a head start of knowledge and ability, which will allow you to advance more quickly, and enter an apprenticeship sooner than you potentially would have another way. 

Now, obviously the big difference between this path and the other paths is that this one requires payment. The way we look at it is as an investment in your career and life. However, you will have to decide if that investment is worth it to you.

Okay so with all that information on the table, you now hopefully understand how people become linemen, and how you can. 

If you’ve made the decision to pursue being a lineman and want to start with the Elite Lineman Training Institute, then please either apply or request a catalog.

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