Line installers are responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing power lines throughout the country.
Whenever a line breaks or has to be upgraded or installed, a line installer will be out there doing the work. While
one person can do small jobs, the majority of projects take a team of line installers to ensure that everything goes
smoothly. While a high school diploma is typically enough for entry-level positions, most employers are demanding
higher educational requirements. If you plan on being a line installer for a long time, then getting a college education
is in your best interest because it will improve your overall income while making it easier to find an open position.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, line installers and repairers have a median income of about $58,000 a
year. This equates to about $28 an hour. Since they typically work long hours, especially if there is an emergency,
you can expect to get overtime more frequently than with other occupations. This is good for those who want more
money, but it might be difficult for those with families. The job growth for this position is about seven percent,
which is slightly slower than average. This is because most people who get this job keep it for a long time.
Training & Preparation
Many state agencies and other employers will only require a high school diploma or GED. If you want to prepare
during high school, then you should take classes in trigonometry and algebra. These disciplines will be used on
a daily basis, and it will be difficult to become a line installer if you aren’t good at math. In fact, most employers
require that applicants have a year or more of algebra. Failing to satisfy this requirement might keep you from
becoming a line installer.
The vast majority of training will occur as you are working. Not only that, but employees are expected to quickly
learn new concepts because telecommunications and power lines are always changing. If an employee can’t keep up
with new advancements, then he or she will have a hard time fulfilling his or her responsibilities.
While most of your training will occur at work, having some prior experience can significantly improve
your chances of getting a job. Apprenticeships are available, but they are typically hard to find. It’s better
to use vocational programs. If you are in or plan to join the military, then you can get technical training in
telecommunications and electronics during your service.
A high school diploma might be good enough for an entry-level position, but it’s hard to find a job without some
postsecondary education. If you don’t want to waste much time and money with school, then you’ll be happy to
know that a two-year degree is often enough to separate you from the pack. Four-year degrees might be helpful, but
they’re better for people who want to become engineers and other higher positions.
If you want to become a line installer as quickly as possible, then go to your local community college or vocational
school and enroll for a certificate. Most institutions offer a one-year certification program that focuses on
electronics, telecommunications and other relevant topics. You will work with local companies and get real
training. The level of experience that you will gain is similar to an internship program. Some people will even find
employment with these local companies.
A two-year degree is even better because it will improve your odds of quickly finding a position. These are available
at most community colleges. While there typically aren’t degrees specifically for line installers, you should be able
to find a degree in electrical utilities, telecommunications or electricity. It’s also a good idea to take classes in fiber
optics and microwave transmission because these classes will help you understand the technical side of installing
Since this position is very physically and mentally demanding, the majority of employers will make you take an
aptitude test before hiring you. The test differs based on state and employer, but most of them will ask you basic
math questions focused on algebra and trigonometry. If you fail the test, then you will be able to take it again in
several months or a year, depending on the employer’s policies.
Applicants are also expected to pass substance abuse screening. Not only is this required when you are hired, but
most employers will continue to test you and other employees at random times. If you have any medical conditions
that require consistent use of medication, then be sure to get a doctor’s note before applying and whenever you take
the medicine. Many people have been denied employment or fired for not taking the proper precautions.
Line installers are expected to possess many important qualities and skills. Since they tend to work in teams to
increase safety and efficiency, you must be a team player. You must also be able to quickly identify problems and
think of solutions. Stamina and strength are important because you will climb long ladders and stay there for hours.
You will also have to carry heavy tool and cables as you work on the lines.
One skill that you may not readily think of is good color vision. Line installers commonly work with color-coded
wires. If you have a hard time distinguishing colors and shades, such as regular blue and dark blue, then you may
want to consider another career.
Promotions are based heavily on skill and experience. When you first become a line installer, you will be considered
an apprentice. You will do menial jobs while learning from your supervisors and experienced coworkers. You will
become a journey-level worker after three to five years. Aside from taking on more tasks, you will help teach other
apprentices. Most line installers with seven to 10 years of experience become trainers and supervisors.