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Lineman Apprenticeship Programs vs Lineman School

Updated: Jan 27

What is the best path to start a lineman career in 2022?

Maybe its our memories of being scolded by our third grade teachers but a not-so-wonderful feeling can come to mind when you think of the word school. An experienced journeyman lineman is one the of the most fulfilling career paths one can imagine, in addition to a top tier paying job. The road to becoming a journeyman lineman from many individuals often starts in different ways.

A lineman is a professional electrician with specific training and skills to maintain as well as install electrical power lines on transmission towers. In 2020, lineman on average can make upwards of $75,000 a year with many opportunities to make much higher based on specific location and types of projects.

A line apprenticeship or power distribution apprenticeship is a long-term training program run by a professional organization. These professional organizations often include local utility districts or joint programs between a local community college and private electric or power company.

It is designed to teach you everything you need to know to be a professional electrician, and it includes a certain number of hours of on-the-job training. On-the-job training is often referred to as "OJT". In addition to OJT there will be a certain number of hours of classroom instruction. As you explore different lineman programs across the country you will notice that the details are different in certain areas. Many lineman apprenticeship programs across the country take four to five years to complete.

A specialized lineman school can accelerate the process of lineman career development. Many lineman school programs offer educational packages that instruct on electricity, fiber optics, and microwave transmission. They often will include specific certifications that students will receive within the program such as a metering certification, CPR certification, first-aid certification and an OSHA construction safety health card.

The starting point for both these paths, most programs (although there is some variance across the country) will likely be the same requirements to start a lineman career:

· 18 years of age

· A valid drivers license

· High school diploma or GED

After these similarities there begins to be more differences between attending a lineman school and jumping straight into an apprenticeship.

What is the difference between lineman apprenticeship programs vs lineman school financially?

As you contact various apprenticeship programs in your search you will likely hear the phrase “earn while you learn”. This phrase means that you will be paid for the work (although significantly less than a licensed lineman) during your apprenticeship.

lineman training to climb
Lineman training climbing

Many lineman school programs as well as community colleges that offer lineman training programs offer scholarships that can help off set the cost of this more formal education. As someone entering this career path it is important to do your due-diligence financially on what would be the break down of costs as well as what is the expected return via the starting wages for a programs graduates or the average starting wage of an apprentice. Something that lineman apprentices often forget about is the cost of the tools of the trade.