How to become a Lineman
Apprentice linemen assist the journeymen linemen in building and maintaining electrical power systems. The apprenticeship program at Northwest Line JATC combines supervised, structured on-the-job training with related classroom instruction to prepare you for skilled employment within the industry.
Review the steps needed to successfully apply for and complete the training for a rewarding career as a journeyman lineman.
Step 1: Determine if being a lineman is right for you.
Being a journeyman lineman isn’t for everyone. Although the job pays well and provides excellent benefits, a lineman is often asked to work outside in unfriendly weather conditions, climb high poles (if you’re afraid of heights, you can stop reading right now) and do physically and mentally demanding work. The job can also require a fair amount of travel, which can mean many nights away from home.
Step 2: Complete the Application Process
To apply for the apprenticeship program, you must meet some basic qualifications:* You must be at least 18 years old
* High school diploma or GED
* Passing grade of “C” or better in Algebra and
* Class A CDL (Commercial Drivers License)
Although you are not required to have any previous experience, any experience or training you do have may allow you to take an accelerated path in our program. Submitting your documentation along with your application will allow us to assess where to place you based on your previous work experience or vocational training.
If you are a first time applicant, create a new account under the “Services” tab; if you have applied before, use the “forgot password” feature to access you online account.
Step 3: Your Interview
Once your application is complete, you will be scheduled to attend a mandatory orientation which covers the life of an apprentice and journeyman lineman. After attending, you will be scheduled for an interview at the JATC office. You will interview with the Committee (made up of line contractors and members of the local unions) who will score you based on everything they’ve learned about your background, attitude, interests, etc.
Step 4: Interviews and the Rank List
Your scores from the interview will be averaged, and that average is used to place you on the ranking list with all previous applicants who have yet to be called into the program. So, if you score high, you’ll move right to the top of the list regardless of how long other applicants have been waiting. Applicants that interview in the next cycle will be added to the same list, in the same manner. If you are not indentured, your name will be removed from the list after two years.
Step 5: Safety Orientation and your First Dispatch
Top applicants are scheduled for Safety Orientation prior to being dispatched. Safety Orientation is required for prior to being indentured and covers a variety of topics including safety, conduct and the responsibilities of an apprentice. When a contractor needs an apprentice, they call the JATC office; if your name is at the top of the list, you’ll receive a dispatch call and given all the information needed to get started.
You are now officially an apprentice lineman. Congratulations!
Step 6: Field Training and Classroom Instruction
After orientation, you’ll be assigned to a crew of linemen so that you can gain valuable hands-on training in the field. Each Fall you will be scheduled to begin regular classroom instruction in safety, electrical theory, circuitry, transformer connections and more.
Completing the training, instruction and becoming a journeyman lineman requires that you work full time for nearly four years as an apprentice (7,000 hours). During this time, you’ll advance through seven (7) steps of the program. After completing each of these steps, your pay rate will increase, coming closer and closer to that of the journeymen linemen you’re working and training with.
In order to learn all aspects of the trade, most apprentices get to work for more than one contractor during their time in the program.