Lineman Schools & Becoming a Lineman
So, your husband/significant other wants to be a Lineman. First off, he will need his CDL. He can apply for the permit at the local DMV and study the handbook for the written exam. He will not need it to apply for some schools or apprenticeships, but it will absolutely help his case if he has it or is in the process of getting it.
There are many ways for your spouse to go about his journey to become a Lineman. He can choose to go to a Lineman School, Local Co-op’s apprentice, or through the union apprenticeship. Most Co-ops pay for you to go through their schools while you are working. Lineman Schools require you to pay out of pocket the entire fee. If you choose to go with the Union Apprenticeship your school costs will be covered, and you will be working almost right away making money. The only fees associated with the Union Apprenticeship is your books. Lastly you will have to spend your own money on your own tools and climbing equipment no matter what choice you choose.
If your Lineman is looking to mostly be based around home, except for leaving for storm, he might investigate local Co-ops or power companies. Most of these companies have their own on the job training or apprenticeship programs. Even though being at home every night sounds great, it does still mean he will likely still miss a lot of family events and plans because he is out on call. Retirement and medical benefits will vary from employer to employer. Call and ask questions to see what your best option would be.
So, you are thinking Lineman School is the answer for you. Know that you will be paying for this out of your own pocket. It can be upwards of $10,000. Not only that, you most likely will have to also go through an apprenticeship no matter where you choose to be employed. Could it give your Lineman a “leg up?” Absolutely. However, most companies will want you to be trained on their procedures and not a school’s procedure. Please do not misunderstand me, any knowledge getting into Linework is an advantage. This will also mean he could be gone for a few weeks at a time for school. He will be able to find work as a nonunion contractor, work for a local power company or even apply to the Union. Please be advised this still mostly likely means he has to go through any of these options’ apprenticeship as well. It is up to you and your spouse to decide if spending the money will be worth the cost in the long run. Most companies are willing to train for free.
Choosing to be a Union Lineman you will need your CDL, and to apply at your local union apprenticeship. You can contact your local union (information listed below) for more information. Once accepted, during the apprenticeship your spouse will be sent to jobs all over your region. As soon as your spouse is working, he will bank hours for health insurance and start building a retirement balance. The health benefits are amazing, and some locals have a benefit card you can use for medical procedures, doctors’ visits, and even prescriptions. Retirement will be based off what local he works out of. Each local has a different rate that is applied to his retirement. He will learn on the job knowledge from other skilled Journeyman Linemen. The schools work to keep you as close to home as possible. However, sometimes there is not a job that is close, and your Apprentice will have to travel for work. He will be sent to climbing school to learn how to climb and many other skills. Classes are held once a month on a weekend to test them on the book material.
There are seven steps in the apprenticeship. Advancing to each step comes with a raise. Depending on the region your Apprentice will also get a daily per-diem as well. He will need to purchase his own books as well as his own tools for work. No apprenticeship is easy. Your Apprentice must have the grit to push through. The Lineman Apprenticeship can last up to four years before advancing to Journeyman Lineman. Once he completes all the steps and passes the Journeyman Lineman written test, he can travel wherever he wants to go to learn more about the different grids and systems to work on. His ticket will take him anywhere he wants to work.
He will travel a lot during his apprenticeship. Just remember it is temporary and he is doing what he loves and providing for his family. During his training there will be hard times, but it will be so worth it in the end. Support him as much as possible. It is an adjustment for you both.
There are many options to choose from. The choice is yours and yours alone. Having doubts about which to choose? Sit down and do a Pro vs. Con list. Call the union hall and ask questions. Call a local Co-op Lineman. Don’t know any? Call the company and ask if you can speak to one or shadow one. Don’t believe everything that you are told. Do your own research and decide what is best for your family and your future. I wish you the best in your decision making. May an army of angels surround you and your crew. Work safe, have fun, and make memories!
Additional information on Apprenticeships and Schools
For More information on Union Apprenticeships Please Contact your IBEW Local Hall or the following:
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee: https://selcat.com/
Washington, Oregon, Northern California, and Northern Idaho: https://nwlinejatc.com/about-us/
Minnesota, Missouri. Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin: https://www.movalleyjatc.org/
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Eastern Shore of Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont: https://www.neat1968.org/
Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas: http://swlcat.org/
Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming: https://www.mslcat.org/
Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. ALBAT serves the IBEW Sixth District in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan: https://albat.org/
Lineman Schools and Colleges
There are MANY Lineman schools available. A quick search online will bring up local schools nearest you.
Northwest Lineman College: https://lineman.edu/
Southeast Lineman Training Center: https://www.lineworker.com/
CDA Technical Institute: https://voltagelineworker.com/
Santiago Canyon College: https://sccollege.edu/Departments/CareerEd/Apprenticeship/Pages/PowerLineman.aspx
Rocky Mountain Line Technician: https://www.trinidadstate.edu/line-tech/index.html
Teex Lineman Academy: https://teex.org/program/utilities/
Lake Sumter State College: https://lssc.smartcatalogiq.com/Current/Catalog-and-Student-Handbook/Academic-Programs/College-Credit-Certificate-Programs/Electrical-Distribution-Technology-Basic-Certificate-393
North American Lineman Training Center: https://naltc.com/
Should you find any information incorrect, needing to be updated, or a school that needs to be added, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org