The Cost of Becoming a Lineman

Considering a Lineman Career?

Are you thinking about switching careers and becoming a lineman? A lineman career can be a great choice if you enjoy working outdoors, facing challenges, and contributing to essential services like electricity. Andre and Jacob, two individuals interested in this field, asked some insightful questions about getting started and the current job market for linemen. This blog will explore their questions, provide some answers, and offer tips for anyone considering a lineman career.

  • What is the demand for in the lineman field.
  • Has there ever been slow times?
  • How you live and work on the road in the lineman trade!

What is a Lineman Career Like?

A lineman career involves installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical power systems. Linemen work with high-voltage lines, ensuring that electricity is delivered safely from power plants to homes and businesses. It’s a physically demanding job that requires climbing poles, working at heights, and handling heavy equipment. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know:

  • Job Duties: Installing and maintaining power lines, troubleshooting electrical issues, and repairing equipment.
  • Work Environment: Often outdoors, in all weather conditions, and sometimes at great heights.
  • Skills Needed: Physical strength, problem-solving skills, and a good understanding of electrical systems.

Question 1: Is the Job Market for Linemen Slow?


“Peace man my name is Andre, currently an owner operator truck driver but looking to make a transition over into the Lineman field. I’ve recently applied to Southwestern Line College & waiting to hear back, just wanted to ask within your time of being in the lineman career if you’ve experienced any slow down or no work available?”

Answer: The lineman career field can sometimes experience fluctuations. Since 2017, I’ve worked in the industry, including a year in power line clearance. This year (2024) has been the slowest I’ve seen, with many contractors laying off workers due to economic factors and supply chain issues. Here are some key points:

  • Current Situation: In 2024, the job market is slower than usual. Contractors in areas like California and the Midwest are laying off workers.
  • Supply Issues: There are delays in getting materials like wire and transformers, which affects the availability of work.
  • Economic Impact: A weak economy can lead to fewer construction projects and less demand for new electrical infrastructure.

Despite these challenges, there are still opportunities. It’s essential to stay informed and flexible if you’re considering a lineman career. Apply to apprenticeships and keep an eye out for openings, even if the job market is currently slow.

Tips for Aspiring Linemen

If you’re interested in pursuing a lineman career, here are some practical steps to get started:

  • Apply for Apprenticeships: Apprenticeships are a crucial entry point into a lineman career. Check with local utilities or organizations like SWAT (Southwest Lineman Training Center) for opportunities.
  • Get Certified: Having a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and relevant certifications can improve your chances of getting hired.
  • Stay Flexible: Be prepared to move for work. The job market can vary by region, so being willing to relocate can increase your job prospects.

Question 2: How to Handle Living Arrangements as a Lineman?


Hey man! Figured I’d reach out to you for a question I had. I’m currently doing electrical maintenance/ construction for the TVA at one of their steam plants. It’s just not me. I like a challenge, money, outdoors, and I just know if I stay an inside wireman my whole life I’ll regret it haha. I know you aren’t fully for line schools but I’m going to line school next January and was just curious about how to start living going to the first job. I’ve always been curious to how hard finding a place to stay is, and living all around in the beginning. Being in TN I know I’ll for sure travel to another state for my first job haha. May be a odd question but thought you’d definitely be the guy to ask!”

Answer: A lineman career often involves traveling and working in different locations, which can make finding stable living arrangements challenging. Here are some options:

  • RV Living: Many linemen use a truck and a camper trailer to live on the road. You can park at RV spots and pay rent month-to-month.
  • Budget-Friendly Options: If you can’t afford a truck and trailer, consider staying in hotels, extended stays, or renting rooms. You can find rooms on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Furnished Finder, an app for traveling professionals.
  • Flexibility: Be prepared for various living situations, from couch-surfing with fellow apprentices to living out of your car if necessary.

These living arrangements can be tough, but they are a part of the lineman career’s reality. Being adaptable and resourceful will help you navigate these challenges.

Final Thoughts

A lineman career is rewarding but can be demanding and require significant lifestyle adjustments. Whether you’re transitioning from another field like Andre or looking for a new challenge like Jacob, understanding the job market and preparing for the demands of the job are crucial steps. Keep an eye on apprenticeship opportunities, stay flexible with your living arrangements, and be prepared for the ups and downs of the industry. With perseverance and the right approach, you can build a successful lineman career and contribute to keeping our power systems running smoothly.

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