An apprentice lineman is a type of electrician who has completed a lineman certification program and begun an apprenticeship or direct experience as part of training. Certification programs generally take about four months to complete and include six-hundred clock hours of direct electrical work, and apprentice linemen are usually supervised by a fully-trained lineman during the installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical systems which deliver and distribute power.
Apprentice linemen must be able to use hand tools, power tools, and meters with ease, and they are also expected to follow rigorous safety standards, participate in safety training, and plan meetings on a regular basis. They are employed largely by the construction industry, and new construction sites are their primary work environment.
Apprentice linemen often face environmental conditions not found in other areas of work, including extreme weather, heights, and risks of electrical burns. Most of the work is done outdoors and in unsecured areas, such as buildings in stages of construction, and it is generally described as physical labor with some technical skills. Apprentice linemen must be available to respond to urgent or emergency situations when inclement weather or other situations arise and affect a power supply, and they should expect to work both scheduled and non-scheduled overtime and even on-call in addition to regular daytime shifts.
Apprentice linemen have limited contact with the general public, aside from those who visit job sites to inspect work or engage in consultations, and they work closely with supervisors and other linemen, especially the site foreman or superintendent. After an apprenticeship period is complete, which usually lasts about three and a half years, the lineman will then be known as a “journeyman lineman” or simply a “lineman” and be eligible for a full salary and independent employment.