Becoming a lineman begins with being accepted into a lineman apprentice program. The appropriate candidate should be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma. Following the apprenticeship period of about 42 months, the successful apprentice becomes a journeyman lineman.
In order to become a lineman the candidate should be comfortable climbing to heights in excess of 500 feet, and be comfortable working in adverse weather conditions. The work of a lineman is physically and mentally demanding, and many apprenticeship programs require a mathematical aptitude test or that the candidate show passing math grades in high school. Once accepted into a lineman apprentice program, candidates are assigned to a crew of journeyman lineman to gain field experience.
An apprenticeship is a paid training experience that requires a signed contract with the program employer. The apprentice assists the crew with constructing, servicing and maintaining transmission and distribution lines until his knowledge and experience increases. Then, the apprentice assists with more demanding line work.
The rate of pay increases as the apprentice graduates through the steps of the program. Following the apprentice's demonstration of safety protocols and the completion of technical and nontechnical training, the apprentice becomes a journeyman lineman.