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Career Opportunities & Work Life

Students at Lake Michigan College can earn a Line Worker Certificate of Achievement, which prepares students for employment as an entry-level utility worker, also called a line mechanic. Students can expect to be competitive for jobs as a Line Mechanic D.

Every time you turn on your lights, call someone on the phone, watch cable television, or access the Internet, you are connecting to complex networks of physical power lines and cables that provide you with electricity and connect you with the outside world. Line installers and repairers, also known as line workers or linemen, are the people who install and maintain these networks of electrical power systems and telecommunications cables, including fiber optics.

Duties
Electrical power-line installers and repairers typically do the following:

  • Drive work vehicles to job sites
  • Install, maintain, or repair the power lines that move electricity
  • Identify defective devices, voltage regulators, transformers, and switches
  • Inspect and test power lines and auxiliary equipment
  • String power lines between poles, towers, and buildings
  • Climb poles and transmission towers and use truck-mounted buckets to get to equipment
  • Operate power equipment when installing and repairing poles, towers, and lines
  • Follow safety standards and procedures

Telecommunications line installers and repairers typically do the following:

  • Drive work vehicles to job sites
  • Install, maintain, or repair telecommunications equipment
  • Inspect or test lines or cables
  • Lay underground cable, including fiber optic lines, directly in trenches
  • Install aerial cables, including under lakes or across rivers
  • Operate power equipment when installing and repairing poles, towers, and lines
  • Set up service for customers

 

Work Settings
The work of line installers and repairers can be physically demanding. Line installers must be comfortable working at great heights and in confined spaces. Despite the help of bucket trucks, all line workers must be able to climb utility poles and transmission towers and balance while working on them.

Their work often requires that they drive utility vehicles, travel long distances, and work outdoors. They often must work under challenging weather conditions, including in snow, wind, rain, and extreme heat and cold, in order to keep electricity flowing. Although most work full time during regular business hours, some line installers and repairers must work evenings and weekends. In emergencies or after storms and other natural disasters, workers may have to work long hours for several days in a row.

 

Job Outlook
Employment of line installers and repairers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2012 to 2022. Employment growth will vary by specialty: Employment of telecommunications line installers and repairers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2012 to 2022 and employment of electrical power-line installers and repairers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2012 to 2022

Good job opportunities are expected overall. Highly skilled workers with apprenticeship training or a 2-year associate’s degree in telecommunications, electronics, or electricity should have the best job opportunities.

Employment opportunities should be particularly good for electrical power-line installers and repairers, as many workers in this field are expected to retire.

 

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Line Installers and Repairers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/line-installers-and-repairers.htm (visited January 22, 2014).

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