About The Outside Lineman Program
As a journeyman lineman you’ll build, maintain and repair the power lines that carry electricity to homes and businesses. They do all the work from the point of generation (power plants) all the way to the customer’s meter. The lines may be on overhead structures (up to 300′) or in underground vaults or trenches. They may be in rural and metropolitan areas. Linemen also do work on traffic signals and street lights. The work is varied and exciting.
The duties of an outside lineman are listed below. Tasks within each of the duties are included in the job description if they are performed by at least 10 percent of the journeymen surveyed. Tasks are described as daily, weekly, monthly, or occasionally based upon the responses of a majority of journeymen in the position.
- Planning and Initiating Projects
- Establishing OSHA and Customer Safety Requirements
- Setting of Towers, Poles
- Maintaining and Repairing Overhead Distribution or Transmission Lines
- Stringing New Wire or Maintaining Old Wire
- Installing and Maintaining Insulators
- Installing and Maintaining Transformers and Other Equipment
- Supervising Groundman and Apprentices
- Installing, and Maintaining an Underground Distribution Systems
- Assembly and Erection of Substation
- Installing and Maintaining Traffic Signals and Outdoor Lighting
- Tree Trimming
- Use of Tools
One of the job requirements is operation heavy equipment such as digger derricks, aerial lifts, backhoes, dump trucks, tensioners, pullers and cranes. Training and certification for these types of industrial equipment is part of our apprenticeship program and part of on the job experience. Our IBEW/NECA program provides supervision and training which prepares you for your future as a journeyman lineman.
Being an outside lineman requires toughness and grit. Climbing high on outside electrical towers and poles during all seasons and weather is required to get the job done. At times power lines fail or become inoperable due to bad weather and storms. This is when the outside electrical industry performs critical duties.
When you apply for the Northwest Line JATC Outside Lineman Program you’ll be taking the first step to a career that not only has a tremendous impact on the people you serve, but one that will have a positive impact on your future as well.
Interviews for the Outside Electrical Lineman Apprenticeship are held throughout the year, with interviews scheduled monthly. To qualify for an interview each applicant must have a complete application in our office by the appointed deadline. Minimum requirements to apply are the following:
- Online Application for Apprenticeship
- Official High School Transcripts – with graduation date
- Official Transcripts = sealed envelope from your school) OR
- Official GED Certificate
- Proof of one (1) year of High School Algebra or one (1) term of college Algebra with a passing cumulative grade of “C” or better. (Your official transcript MUST state “Pre-Algebra”, “Algebra”, or the like. If your algebra course was entitled “Integrated Math”, “Math 90” or the like, your school must include a letter written on letterhead that states the course you took was the equivalent to algebra.)
- Applicant must hold a Class “A” Commercial Driver License, indicating you are 18 or older .
- A valid First Aid/CPR certification – online certifications are not recognized by Oregon or Washington, therefore they do not meet the requirement.
Items strongly recommended (not required) to include in your application:
Current Flagging/ Traffic Control certification
Industry related certifications – ie Crane Operator, Heavy Equipment, etc.
Although you are not required to have any previous experience, any experience or training you do have may allow you to take an accelerated path in our program. Submitting your documentation along with your application will allow us to assess where to place you based on your previous work experience or vocational training.
Applications are only accepted online and require a $35.00 fee. To start your application, create a new account (for first time users) under the “Account Log in” tab; if you have applied before, use the “forgot password” feature to access you online account.
Wages And Benefits
Being treated as a full-time employee not only assures you of an adequate wage, but also provides a range of benefits associated with full-time employment.
The Outside Electrical Lineman Apprenticeship is an ‘EARN while you LEARN’ program.
The apprenticeship is broken down into seven steps, of 1000 hours per step. Each step marks the apprentice’s progression through their apprenticeship.
The apprentices’ hourly wage is based on a percentage of the negotiated journeyman’s wages. At each step the apprentice receives an incremental increase in their wage. The break down is outlined below.
- Current Journeyman Wage: $52.76 (as of 2-1-19)
- 1st Step 1000 hours 60% of Journeyman Wage
- 2nd Step 2000 hours 63% of Journeyman Wage
- 3rd Step 3000 hours 67% of Journeyman Wage
- 4th Step 4000 hours 72% of Journeyman Wage
- 5th Step 5000 hours 78% of Journeyman Wage
- 6th Step 6000 hours 86% of Journeyman Wage
- 7th Step 7000 hours 90% of Journeyman Wage
As an apprentice or journeyman lineman, you’ll receive health insurance benefits for yourself and your dependent family, including health, dental and vision insurance. This insurance is provided 100% by the electrical industry and is not deducted from your paycheck. The health insurance plan provided allows you to see any doctor you wish, anywhere in the country.
In a time when most companies are cutting back on retirement benefits, the journeyman lineman profession offers two outstanding retirement benefits to ensure you and your family of a secure financial future.
National Electrical Annuity Plan
Under the four local agreement (IBEW locals 77, 125 483 & 659) you will receive a retirement benefit for each hour you work, which ranges from $6.45 per hour for an apprentice, to $11.05 per hour for Journeyman. This amount is paid by the electrical contractors and is not deducted from your paycheck.
National Electrical Benefit Fund
This multi-employer defined benefit plan provides monthly contributions of 3% of gross pay for electrical workers associated with participating local unions of the IBEW. Journeymen and apprentices receive the benefit as part of their compensation package when they work for a contributing employer. Vesting in the fund takes just five years. Your benefit is secure once you have earned five service credits. Generally, you earn one service credit a year.
Because your apprenticeship is more than just on-the-job training, you are eligible to earn college credit issued by the American Council of Education (ACE).
Veterans may be eligible for educational benefits while working their way through the apprenticeship program. Once you have been indentured, our Certifying Official will work with you to get your benefit claim going.
Full medical, dental & vision for the apprentice and their immediate family, a defined pension program and an annuity plan, all fully funded by the apprentice’s employer.
Questions And Answers
Question: How do you get started in the apprenticeship for Outside Construction Lineman?
Answer: Determine if being a lineman is right for you. Being a journeyman lineman isn’t for everyone. Although the job pays well and provides excellent benefits, a lineman is often asked to work outside in unfriendly weather conditions, climb high poles (if you’re afraid of heights, you can stop reading right now) and do physically and mentally demanding work. The job can also require a fair amount of travel, which can mean many nights away from home. If sounds like something you want to do, then you would to create an account to start your online application. It can take up to 24 hours for your account to be approved. Once your account is approved you will receive an email with a link to start your online application.
Question: Is there an application fee?
Answer: Yes, $35.
Question: What are the travel requirements?
Answer: During the apprenticeship training, you are not required to work out of your home local union’s jurisdiction. As an apprentice of the NW LIne JATC, you will work under a four local agreement. This agreement with the IBEW Locals 77, 125, 483 and 659, covers all of Oregon, Washington, Northern Idaho and Northern California. Because of workloads in other areas, you may be asked to travel outside the four local area. As an apprentice you have the right to decide whether or not to accommodate this request. This is the only time an Apprentice will have the option of turning down a dispatch.
Question: Once an application is completed, what is the next step?
Answer: Once your application is complete, you will be scheduled to attend a mandatory orientation which covers the life of an apprentice and journeyman lineman. After attending, you will be scheduled for an interview at the JATC office. You will interview with the Committee (made up of line contractors and members of the local unions) who will score you based on everything they’ve learned about your background, attitude, interests, etc. Interviews last approximately 10 to 15 minutes. You will have the opportunity to impress upon our board why you are a good candidate for the apprenticeship. Your scores from the interview will be averaged, and that average is used to place you on the ranking list with all previous applicants who have yet to be called into the program. So, if you score high, you’ll move right to the top of the list regardless of how long other applicants have been waiting. Applicants that interview in the next cycle will be added to the same list, in the same manner. If you are not indentured, your name will be removed from the list after two years.
Question: When are apprentices selected for the apprenticeship?
Answer: Applicants are offered apprenticeship positions based on industry need. NW Line Contractors contact the NW Line JATC when an apprentice is needed on a crew. If all current apprentices are working, the apprenticeship then calls the first person on the ranked applicant list and offers them an apprenticeship position. Each year offers a unique situation and the number of applicants offered apprenticeships.
Question: How often is the rank list updated?
Answer: Every time interviews are held the rank list is updated. You will be notified by email of your new rank.
Question: How long are you on the rank list for?
Answer: You will remain on the rank list for two years or until your indentured into the program.
Question: How does my previous experience count towards credit in the apprenticeship?
Answer: Experience for work performed on a line crew may be given credit toward your first advancement. Documentation must be submitted prior to your interview, be on company letterhead, and must be specific in the type of work. Documentation is reviewed by the committee just before the applicants is called in for the verbal interview. Questions will be asked about the experience during the interview. After the interview and the scoring, the committee agrees on the amount of credit to award that applicant. The committee cannot grant hours that are not presented at the interview. Work experience must be work performed as a journeyman lineman or under the direction of journeyman lineman.
Question: How long is the apprenticeship program?
Answer: The program is approximately 4-year program 7,000 hours on the job training. During this time, you’ll advance through seven (7) steps of the program. After completing each of these steps, your pay rate will increase, coming closer and closer to that of the journeymen linemen you’re working and training with.
In order to learn all aspects of the trade, most apprentices get to work for more than one contractor during their time in the program.
Question: Are apprentices required to attend school?
Answer: Yes, each apprentice attends three years of related training and three related training camps throughout their apprenticeship.
School is held every other Saturday during the months of October through May. There is a total of 15 Saturday Schools per academic year. Each school day is approximately 8 hours.
Classes introduce students to job related information and hands-on training. These classes are a very important part of the apprenticeship program and work in conjunction with the on-the-job training in preparing each apprentice to become an outside electrical journeyman.
Camp Rilea is held in Warrenton, Oregon each spring. Camp Rilea training includes climbing, distribution, transmission hot sticking, along with related safety topics, rigging & transformer skills.
First and second year apprentices attend 10-day sessions at Camp Rilea. Third year apprentices attend a 5-day session. Room and board are provided for apprentices while attending Camp Rilea.
Question: Is there fees associated with the apprenticeship?
Answer: Yes, Apprentices pay .60 per hour towards the cost of apprenticeship. This fee is only a partial offset for the cost of training; the Contractors who are signatory to the agreement pay the majority of the apprenticeship training.
There will be some additional expenses you will be responsible for. These include:
Apprentices are required to pay all lodging costs while working unless it is related to storm work.
Apprentices must provide their own hand tools and climbing tools.
Question: Where can you take an algebra class if you don’t have a “C” or better?
Answer: Algebra classes can be taken at any college, or you can take the Online Tech Math Class offered in conjunction with the NJATC and the University of Tennessee. Simply log on to https://anywhere.tennessee.edu/njatc/ and register.
Question: What are your career prospects as a journeyman lineman?
Answer: With proper training and ongoing education, journeymen linemen can advance to supervisory positions. Some may go into teaching/training or manage their own electrical contracting business. In addition, throughout the training process and on-the-job experience, you’ll be learning valuable skills which you can put to good use in your future. These include interpersonal communications, supervision, project management and teamwork skills.
Question: What is the job outlook and where can your career take you?
Answer: Currently there is a nationwide shortage of trained journeymen lineman, so prospects look good. Your experience at Northwest Line JATC assures potential employers of your capabilities.
Here’s the good news about working as a journeyman lineman. There is no seniority or tenure in the electrical power line construction industry. This means that a graduate could be immediately promoted to foreman or other supervisory positions, without regard to seniority. So, there is no waiting for 10 or 15 years for enough people to leave or retire in order to be promoted. It is based solely on knowledge and ability.
Many journeymen linemen who have made the transition to supervisory positions have used their technical and management skills to pursue careers as teachers/instructors, independent business owners, inspectors and consultants.