California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers in California

May also be called: Electrical Linemen; Electrical Line Workers; Linemen; Line Workers; and Power Linemen

What Would I Do?

Every time you turn on a light, charge your cell phone, or plug anything into an electrical outlet, you are tapping into a complex network of power lines and cables. Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers fix power lines and trim tree branches that may interfere with the electrical lines. Not all power lines are located above ground, on the tops of poles or towers. In some locations, power lines are buried underground, out of public view, requiring Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers to dig up the ground in order to reach them.

Severe weather and general wear and tear are the most common reasons power lines require maintenance and repair. Remote monitoring stations and customer reports of service outages notify Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers of problems. Once an issue is identified, Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers must cut off electricity to power lines and repair them in a timely manner.

Electrical Line Workers should be able to work within confined spaces, such as underground tunnels, while stooping or kneeling. They should be able to lift at least 50 pounds and identify different color wires. A California driver license is often necessary since the job may require workers to drive utility vehicles and travel long distances. Some Installers are independent contractors who travel from job site to job site.

Construction and maintenance of underground and overhead electrical lines is done year-round, in all forms of weather. Electrical Line Workers typically work a 40-hour week. They may be required to work overtime or on weekends during emergencies or severe weather conditions. During an emergency repair, workers may experience physical and mental stress due to long work hours and difficult working conditions.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Electrical-Power Line Installers and Repairers may appeal to those who enjoy working on projects that require practical, hands-on problems and solutions. This occupation may interest those who are attentive to detail and thorough in completing work tasks. In addition, those who like being outside, working closely with others in a team may enjoy this occupation.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages for Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers in California vary depending on job duties, work experience, type of industry, and location of the work. Workers in large cities usually earn higher wages than those who work in smaller towns and rural areas.

The median wage in 2020 for Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers in California is $108,316 annually, or $52.07 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2020Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$76,279$108,316$125,081
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2020 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefit packages vary widely from company to company. Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers generally receive health insurance, vacation, sick leave, and paid holidays. The type of benefit package is determined by company policy or union contract.

What is the Job Outlook?

Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers should experience increased job opportunities as new homes and business are built and will need power lines in order to provide them with electricity. The majority of job openings will occur due to the need to replace workers who retire, transfer to other occupations, or leave the labor force.

How Do I Qualify?

Most employers prefer to hire applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers are willing to train entry-level helpers on the job. Completing an apprenticeship program, or completing trade or vocational school improves employment opportunities.

Apprentices learn their trade while working on the job. They also attend classes for technical instruction. Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers’ apprenticeship programs require that applicants be a minimum of 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and have completed one year of high school level algebra. Possession of a valid California driver license is strongly recommended.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Jobs may also be found through registration with temporary employment agencies and through classified advertisements in newspapers, trade publications, and Internet job listings. Union members generally search for work by registering with their local hiring hall. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


Learn More About Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers