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Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

Summary

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Quick Facts: Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers
2023 Median Pay $85,420 per year
$41.07 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Long-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2022 122,400
Job Outlook, 2022-32 3% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2022-32 3,500

What Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers Do

Electrical power-line installers and repairers install or repair cables or wires used in electrical power or distribution systems.

Work Environment

Electrical power-line installers and repairers encounter serious hazards on the job, including working with high-voltage electricity, often at great heights. The work also can be physically demanding. Most electrical power-line installers and repairers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become an Electrical Power-Line Installer and Repairer

To enter the occupation, electrical power-line installers and repairers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. To become proficient, they typically require technical instruction and on-the-job training. Apprenticeships are common.

Pay

The median annual wage for electrical power-line installers and repairers was $85,420 in May 2023.

Job Outlook

Employment of electrical power-line installers and repairers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 9,700 openings for electrical power-line installers and repairers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for electrical power-line installers and repairers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of electrical power-line installers and repairers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about electrical power-line installers and repairers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers Do About this section

Line installers and repairers
Electrical power-line installers and repairers use a truck-mounted bucket to access equipment.

Electrical power-line installers and repairers install or repair cables or wires used in electrical power or distribution systems. They also may erect poles or transmission towers.

Duties

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

  • Install, maintain, or repair the power lines that move electricity
  • String electrical cable and wires between poles, towers, and buildings
  • Identify defective devices, voltage regulators, transformers, and switches
  • Inspect and test electrical power lines and auxiliary equipment
  • Climb poles and transmission towers and use truck-mounted buckets to reach equipment
  • Operate power equipment when installing and repairing poles, towers, and lines

Electrical power-line installers and repairers install and maintain the power grid: the network of cables and wires that moves electricity from generating plants to consumers. They routinely work with high-voltage electricity, which requires extreme caution.

Electrical power-line installers and repairers who maintain the interstate power grid work on crews that travel throughout a region to service transmission lines and towers. Those who are employed by local utilities maintain equipment such as transformers, voltage regulators, and switches. They also may work on traffic lights and street lights.

Workers generally start a new project by digging underground trenches or erecting utility poles and towers to carry the wires and cables. They use a variety of construction equipment, including trucks equipped with augers and cranes to dig holes and set poles in place.

To identify maintenance needs, electrical power-line installers and repairers check for outage reports from remote monitoring, aerial inspections, and customers.

To fix an electrical power-line problem, workers must first identify the cause through diagnostic testing with specialized equipment. To work on poles, electrical power-line installers usually use bucket trucks to raise themselves to the top of the structure. They sometimes need to climb poles and towers, using special safety equipment to keep from falling.

Work Environment About this section

Line installers and repairers
Electrical power-line installers and repairers may be required to work at great heights.

Electrical power-line installers and repairers held about 122,400 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of electrical power-line installers and repairers were as follows:

Utilities 50%
Utility system construction 31
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 11
Specialty trade contractors 4
Federal government 2

The work of electrical power-line installers and repairers can be physically demanding. They must be comfortable working at great heights and in confined spaces. They must be able to climb utility poles and transmission towers, as well as to balance while working on them.

Electrical power-line installers and repairers work outdoors in all types of weather, such as rain or wind when storms and other natural disasters damage power lines, to restore electricity. They often drive utility vehicles, and those who are part of a crew working on interstate power grids may need to travel long distances.

Injuries and Illnesses

Electrical power-line installers and repairers encounter serious hazards in their jobs and must follow safety procedures to minimize danger.

These workers may be electrocuted if they come in contact with a live cable on a high-voltage power line. When workers engage live wires, they use electrically insulated protective devices and tools to minimize their risk.

To prevent injuries when working on poles or towers, electrical power-line installers and repairers use fall-protection equipment. Safety procedures and training have reduced the danger for electrical power-line installers and repairers.   

Work Schedules

Most electrical power-line installers and repairers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. In emergencies or after storms and other natural disasters, they may have to travel to impacted areas and work long hours for several days in a row.

How to Become an Electrical Power-Line Installer and Repairer About this section

Line installers and repairers
Most electrical power-line installers and repairers have a high school diploma and receive long-term on-the-job training.

To enter the occupation, electrical power-line installers and repairers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. To become proficient, they typically need technical instruction and on-the-job training. Apprenticeships are common.

Education

Electrical line installers and repairers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have basic knowledge of algebra and trigonometry. In addition, technical knowledge of electricity or electronics obtained through military service, vocational programs, or community colleges may be helpful.

Some community colleges offer programs for electrical power-line installers and repairers that lead to a 1-year certificate or 2-year associate’s degree. These programs cover topics such as electrical distribution, line construction, and pole top and bucket rescue. The programs also may include an internship or hands-on fieldwork.

Training

Electrical power-line installers and repairers typically complete apprenticeships or other employer-sponsored training programs. These programs, which may last up to 3 years, combine on-the-job training with technical instruction and are sometimes administered jointly by the employer and the union representing the workers.

Qualifications to enter an apprenticeship program may include a high school diploma or equivalent, 1 year of high school algebra or the college-level equivalent, a qualifying score on an aptitude test, and passing a substance abuse screening. Apprentices also may have to meet physical requirements, including passing a fitness test.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not mandatory, certification is available for electrical power-line installers and repairers. For example, the Electrical Training Alliance offers certification for electrical power-line installation as part of its apprenticeship program.

Workers who drive heavy vehicles usually need a state-issued commercial driver’s license (CDL). Workers who drive crews that cross state lines need an interstate CDL, which may have additional requirements regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Other requirements, such as medical or other certifications and minimum age, vary by state. Check with your state for more details.

Advancement

After 3 or 4 years of working, qualified electrical power-line apprentices reach the journey level. A journey-level worker is no longer considered an apprentice and can perform most tasks without supervision.

Experienced electrical power-line installers and repairers may become supervisors or trainers.

Important Qualities

Ability to work at heights. Electrical power-line installers and repairers must be comfortable working at great heights. They may work from ladders or bucket lifts and climb utility poles.

Color vision. Workers who handle electrical wires and cables must be able to distinguish colors because the wires and cables are often color coded.

Interpersonal skills. Because these workers rely on their fellow crew members for safety, they must be able to collaborate as part of a team.

Physical stamina. Electrical power-line installers and repairers often must climb poles with heavy tools and equipment.

Physical strength. Electrical power-line installers and repairers must be able to lift heavy tools, cables, and equipment on the job.

Problem-solving skills. Electrical power-line installers and repairers must diagnose problems in electrical systems and lines and be able to repair or replace faulty equipment.

Technical skills. Electrical power-line installers use diagnostic equipment on circuit breakers, switches, and transformers. They must be familiar with electrical systems and the appropriate tools needed to fix and maintain them.

Pay About this section

Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

Median annual wages, May 2023

Electrical power-line installers and repairers

$85,420

Other installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

$50,200

Total, all occupations

$48,060

 

The median annual wage for electrical power-line installers and repairers was $85,420 in May 2023. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $48,220, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $119,920.

In May 2023, the median annual wages for electrical power-line installers and repairers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government $104,440
Utilities 98,330
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 82,360
Specialty trade contractors 75,030
Utility system construction 69,000

Most electrical power-line installers and repairers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. In emergencies or after storms and other natural disasters, they may have to travel to impacted areas and work long hours for several days in a row.

Job Outlook About this section

Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

Percent change in employment, projected 2022-32

Other installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

5%

Electrical power-line installers and repairers

3%

Total, all occupations

3%

 

Employment of electrical power-line installers and repairers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 9,700 openings for electrical power-line installers and repairers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Employment of electrical power-line installers and repairers is expected to grow, largely due to increasing electrical grid needs. With each new housing development or business complex, new electric power lines are installed and will require maintenance. The increasing prevalence of electric vehicles will also require more of these workers to install new grid connections. In addition, the interstate power grid will continue to become more complex to ensure reliability.

Employment projections data for electrical power-line installers and repairers, 2022-32
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2022 Projected Employment, 2032 Change, 2022-32 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Electrical power-line installers and repairers

49-9051 122,400 125,800 3 3,500 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.org. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of electrical power-line installers and repairers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2023 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Electrical and electronics engineers Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment.

Bachelor's degree $109,010
Electricians Electricians

Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems.

High school diploma or equivalent $61,590
Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers

Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers control the systems that generate and distribute electric power.

High school diploma or equivalent $100,890
Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers Telecommunications Technicians

Telecommunications technicians install, maintain, and repair radio, internet, and other telecommunications infrastructure.

See How to Become One $62,350

Contacts for More Information About this section

For details about apprenticeships or other work opportunities in this occupation, contact the offices of the state employment service, the state apprenticeship agency, local unions, or firms that employ electrical power-line installers and repairers. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 1 (877) 872-5627. Visit Apprenticeship.gov to search for apprenticeship opportunities.

For more information about line installers and repairers, visit

American Public Power Association

Center for Energy Workforce Development

For information about certification or training programs, visit

Electrical Training ALLIANCE

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

O*NET

Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/line-installers-and-repairers.htm (visited July 03, 2024).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2022

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2022, which is the base year of the 2022-32 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2022-32

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032. The average growth rate for all occupations is 3 percent.

Employment Change, 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.