How Much Does an Electric Lineman Make?
Electrical linemen work in one of the most dangerous jobs in the US. Despite their high-security measures, injuries still happen. Still, job opportunities are numerous, as electrical linemen are in high demand. This results in a high median salary, benefits, and other perks that come with the job title. In fact, electrical linemen are paid more than a plumber or a solar panel installers.
As salary ranges are high, at least according to labor statistics, each apprenticeship program is usually fully booked. If you would like to become a lineman, you should know there are many companies looking for linemen with or without education. The skills needed can be mastered in the training itself, and the base pay is more than enough to provide you with a decent living. Let’s read on and learn how much a lineman can make.
What is an Electric Lineman?
An electrical lineman is a worker employed by a utility company or another electric company that is in charge of power line maintenance, installation, and repairs. As there are many natural disasters that happen year after year, and the power grid is old as it is, breakage happens very often which will provide you with steady hours and good pay. For this reason, every job opening is sought after, but not enough people apply, leading to increasing salaries.
If you are considering becoming an electrical lineman for your next job, you should know that there are a lot of responsibilities that come with this work position. An electrical lineman needs to have extensive knowledge in the fields of electricity, some knowledge of electrical engineering, safety measures, and flexibility with working hours.
Electrical linemen are in charge of:
- Setting up the grounding devices,
- Climb poles to access equipment that needs to be repaired,
- Repair electrical equipment in charge of delivering power to your home,
- Maintain the power grid,
- Maintain and install power transmission systems, taking power from hundreds of miles away to the area you live in,
- In charge of the electrical security of the entire network,
- Installing fireproof power lines, poles, and other essential pieces of complex machinery that make up the grid,
- Responding to emergency situations, such as storms, ice storms, and even car crashes toward power poles since it will certainly disrupt electricity delivery to entire areas.
If you want to become an electrical lineman, you should know that a college degree is not necessary. Your high school diploma and a good training course are just enough to ensure you get to work with your local utility company or one of many US companies providing workforce whenever there is a huge construction project to work on or a maintenance project after a hurricane hits.
In most cases, you will be good with apprenticeship programs as well. In this case, you should know that your salary may be a bit lower. In case you want more, eventually, you will have to go for an associate degree – up to four years of education that can boost your paycheck in the future.
Storm Recovery Jobs
However, one of the most lucrative jobs in the field is a storm recovery job. Storms in the US can be very detrimental, to the houses in the area and to the electrical infrastructure. There are electrical contractors that specialize in storm recovery jobs. These companies are always on the lookout, as storm jobs pop up and promise a lot of money. A lot of overtime work and a much higher nominal rate per hour means a lot of money is made in these jobs.
To be able to apply to such positions, you should work and prove to be a good worker. You should also be able to work long hours, travel to storm areas, and be willing to make some personal sacrifices. However, all this is a great way to make a lot of money in a short period of time. You could, in fact, make more than $10,000 per week if you prove that you can withstand the conditions that an electrical lineman is exposed to in storm-hit areas.
Salary of an Electric Lineman
So, how much can a lineman make? An electrical lineman can make a median salary of $79,000 per year. This is an hourly rate of $40. As this is a median salary, some electrical linemen will make more money, while some will make less. All interviewed electrical linemen reported getting a bonus.
An electric lineman salary generally starts very satisfactorily. In reality, the starting salary and starting positions are mostly for young people or the people just entering the field, as they are mostly employees working ground clearing and groundwork for the rest of the team. Groundwork hands, for example, can make $25 per hour (compare). This is not much, but this is a great chance to learn the work and be able to make more in the future.
Some of the lower-paying jobs can be accessed through internship and apprenticeship programs. These programs allow you to work in the local area and provide you with knowledge on how to do the job: this way, you can increase your knowledge and your salary. Salary ranges for electric linemen are high, so let’s check them out in more detail:
|Lowest Electrical Lineman Salary||$31,000|
|Median Electrical Lineman Salary||$79,000|
|Average Electrical Lineman Salary||$52,000|
|Highest Electrical Lineman Salary||$103,500|
|Highest Paying State||Hawaii - $47.12 per hour|
|Lowest Paying State||Mississippi - $28.75 per hour|
Electrical lineman salary details
Needless to say, the position you have will determine how high your salary is. Start positions, such as groundwork hand and the grounding crew are not paid as much as some other positions. Here is the average hourly rate electrical linemen can expect to get based on their position:
|General Foreman||$70 per hour|
|Foreman||$60 per hour|
|Journeyman Lineman||$60 per hour|
|Groundhead||$32 per hour|
|Groundwork Hand||$25 per hour|
Electrical lineman position and pay
States with the Best Salary
Every job is done for a certain pay. Salaries vary between industries, positions, and states. Needless to say, the job of electrical linemen is not an exception here. The base pay starts at $31,000 and goes as high as $103,500 per year. Here are the states with the best salary for electric linemen:
- North Dakota,
- South Dakota,
- New York,
- Massachusetts, and
- Rhode Island.
On the other side of the spectrum are the states with the lowest average paycheck for electrical linemen:
- Virginia, and
- South Carolina.
The average bonus for a lineman may not be as high as in some other industries. Namely, the average bonus, according to labor statistics, is just around $695. This represents just 2% of their salary. Nevertheless, with an increase in the position, both the pay and the bonus increase.
The income of electrical linemen is taxed just like any other income. This means that the gradual taxation method is applied. However, there are several states where electric linemen do not have to pay an income tax:
- South Dakota,
- Washington, and
The tax exemption applies only if you are a permanent resident of these states. If you live in another state and only happen to work in one of these states, you may want to contact a financial or tax advisor.
Lineman Pay Scale
The lineman pay scale is highly varied between positions. This is so because there is a lot to learn and a lot of experience to be gained to reach each next-level position. In fact, some of the lower positions in the industry are seen as apprenticeships, therefore the low wages. Managers and CEOs make way more, but you also need much more experience and a different kind of education.
Job Market for Electrical Linemen
Electrical linemen can expect a good work environment with plenty of benefits and a decent salary. In the upcoming decades, there is a lot of opportunity for job growth, especially as salaries are on the rise, the grid needs to be modernized and more renewables need to be included in the US energy portfolio. The complete list of benefits is long, and it always includes healthcare insurance and a retirement fund.
Quality of Life of an Electric Lineman
Depending on the location where you work, the quality of life for an average electrical lineman differs significantly. In fact, this is one of the most stressful and dangerous jobs there is. Working holidays, in all kinds of weather events, and being called to work at odd times is a normal part of a workday. However, a good base salary that electrical linemen receive, opportunities for salary growth, and benefits make it worthwhile, especially for younger people who have still not started their own families. Needless to say, a driver’s license is a must.
Pay & Benefits
The pay that electrical linemen receive is good, but so are the perks and the benefits. Typical benefits that electrical linemen have access to include healthcare insurance and a retirement plan. Let’s check them out in more detail.
The US Healthcare Marketplace and the Line Construction Benefit Fund are some places where you can browse for affordable healthcare insurance. Both offer a variety of options to choose from. While the US Healthcare Marketplace is a federal-owned and runs healthcare marketplace, the latter one is more streamlined for those working in construction.
Retirement plans are not always included with your work contract or offered by the employer. In this care, there are a lot of private retirement funds that you can get into and let interest and time do their magic. As an average US electrical lineman is younger, you may need a bit of a push or a nudge to opt for a retirement plan. Employers in the sphere can help you choose the best option there is.
What is the Highest Paid Electrical Lineman?
The highest-paid lineman works in Hawaii and makes around $98,000 per year. This translated to more than $40 per hour and is likely to prove to be a very good source of income. Among other states, most linemen will make more than $28 per hour.
Do Linemen Work in the Rain?
As linemen are field workers, they are very likely to work in the rain. In fact, linemen often have to work in all sorts of weather. The thing is that most breakdowns and accidents on the grid do not happen on fresh spring days, but rather during winter storms and other time extremes when the grid works at 100% of its capacity.
Do Linemen Do a lot of Math?
Electrical linemen do not have to do a lot of math. In fact, the job description or the job order for the day is just enough to ensure that you are good for the day. Most electrical linemen also work under supervision, to ensure that everything is done in a safe and comfortable way.
How Many Hours a Week do Linemen Work?
Most linemen work the standard work week of 40 hours. However, considering the seasonality in the workplace and the work there is to be done, most linemen will be expected to work overtime, especially during winter and summer. The thing is that most reparation work is done in the winter, when the weather events damage power lines, while most maintenance work is done in the summer.
Being an electrical lineman does not mean that you will be working in a very difficult job position. As every job has its dangerous situations, so does this one. However, basic safety measures and logic make the job much easier. A good base salary, regular pay, the opportunity to work anywhere in the world, and a whole bunch of employers to choose from in the states are more than enough to make you search for a job as an electrical lineman.