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Apprenticeship

Powerline Technician

Powerline technicians construct, maintain and repair overhead and underground electrical power transmission and distribution systems.

  • Avg. Salary $103,281.00
  • Avg. Wage $49.95
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 2,000
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Electrical Power Lineman, Lineman

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Electrical Power Line and Cable Workers (7244) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Electrical Power Line and Cable Workers (H214) 
  • 2011 NOC: Electrical power line and cable workers (7244) 
  • 2016 NOC: Electrical power line and cable workers (7244) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

51%
51%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Powerline Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Electrical Power Line and Cable Workers
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to splice, solder and insulate conductors and related wiring in order to connect power distribution and transmission networks using splicing tools, related electrical equipment and tools

innovative

Interest in compiling information to install and maintain street lighting systems; and in inspecting and testing overhead and underground power lines and cables and auxiliary equipment using electrical testing equipment

methodical

Interest in speaking with other workers to co-ordinate the preparation for and completion of assignments

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

In general, powerline technicians:

  • erect and maintain steel, wood or concrete poles, towers and guy wires
  • install, maintain and repair overhead and underground power lines and cables, insulators, conductors, lightning arrestors, switches, transformers, street lighting and other associated equipment
  • splice, solder and insulate conductors and related wiring to connect power distribution and transmission networks.

When there is a power disturbance, failure or storm damage, powerline technicians locate the source of the problem and replace or repair defective power lines and accessories. They use wiring diagrams, voltage indicating devices and other electrical testing instruments to identify defective automatic sectionalizing devices, circuit breakers, fuses, voltage regulators, transformers, switches, relays or wiring.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Powerline technicians work outdoors and travel to various work sites so travelling often is part of the work day. The work may be strenuous and require frequent heavy lifting (over 25 kilograms), carrying and reaching. Getting to power lines requires climbing poles or towers, working from a bucket attached to an aerial lift boom, or entering manholes and underground vaults. 

Shift work may be required. Although a 40 hour work week is normal, in emergencies linemen may be called upon at any hour and in any weather.

Power lines may be de-energized and grounded or they may remain energized while power linemen are working. Special equipment and training in safe work practices and procedures help reduce the risk of injury when working with energized power lines.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Powerline technicians need the following characteristics:

  • physical strength and stamina
  • good coordination and manual dexterity
  • mechanical ability
  • good hearing and colour vision
  • the ability to work at heights and in extreme weather conditions
  • the ability to work as a member of a team and adapt to changing tasks and locations.

They should enjoy working outdoors in all types of weather.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

To work in Alberta, a powerline technician must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • an Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate  
  • someone who works for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of certified journeyperson
  • self-employed.

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 20-2, Math 20-3 and Science 10, or equivalent, or pass an entrance exam.
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates. 

The term of apprenticeship is 4 years (four 12 month periods) that include a minimum of:

  • 1,525 hours of on-the-job training and 7 weeks of technical training in each of first three years
  • 1,800 hours of on-the-job training in the fourth year. 

High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for credit or certification.

Powerline technician apprentices may take the interprovincial exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training to earn a Red Seal (certification recognized in most parts of Canada).

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and is currently offered at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton.

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Apprenticeship Trades

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Powerline Technician

Powerline technicians construct, maintain and repair overhead and underground electrical power transmission and distribution systems. For more information, see the Trades and Occupations section of Alberta's Tradesecrets website.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act and Powerline Technician Trade Regulation, you do not have to be certified if you are self-employed or work for an employer who is satisfied that you have the skills and knowledge expected of a journeyperson certified by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. To learn the trade, you must become a registered apprentice.

What You Need

The term of apprenticeship for apprentice powerline technicians in Alberta is four years (four 12 month periods) that include a minimum of 1,525 hours of on-the-job training and seven weeks of technical training in each of the first three years, and 1,800 hours of on-the-job training in the fourth year. Apprentices must find suitable employers who are willing to hire and train apprentices, and successfully complete technical training examinations.

Working in Alberta

Powerline technicians trained in other provinces and territories can work in Alberta if they hold a certificate or license recognized by the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board or have the skills and knowledge expected of a journeyperson certified in Alberta. For more information, see the Recognized Trade Certificates page of the Tradesecrets website.

Contact Details

Any of the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Service Offices located throughout Alberta. For a list of office locations and telephone numbers, click on "Contact Us" on the home page of the Tradesecrets website (tradesecrets.alberta.ca).

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Powerline technicians are employed by utility companies and their contractors. In some companies, powerline technicians must be union members.

Experienced powerline technicians may advance to foreman or line supervisor positions. Alberta certified journeyperson powerline technicians who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Power linemen are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7244: Electrical power line and cable workers. In Alberta, 87% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 1,800 Albertans are employed in the Electrical power line and cable workers occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.1% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 20 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As powerline technicians form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for powerline technicians. 

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Journeyperson wage rates vary but generally range from $35 to $50 an hour plus benefits (2014 estimates). Apprentice powerline technicians earn a minimum of 50% of the journeyperson wage rate in their shop in the first year, 60% in the second, 67.5% in the third and 75% in the fourth.

Electrical power line and cable workers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $25.00 $52.17 $37.46 $34.68
Overall $30.00 $57.57 $49.95 $48.67
Top $39.05 $59.16 $52.91 $54.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Utilities
ALL INDUSTRIES
Construction

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

51%
51%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

39%
39%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

5%
5%

Vacancy Rate

4%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca

BuildForce Canada website: www.buildforce.ca

Calgary Construction Association website: www.cca.cc

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 29, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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