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Apprenticeship

Powerline Technician

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

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) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Electrical Power Line and Cable Workers

2006 NOC: 7244

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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 associated equipment
  • Splice, solder and insulate conductors and related wiring to connect power distribution and transmission networks
  • Operate heavy equipment including ariel booms, diggers, backhoes, trackhoes, skid steers and tension stringing equipment

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 Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

Powerline technicians work outdoors and travel to various work sites so travelling often is part of the workday.

The work may be strenuous and require carrying, reaching, and frequent lifting of over 25 kilograms. Getting to power lines requires climbing poles or towers, working from a bucket attached to an aerial lift boom, or entering confined spaces such as manholes and underground vaults.

Although a 40-hour week is normal, it may be shift work. 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. Powerline technicians use special equipment and get training in safe work practices and procedures to reduce the risk of injury when working with energized power lines.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Powerline technicians need:

  • Strength and stamina
  • Coordination and manual dexterity
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Good hearing and colour vision
  • Comfort with heights
  • The ability to work in a team
  • Adaptability to changing tasks and locations

They should enjoy working outdoors in all types of weather.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship

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 find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train them. They must also meet ONE of the following:

  • Have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 20-2, Math 20-3, and Science 10, or equivalent
  • Have a pass mark in all 5 Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests
  • Pass an entrance exam

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 classroom instruction in each of first 3 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 admission, credit, or certification. Credits may reduce the period of apprenticeship.

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).

Classroom instruction is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. For more information, see the Apprenticeship Training Catalogue.


Related Education

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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Powerline Technician

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

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act [pdf], 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.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Powerline Technician.

Additional Information

Certified tradespeople who want to build their business skills may obtain an Achievement in Business Competencies (Blue Seal) Certificate from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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 lead hand, foreman or line supervisor positions. Other opportunities in the power line industry may also include work methods specialist, design and quality control analyst and safety codes officer.

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 [pdf] in this occupation is 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 7244: Electrical power line and cable workers occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.8% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 76 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Journeyperson powerline technicians wage rates vary but generally range from $40 to $60 an hour plus benefits (2019 estimates). Apprentices 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.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Electrical power line and cable workers

2016 NOC: 7244
Average Wage
$49.55
Per Hour
Average Salary
$105,237.00
Per Year
Average Hours
41
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 7244 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $34.00 $47.28 $40.68 $35.63
Overall $36.00 $59.43 $49.55 $48.46
Top $48.00 $60.00 $54.44 $57.00

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Construction

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
31%
31%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
N/A
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
0%
0%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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

BuildForce Canada website: www.buildforce.ca

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

Updated Mar 31, 2020. 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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