5 Lineman Schools in California-Programs & How to Become

Attending any of the lineman schools in California is a good way to build your skills as a lineman. However, if you are not sure what line workers do, you will find out before the end of the article.

Line installers and repairers install and repair electrical power systems, as well as telecommunications cables.

To become a lineman, technical instruction and long-term on-the-job training is required. Apprenticeships are common.

Read on to find out more about the lineman schools in California and what they do.

Duties of a Lineman

  • A lineman installs, maintains, or repairs the power lines that move electricity.

  • They identify defective devices, voltage regulators, transformers, and switches.

  • A Lineman inspects and tests power lines and auxiliary equipment.

  • They string power lines between poles, towers, and buildings.

  • They climb poles and transmission towers.

  • They operate power equipment when installing and repairing poles, towers, and lines.

  • They follow safety standards, as well as procedures.

A lineman can also be found in the telecommunications industry where they can do the following:

  • They install, maintain, or repair telecommunications equipment.

  • They inspect or test line cables.

  • They lay underground cables, including optic lines, directly in trenches.

  • They pull cables in an underground conduit.

  • They install aerial cables, including over lakes or across rivers.

How to Become a Lineman in California

As you already know, the work of the Power Lineman involves erecting and maintaining power lines. It also involves climbing power poles. Not to mention working on communication lines.

The lineman’s job is a highly-skilled work that requires a great deal of concentration, skill, and knowledge.

This proves that the demand for this type of will never goes “out of style”.

There are over 500 line contractors in the organized electrical construction industry and as such you are sure of meaningful and lifelong work that provides opportunities for advancement.

The training for a lineman is carefully organized to include classroom/field instruction and 7,000 hours of on-the-job training in an indentured apprenticeship. This means it takes about 3 years to complete.

Successful completion of the apprenticeship program leads to journey worker status with the State of California. Let’s further look at it in detail:


Most companies require line installers and repairers to have a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Employers prefer candidates who have basic knowledge of algebra and trigonometry. This is in addition to technical knowledge of electricity or electronics which are obtained through vocational programs, community colleges, or even through military service.

Many community colleges offer programs in telecommunications, electronics, or electricity.

Some programs work with local companies to offer 1-year certificates that emphasize hands-on field work.

There are also more advanced 2-year associate degree programs that provide students with a broad knowledge of the technology that is used in telecommunications, and electrical utilities.

These programs offer courses in electricity, electronics, microwave transmission, as well as fiber optics.


Electrical line installers and repairers must often complete apprenticeships or other employer training programs out there.

These programs, as we said, can last up to 3 years. These programs combine technical instruction with on-the-job training. Sometimes it is administered jointly by the employer and the union representing the workers.

For example, the Electrical Training Alliance offers apprenticeship programs in four specialty areas.

If you are considering an apprenticeship program, these are the requirements:

  • Minimum age of 18

  • One year of algebra

  • High school education or equivalent

  • Qualifying score on an aptitude test

  • Pass substance abuse screening

The List of Centers and Lineman Schools in California

These are schools and centers, where you can obtain a degree or go for your aprenticeship program.

  • California-Nevada Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training

  • Santiago Canyon College

  • Los Angeles Trade Technical College

  • Northwest Lineman College

  • Electrical Training Alliance of Silicon Valley

California-Nevada Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training

The apprenticeship program at California-Nevada JATC combines supervised, structured on-the-job training with related classroom instruction to prepare you for skilled employment within the industry.

Because you are working and learning at the same time, apprentices are considered full-time employees. Wages are paid to you during the on-the-job phase of training.

Wages increase as progress is made in the program. A Department of Labor registered apprenticeship requires a signed, written agreement (indenture) between the program and the apprentice.

You agree to perform the work faithfully with diligence and to complete the related course study.

A contractor agrees to make every effort to keep you employed and to comply with the standards established for the program.

The California-Nevada Power Lineman Apprenticeship Program is a four year “earn while you learn” school consisting of a minimum of 7,000 hours of on-the-job training and related academic classes.

Of these hours, there are specific amounts of required training hours that an apprentice must complete.

An apprentice may be in the program beyond the 7,000 hours while working on a specific type of training.

Saturday classes are held approximately ten times per year. All classes begin at 8:00 a.m. and are approximately 8 hours. Each apprentice is assigned to a specific class that he/she attends on the scheduled date.

Week-long Training classes are held Tuesday-Friday at their Riverside Training facility. Apprentices are required to attend two (2) week-long training classes per academic school year.

First-year apprentices attend a 40-hour Work Methods Training Class and a 40-hour Underground Training Class.

Second-year apprentices attend a 40-hour Rubber Glove Training Class.

Third-year apprentices attend a 40-hour Hot Sticks Training Class and a 32-hour Crane Certification Training Class.

Room and board are not provided for apprentices while attending class at their facilities. Program Details.

Santiago Canyon College

This training program is carefully organized to include classroom/field instruction and 7,000 hours of the job training as an indentured apprentice, which requires approximately 3-1/2 years to complete.

The classroom/field instruction includes subjects that are trade-related: basic electricity, AC theory, transformers, circuitry, rigging, overhead and underground construction, equipment operation, Rubber Glove training, and Hot Stick training. 

College credit is earned for the related and supplemental instruction.

Successful completion of the apprenticeship program leads to journey worker status with the State of California.

Applications to the apprenticeship program are accepted year-round. Those who meet the minimum requirements and return a completed application along with all of the required documentation will be scheduled for an interview. Check the minimum requirements.

Los Angeles Trade Technical College

Los Angeles Trade Technical College’s Electrical Line-Worker program is designed to offer Utility Industry Fundamentals and Powerline Mechanic Certificates of Achievement, as well as an Associate of Science degree in Renewable Energy Generation, Transmission, and Distribution with a Powerline Mechanic emphasis, for individuals interested in working in occupations in the utility industry sector—particularly transmission and distribution occupations.

The courses comprising this program enable individuals to be prepared to obtain entry-level positions in the utility sector.

A 175 hour power pole-climbing certificate of completion is granted to students who
successfully complete the course. A component of this course also includes preparation for Civil Service examinations that are likely required for positions at municipal companies.

Los Angeles Trade-Technical College offers various programs for individuals interested in working in the utility industry.

The programs enable individuals to be prepared to take the entry level certification for electrical craft helper and entry in to various Utility Lineman Apprentice Program such as: DWP, SCE, SG&E, PG&E.

It is recommended to begin with the fundamentals certificate of achievement and then move to the larger certificates and then complete the degree programs.

The certificates are stack-able meaning as you reach each level the classes build so you do not have to repeat courses that you have already taken. Find out how to enroll.

Northwest Lineman College

At Northwest Lineman College you will graduate from the Electrical Lineworker Program with these certifications:

  • First Aid Certification

  • CPR Certification

  • Climbing Certification

  • Pole-top Rescue Certification

  • Metering Certification

  • Enclosed-space Rescue Certification

  • Aerial-lift Rescue Certification

  • Digger Derrick Safety

  • OSHA 10-hour Construction Safety and Health ET&D card

  • Smart Grid and Electrical Devices Certification (Optional)

  • Crane Operator Certification (Optional)

NLC promotes a positive learning environment where students are challenged, encouraged, and held accountable.

Students are placed in crews where teamwork is emphasized daily.

Electrical Training Alliance of Silicon Valley

Students in the electrical training ALLIANCE training programs at this institution earn while they learn by doing apprenticeships.

Not only does this allow students to earn an income while in school, but it also creates new tax revenue for the economy.

Each year, participants in the electrical training ALLIANCE programs pay in excess of six hundred million dollars in taxes.

This is truly a model program as it takes little to nothing from the taxpayers while training some of the most productive workers in the world who thereby contribute tremendous dollars to the country. Find out more.

What is an Apprenticeship Program?

Apprenticeship is a training strategy that combines supervised, structured on-the-job training with related theoretical instruction.

The training program is sponsored by employers or labor/management groups that have the ability to hire and train in a work environment.

Apprenticeship prepares people for skilled employment, with the content of the training defined and dictated by the needs of a particular industry.

Typical apprenticeship programs span 3-5 years with a minimum of 144 hours of related supplemental instruction each year.

The program requirements are clearly delineated in Federal & State laws and regulations.

A registered apprenticeship requires a signed, written agreement (indenture) between the sponsor and apprentice.

The apprentice agrees to perform the work faithfully with diligence and to complete the related course study.

Lineman training, certificate, and apprenticeship programs in California

Most people who want to become a lineman in California receive their training at the California-Nevada Apprenticeship, East Los Angeles Skills Center, and Northwest Lineman College.

The common employers of lineman in California include Pacific Gas & Electric and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Some local unions for lineman in California include 11 and 18 (Los Angeles), Local 47 (Diamond Bar), Local 100 (Fresno), and Local 340 (Sacramento).

  • Median Journeyman Salary: $97,400

  • 90th Percentile Journeyman Salary: $130,920

  • Estimated Lineman in Region: 6,730

Do I have to go to school to become a lineman?

Yes. Going to any of the lineman schools in California gives you the proper knowledge and training that you need to succeed.

Attending a lineman school is also helpful to see if the lineman career path is right for you.

How do I get a certified journeyman lineman card?

Journeyman lineman cards can be obtained after successfully completing a journeyman lineman apprenticeship.

What is the difference between a distribution and a transmission lineman?

Transmission linemen work on the transmission side of the electric grid. Transmission lines are the big high-voltage lines that transport electricity over long distances, such as from a power generation plant to local substations.

Distribution linemen work on the distribution side. Distribution lines are lower in voltage and transport electricity locally from substations to industrial, commercial and residential users. Are there other lineman schools in California that should be on the list? Please let us know in the comment section.

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