Line installers and repairers install and repair electricity wires, power cables and telecommunications fiber optics. They are employed by electricity transmission and telecommunications companies, building contractors and government departments tasked with providing utilities, to conduct installations and repairs out in the field.
Although the procedures for installing and repairing are basically the same, there are instances when specialized knowledge is required. Therefore, you can choose to specialize either in installation and repair of power lines or telecommunications optics.
What Does a Line Installer and Repairer Do?
- Climb up electricity poles and install power lines or lay underground telecommunications fiber optics to connect an area or household to the grid
- Drive utility vehicles and operate equipment such as digger derricks, trenchers, clamp insulators, cable plows, augers, cranes and truck-mounted buckets used to hoist themselves, install, diagnose and remove defective components
- They are called in to inspect the connections whenever there has been a problem such as a power outage
- Periodically test the functioning of the system using prescribed instruments to ensure that it is operating properly and to conduct routine maintenance where necessary
- Open switches or attach grounding devices to neutralize any electrical hazard such as when the electrical line has come loose due to bad weather
Line installers work in extremely hazardous conditions involving heights or depths, high-voltage electricity, underground gas, cramped positions and difficult postures. They can be called out any time to restore service, especially when there is bad weather that interferes with regular power or telecommunications functions. As a result, safety apparel, equipment and training is a constant part of the work.
The median annual pay for power line installers and repairers amounted to $58,210 in2012. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of line installers and repairers in 2012 are shown below:
Electrical power-line installers and repairers
Telecommunications line installers and repairers
Source: Bureau of Labour Statistics
The primary qualification for the job is experience. If you wish to go into this career, you will need to undergo an extensive period of apprenticeship wherein you get supervised on-the-job training. Technical knowledge in subjects such as electricity, electronics, physics, and trigonometry are an added advantage that helps you to stand out from other applicants.
You can acquire these technical competencies by undertaking a college program or calling on previous experience in professions that expose you to this type of knowledge. For example, those who have served in the military are likely to have basic training in these areas. Community colleges sometimes offer these technical courses in conjunction with the local companies and unions, which increase your chances of landing a job with the collaborating organizations.
Skills and Knowledge
The job requires you to be good at working with your hands because the work is manual. As a line installer or repairer, you cannot have a fear of heights or cramped spaces because the job often involves working in these conditions. You may also need to be tested to assure that you are not color-blind and can differentiate between the different-colored cables.
Furthermore, since the job requires physical activity such as hoisting heavy equipment, climbing, balancing and kneeling for extended periods, you will need to be physically fit to qualify for the position. You will also need to demonstrate driving skills and a clean record because you will be operating the company’s utility vehicles. In addition, you will need to be well-versed in all the relevant local government regulations and company safety policies and procedures attending your work.
According to BLS employment of electrical power-line installers and repairers is projected to grow 9 % from 2012 to 2022,. The telecommunications sector is growing much faster, with more people getting connected through fiber optics and old telephone lines being replaced with the new technology. Therefore, there are good job opportunities and bright career prospects in this sector.
If you love installing and repairing electrical power systems or telecommunications cables, then this is the ideal career for you.
Image Source: Woman’s Day