Can a Felon Become a Lineman? -
Finding Employment

Can a Felon Become a Lineman?

Can a Felon Become a Lineman

Felons may think nobody will hire them after serving their sentence, but there are resources available. Many times it takes learning a new trade or starting a different career. Employers have discovered that felons make good employees, which can make it easier than they might think to get a new job.

For those with experience in electrical work, becoming a lineman is an option. This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can become a lineman.

  • What is a Lineman?
  • What is Required to Become a Lineman?
  • How Much Does a Lineman Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action

What is a Lineman?

A lineman is responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining high power lines and above- or below-ground electrical cables.

A lineman might work for:

  • A utility company
  • An electrical contractor
  • A telecommunications company
  • Local or state government agencies

A lineman must have a good understanding of electrical and power equipment. They must also possess knowledge of electrical currents, voltage, and resistance. He or she will need to have strong analytical and problem-solving skills in assessing power cables for repair or replacement.

A lineman has many duties:

  • Construction of overhead and underground voltage power lines
  • Setting polls and anchors
  • Installing guy wires
  • Installing transformers, switches, voltage regulators, and other electrical equipment
  • Relocating, rebuilding, and adding polls to an existing electrical line
  • Trimming trees that interfere with electrical lines
  • Performing pole top and bucket rescue

A successful lineman must have a number of qualifications:

  • Ability to work safely with or without supervision
  • Ability to follow instructions
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to operate equipment including bucket trucks and backhoes
  • Proficiency as a climber
  • Ability to safely use hand tools while on a pole
  • Ability to work in all weather conditions

There are a number of types of linemen positions, but the majority either install or repair electrical or telecommunications lines.

What is Required to Become a Lineman?

Most employers require candidates for a lineman job to at least have a high school diploma or a GED. Lineman programs can be found at some technical colleges. On-the-job training and apprentice programs are also common.

A two-year degree in electronics or electrical contracting can be beneficial for those looking for this type of work. An apprentice will work under a senior lineman. The apprenticeship can last as long as three years.

There are no licensing or certification requirements to become a lineman. Employers will typically require that a job candidate have a CDL license to operate utility trucks.

The candidate might also have to provide a physician’s certificate demonstrating that he or she is physically fit to perform the physical tasks required of a lineman.

An official state apprentice program typically consists of approximately 7000 hours of on-the-job training. This often takes three and half to four years to complete and leads to a journeyman lineman status.

How Much Does a Lineman Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 227,000 working electrical linemen. The median wage for a lineman was $64,190 in 2017. The median wage is that income at which half of the linemen earn less and half earn more.

Experience and skill level could have a significant impact on these earnings. It also depends on where an electrical lineman works. Areas of the country that are the highest paying for linemen are in the northeast and northwest parts of the country.

Job growth for linemen and is expected to be 8% from 2014 to 2024. Continued development of new housing communities and businesses along with expanding suburban areas will lead to part of this increased growth. In addition, retirement of older linemen will also increase the growth rate.

An Opportunity for Felons?

While the exact requirements for felons to become a lineman differ somewhat depending on the state, typically the regulations indicate that felons with certain convictions are not eligible to work as a lineman. These include felons with an offense:

  • Against children
  • That is sexual in nature
  • Against property like theft or burglary
  • Of homicide, kidnapping, or assault

Typically, a criminal background check will be conducted before hiring a lineman. A number of factors will be taken into consideration, including:

  • Circumstances surrounding the offense
  • Number of offenses
  • Age of the time of conviction
  • Evidence of performing the same type of work with no incidents of criminal behavior
  • Any rehabilitation efforts like additional education or training
  • Employment or character references regarding fitness as a lineman
  • Bonding under a federal, state, or local bonding program

In order to be successful in their pursuit of becoming a lineman, it’s essential for felons to be honest about their background. They’re already working with the negative perceptions of being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

There are re-entry programs, such as drug treatment, and educational opportunities for felons who need them. For many felons, having their felony expunged can give them the chance they need to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming an electrical lineman.

Recommended Action

It’s a significant challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon that wants to become a lineman. Having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs or additional education could make the essential difference in a felon succeeding.

Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life no matter how difficult it might seem.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a lineman with a felony? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.

4 responses to “Can a Felon Become a Lineman?”

  1. Troy says:

    I’m 31 trying to find a career as a lineman. However, I caught felony charges (non sexual, non child related) at the age 18. Did my sentence turned my life completely around. I’ve been stuck in job positions living pay check to pay check. I’m ready to live out my pontential, grow my life, and actually have a career. Every where I’ve looked for lineman school they will not accept felons. I’m just wanting a chance that’s all.

  2. Troy zerna says:

    My name is also Troy and I want more.Im willing to work and I want to succeed. I need help as well.But one of my obstacles is I have 2 DWI ‘s from when I was 20 years old and I’m not sure how to get more in life

  3. jon willard says:

    I’m in the same boat. I struggled with drugs. Fuckin heroin. It’s a monkey on your back once you get going. I get busted with it. I did communications linework for 3 years and climbed some 50,60,70, and a 90 footer. The pay sucked dick. No future in it. Co worker fucked up and contacted 19,900 volts. Quick and painless death. I sobered up and was deadset on doing power work. Life threw a curveball, a God damned helluva curveball. I almost had an opportunity to get on a power job. Drugs hit again. I was at a fuckin Shell gas station makin 9 bucks an hour. Easy spot to get back on the shit, who gives a fuck workin there. Companies hire felons and addicts to do shit work, total shit work. I worked in West VA as the only lineman on the crew, wearing hooks all day. I know I’d love the work, climbing some, bucket some, actually getting to put my hands on high voltage. It sucks to think I’ll never be able to get into it. I’m 42 and have heard of a 52 yr old line apprentice getting into it. I keep my hopes up. I’m 42 and physically able. Hell, I’ll be able til I’m 70.

  4. jon willard says:

    Try contractors. Nobody used to want to become a lineman and work contractor. They used to use criminals. Nowadays, the pay is so good everybody wants to do it. It’s like motorcycles, people used to avoid riding them because badboys were the ones doing it. Then it became cool, so everyone does it. Linework the same. I been busted with dope so many fuckin times, simple possessions, the courts ready to fuck my entire world up for life. Getting in my dream job seems unlikely, but the only thing you can do is try. There’s no other job like it in the world. So if you don’t get in buddy, I’m sorry, very sorry. No other job can fill the shoes of that sort of work. You get to take the risk daily. What big boy wouldn’t want to do that? Utilities get their picks of the litter for sure. Contractors are getting the same way. Sucks if it don’t happen for you dude, I feel for you. There’d be nothing like storm restoration, gloving 34kv, so on and so on.

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