What Does a Line Technician Do?

Dan Cavallari

The term "line technician" can refer to more than one type of job. One type of line technician works at airports or other aviation establishments, usually ones that serve non-commercial aircraft, tending to various aircraft and ramp duties. Another type works with electrical utilities, repairing or otherwise maintaining overhead lines or other electrical components within an electrical grid in a city, town, or other region. People who work in this profession must complete a high school education, though a college education is usually not necessary. Training in the field and an apprenticeship will most likely be required.

Some technicians are trained to work on power lines.
Some technicians are trained to work on power lines.

A line technician apprenticeship will give a potential line tech the experience and skills necessary to safely complete all tasks associated with the job. The techs will work with electrical components that have the capability to injure or even kill a person, so proper training is required. The apprenticeship may last anywhere from one to five years, during which time the apprentice will work with a more experienced line technician. In some cases, an apprenticeship may not be necessary, but experience in the field or in a related field will be required.

A line technician may be required to wear protective gear such as hard hats.
A line technician may be required to wear protective gear such as hard hats.

The physical requirements of the line technician position may be somewhat stringent, since the line tech may need to climb utility poles, do long reaches, stand for long periods of time, or perform heavy lifting. A line technician will often use heavy machinery, and he or she may stand in a telehandler that will lift the worker off the ground to reach overhead lines. These job hazards can increase the danger of taking such a position, but the technician will also use specific safety equipment to reduce the risk of injury. Hard hats, eye protection, gloves, and harnesses are usually worn to help prevent injury while on the job.

Another aspect of the line technician position is the installation of utility poles. This may include the use of large augers and other heavy machinery, and again, this job can be dangerous. Installing such poles usually requires training in the proper use of the tools and installation of the pole. Line techs will often end up working long hours, especially during and after severe storms, to restore power and run power lines. Sometimes utility poles will need to be removed after they are blown down in storms and replaced with new poles quickly to ensure safe and efficient power delivery.

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