About the Program

As an apprentice with NW Line, you will be trained on the job to become a Journeyman Lineman. You will build, maintain, and repair the powerlines that carry electricity to homes and businesses. Linemen do all the work from the point of generation (power plants) all the way to the customer’s meter. You will be working on powerlines in rural or metropolitan areas, from overhead structures (upwards of 300 feet) to underground vaults and trenches.

people on powerlines

Job Functions

Being a lineman means utilizing a number of different types of heavy machinery like digger derricks, aerial lifts, backhoes, and cranes to build and maintain powerlines. As part of your apprenticeship training, you will learn to use this equipment and receive official certification.

Lineman Duties

  • Assembly and erection of substation
  • Establishing OSHA and customer safety requirements
  • Installing and maintaining an underground distribution system
  • Installing and maintaining insulators
  • Installing and maintaining traffic signals and outdoor lighting
  • Installing and maintaining transformers and other equipment
  • Maintaining and repairing overhead distribution/transmission lines
  • Planning and initiating projects
  • Setting towers
  • Stringing new wire or maintaining old wire
  • Supervising groundman and apprentices
  • Use of tools

How to Apply

Interviews for the Outside Lineman Apprenticeship are held periodically throughout the year and will be posted on our calendar. To qualify for an interview, each applicant must have their completed application on file.

Application Requirements

  • Commercial Drivers License (Class A)
  • Current copy of 1st Aid/CPR certification (online certifications are not accepted)
  • Official (sealed) high school transcript with graduation date -OR- Official GED Certificate
  • Official proof of one year of High School Algebra or one term of college Algebra with a passing cumulative “C” grade or equivalent.
  • Valid driver’s license indicating you are 18 years of age or older.

Other Recommendations (not required)

  • CDL Tanker Endorsement
  • Current flagging/traffic control certification
  • Industry-related certifications: crane operator, heavy equipment, etc.
  • Sign the out of work books at IBEW outside locals
person on crane

Apprenticeship Includes

As the Northwest’s only construction line apprenticeship training program, NW Line offers applicants a path to a meaningful, high-paying career. An apprenticeship is your chance to learn on the job and receive the real-world experience you will need to excel as a Journeyman Lineman

Lineman and helecopter

Apprenticeship Features

  • College credit - Apprentice training can earn you college credits provided by the American Council of Education
  • Medical insurance - Provided for you and your dependents, 100% paid and not deducted from your pay
  • Retirement - Linemen receive access to retirement programs that help to ensure a secure financial future.


  • 1st Step 1000 hours 60% of Journeyman Wage
  • 2nd Step 2000 hours 63% of Journeyman Wage
  • 3rd Step 3000 hours 67% of Journeyman Wage
  • 4th Step 4000 hours 72% of Journeyman Wage
  • 5th Step 5000 hours 78% of Journeyman Wage
  • 6th Step 6000 hours 86% of Journeyman Wage
  • 7th Step 7000 hours 90% of Journeyman Wage
  • Current Journeyman Wage: $53.82 (as of 2-1-20)

Medical Insurance

As an employee in the electrical industry under the Four Local Agreement, you will receive insurance benefits for yourself and your dependent family, including health, dental and vision insurance. The insurance is provided 100% by the contractor and is not deducted from your paycheck. The health insurance plan provided allows you to see any doctor you wish, anywhere in the country.

Retirement Plans

In a time when most companies are cutting back on retirement benefits, the outside electrical industry offers two outstanding retirement benefits to ensure you and your family a secure financial future.  This includes the National Electrical Annuity Plan (NEAP), National Electrical Benefit Fund (NEBF), a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), and Long Term/Short Term Disability benefits, all paid by your employer.

College Credit

Because your apprenticeship is more than just on-the-job training, you are eligible to earn college credit issued by the American Council of Education (ACE) and/or through a Local Community College.


Veterans may be eligible for educational benefits while working their way through the apprenticeship program. Once you have been indentured, our Certifying Official will work with you to get your benefit claim going.


How long are you on the rank list for?

You will remain on the rank list for two years or until your indentured into the program.

How often is the rank list updated?

Every time interviews are held the rank list is updated. You will be notified by email of your new rank.

When are apprentices selected for the apprenticeship?

Applicants are offered apprenticeship positions based on industry need. NW Line Contractors contact the NW Line JATC when an apprentice is needed on a crew. If all current apprentices are working, the apprenticeship then calls the first person on the ranked applicant list and offers them an apprenticeship position. Each year offers a unique situation and the number of applicants offered apprenticeships.

Once an application is complete, what is the next step?

Once your application is complete, you will be scheduled to interview with the Committee (made up of line contractors and members of the local unions). They will score you based on everything they’ve learned about you from your application documents and your interview including your background, attitude, interests, etc. Interviews last approximately 10 to 15 minutes which will give you the opportunity to impress upon them why you are a good candidate for the apprenticeship. Your scores from the interview will be averaged, and that average is used to place you on the ranking list with all previous applicants who have yet to be called into the program. So, if you score high, you’ll move right to the top of the list regardless of how long other applicants have been waiting. Applicants that interview in the next cycle will be added to the same list, in the same manner. If you are not indentured, your name will be removed from the list after two years.

How do you get started in the apprenticeship for Outside Construction Lineman?

Determine if being a lineman is right for you. Being a journeyman lineman isn’t for everyone. Although the job pays well and provides excellent benefits, a lineman is often asked to work outside in unfriendly weather conditions, climb high poles (if you’re afraid of heights, you can stop reading right now) and do physically and mentally demanding work. The job can also require a fair amount of travel, which can mean many nights away from home. If this sounds like something you want to do, the the next step would be to create an account to start your online application. It can take up to 24 hours for your account to be approved. Once your account is approved you will receive an email with a link to start your online application.

Is there an application fee?

Yes, $35.

What are the travel requirements?

During your apprenticeship training, you are required to work within the entire geographical jurisdiction of the program. As an apprentice of the NW Line JATC, you will work under the four local NECA/IBEW which covers IBEW Locals 77, 125, 483 and 659 covering all of Oregon, Washington, Northern Idaho and Northern California.

What is the job outlook and where can your career take you?

Currently there is a nationwide shortage of trained journeymen lineman, so prospects look good. Your experience at Northwest Line JATC assures potential employers of your capabilities.

Here’s the good news about working as a journeyman lineman. There is no seniority or tenure in the electrical power line construction industry. This means that a graduate could be immediately promoted to foreman or other supervisory positions, without regard to seniority. So, there is no waiting for 10 or 15 years for enough people to leave or retire in order to be promoted. It is based solely on knowledge and ability.

Many journeymen linemen who have made the transition to supervisory positions have used their technical and management skills to pursue careers as teachers/instructors, independent biness owners, inspectors and consultants.

What are your career prospects as a journeyman lineman?

With proper training and ongoing education, journeymen linemen can advance to supervisory positions. Some may go into teaching/training or manage their own electrical contracting business. In addition, throughout the training process and on-the-job experience, you’ll be learning valuable skills which you can put to good use in your future. These include interpersonal communications, supervision, project management and teamwork skills.

Where can you take an algebra class if you don’t have a “C” or better?

Algebra classes can be taken at any college, or you can take the Online Tech Math Class offered in conjunction with the NJATC and the University of Tennessee. Simply log on to http://www.njatc.utk.edu/techmath.htm and register.

Are there fees associated with the apprenticeship?

After the initial purchase of your tools there are no upfront costs. A fee of 60 cents for each hour worked will be withheld by the contractor.
There will be additional travel expenses that you are responsible for throughout your apprenticeship.

Are apprentices required to attend school?

Yes, each apprentice attends three years of related training made up of a combination of classroom and lab training or “camp” training.

Classroom sessions are typically 8 hours per day and introduce apprentices to job related information and hands-on training.

These classes are a very important part of the apprenticeship program and work in conjunction with the on-the-job training in preparing each apprentice to become an outside electrical journeyman.

Camp Rilea is held in Warrenton, Oregon each spring. Camp Rilea training includes climbing, distribution, transmission hot sticking, along with related safety topics, rigging & transformer skills.

First and second year apprentices attend 10-day sessions at Camp Rilea. Third year apprentices attend a 5-day session. Room and board are provided for apprentices while attending Camp Rilea.

How long is the apprenticeship program?

The program is approximately 4-year program 7,000 hours on the job training. During this time, you’ll advance through seven (7) steps of the program. After completing each of these steps, your pay rate will increase, coming closer and closer to that of the journeymen linemen you’re working and training with.

How does my previous experience count towards credit in the apprenticeship?

Experience for work performed on a line crew MAY be given credit toward your first advancement. Documentation must be submitted prior to your interview, be on company letterhead and must be specific in the type of work. Work experience must be work performed on a line construction crew under the direct supervision of a journeyman lineman. Documentation will be reviewed by the committee and you will be asked about your experience during the interview process.

Prior to your indenture your file is reviewed and credit awarded based on documentation submitted.

Start your future as a union lineman