A lineman is a tradesman who is trained to erect and maintain outdoor wires or cables and their associated equipment. The most common lineman jobs are those that involve power lines, but they also include working to install other types of pole-connected wires such as those for cable television, fiber optics and telephone lines. Each of these different lineman jobs also include journeyman and apprentice positions. The term "lineman" is used only for those employed in the field or in outside work. If the same or similar work is done inside, they are often called another term, such as electricians.
Power companies are the primary employers of linemen. Electric power is widely accepted as a necessity for modern life, and those who work to install and maintain the poles and wiring are essential. It is not a male-only position, but the name “lineman” has stuck, and it is still referred to as such in most job postings and job descriptions. The position does not require a college education, but it does require a person who can be adaptable, agile and thorough in his or her work. Electrical lineman jobs are in demand in most regions.
The position of lineman requires a good deal of training and on-the-job experience. It is common for apprentice lineman jobs to be a first step toward the better-paying position of lineman. As an apprentice or journeyman, a person works under the guidance of an experienced lineman to learn the trade. He or she experiences the job by being a helper under the direct supervision of a skilled person in order to develop the skills to become a lineman.
Lineman jobs also are available with telephone, cable and optic companies as the need and demand for these services spread through out the world. The job skills required are often the same as those for a power lineman job. The primary role of these types of lineman jobs is the installation and maintenance of the equipment on the pole. The nature of the equipment will vary between the various types of companies using linemen. For example, a telephone lineman will not handle electrical power lines, but they are often placed on the same poles as telephone lines, so safety standards are still in place for all linemen to follow.
Maintaining power, cable and telephone lines creates the need for many journeyman lineman jobs as well as full lineman positions. Weather is a common factor causing the need for linemen, because a storm or adverse weather can cause a lot of damage in a very short amount of time. Linemen jobs generally provide a good bit of job security because the services that linemen provide are constantly in demand.