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job descriptions

What does a Power Line Technician do?

The great outdoors is your office on most days. You are responsible for the construction, repair and maintenance of high voltage transmission and distribution lines on poles, towers or underground systems. It’s a physically demanding job where you find yourself in all kinds of weather and it often involves working in heights. The adrenaline rush of working atop a 50m transmission tower is not for everyone, but those who enjoy it would never trade their tower of power for an office cubicle.

Construction skills are critical. You must become an expert at erecting and maintaining steel, wood and concrete poles, anchors, guy wires and steel towers. You also hook up power lines and the equipment that makes the grid run smoothly like the communications systems that feed back power monitoring information to a base of operations.

You must be familiar with the tools of the trade, including various hand and power tools, test equipment and special tools for working on energized power lines. Cables, insulators, switches and transformers are an important part of your arsenal. You’ve also got to be good with machines since you are often working with specialised vehicles such as articulated aerial bucket trucks, digger derricks, crane trucks and trenchers.

Power lines run all across our province, which means that you can choose to work in a big city, a rural area or the vast wilderness in between. You get to cover a lot of territory as you investigate power interruptions and customer complaints, patrol and inspect circuits and keep the grid operating at peak performance. If an emergency strikes, you are the first line of defense in troubleshooting and repairing overhead, underground and marine power lines as well as equipment such as street and traffic lights.


What’s the commitment?

It generally takes 3.5 years to complete all three levels of apprenticeship to become a certified Power Line Technician. This includes 15 or 16 weeks of in-school training and 5045 hours in the workplace. Electric power companies, electrical contractors and public utilities are the main employers. Power Line Technician is a ‘Red Seal Trade’, a certification which allows you to exercise your trade in every province of Canada once you are fully trained. Most apprenticeships in BC are regulated by the Industry Training Authority (ITA).
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What do I need to apply?

Apprentices must be eligible to work in Canada.
A high school diploma or equivalent is recommended, including grade 12 English and at least grade 11 Math and Physics. Some employers may set a higher standard.
A good driving record and an ability to work at heights and sometimes harsh weather are important.

To register for an apprenticeship, you will need to send a potential employer your resume, a cover letter and a copy of your high school transcript.

For employer website links click on and for more info visit The Line Contractors Association of BC and The Joint Line Apprenticeship and Trades Training Committee

electricity council Trade Up Programs Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources BC HYDRO IBEW 258 Columbia power Fortis BC Copy Right 2008