Linemen are electricians who work on the high-power transmission lines that deliver electricity from the source to the end user. Most linemen are trained through a formal apprentice program. Those who successfully complete their apprenticeship and are qualified to work on their own without supervision are referred to as journeymen. Hourly wages for a journeyman lineman vary based on such factors as geographic location and employer.
The mean hourly wages for electricians in all specialties from across the United States was $25.44 as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent earned more than $39.75 per hour, while the bottom 10 percent earned hourly wages of less than $14.61.
Journeyman Lineman Wages:
Hourly wages for a journeyman lineman who worked for the Northwest Line in Vancouver, Washington were $44.73 as of February 2012. Journeymen linemen who worked for the Mountain States Line in Midvale, Utah earned between $32.12 and $34.04 per hour. Those who completed the Tennessee Valley Authority's Lineman Apprentice Program in Knoxville, Tennessee earned journeyman lineman starting wages of $63,950 per year.
Wages represent only a portion of a journeyman lineman's total compensation. Depending on the lineman's employment and union membership status, he might be eligible for a variety of pension plans, health care insurance coverage and access to legal services. The Tennessee Valley Authority offers its employees flex time work options and dependent scholarships. The National Electrical Benefit Fund offered by the Northwest Line provides journeymen linemen with a pension fund that is fully vested after five years of service.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 23 percent growth in new job opportunities for electricians between 2010 and 2020, which is faster than the anticipated 14 percent growth rate for all occupations. Since electrician jobs are dependent in part on growth in the construction industry, downturns in the economy can cause periods of unemployment for journeymen linemen. The growth of the alternative energy industry should fuel additional demand for journeymen linemen who are trained to connect these power sources to the grid.