(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The job of an electrical lineworker is not for the faint of heart.
It involves the high-risk challenge of working with electricity on utility poles in all types of weather while providing a vital service to a community.
That said, the courageous men and women who become lineworkers love their work and the hefty paychecks that come with it, and many of them begin the journey to this lucrative career in the Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology program at Texas State Technical College.
Following are some must-have facts about the program that prospective students need to know to be successful at TSTC and transition into a career in the field.
Individuals must be mentally and physically strong and cannot be afraid of heights. A commitment to the program is key, and students should be good hands-on learners.
Angel Toledo, TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker program director in Harlingen, said students are made aware of these facts on the first day of classes.
“Overcoming a fear of heights is crucial for this program and future career because you are guaranteed to spend a lot of time working at a high elevation,” he said. “Safety procedures are taught firsthand and enforced in our program. Students train with these tactics, and it allows them to become comfortable while they climb the poles.”
Toledo added that the program is structured for success.
“Students receive hands-on practice from experienced lineworkers,” he said. “If they can commit to the duration of the program, they will have a rewarding career.”
Candelario Deanda, a TSTC Electrical Lineworker instructor, said an important aspect of the program is learning about safety equipment.
“(Students) have to learn how to trust the equipment because that’s what will save their lives,” he said. “We do teach the students how to fall, and we use safety precautions during that exercise. It teaches them how to trust their equipment.”
Francisco Lucio, of San Benito, is a fifth-semester student in the program. He said the work that lineworkers perform intrigued him at an early age.
“I used to be curious about where the power comes from, where the lines travel and how the power is generated,” he said. “Now that I’m a student in the program, I have learned the answers to that and much more.”
Jose Vargas, another program student from San Benito, said he developed an interest in the lineworker field through his father.
“My father is a meter reader at an area utility company, and he mentioned the work lineworkers do,” he said. “I’m currently in the third semester of the electrical lineworker program, and the education is great. The instructors have industry experience, and I’m learning a lot.”
According to onetonline.org, electrical power-line installers and repairers can earn an average annual salary of $65,730 in Texas. The website projected that there would be a 24% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion in Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology at its Abilene, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall and Waco campuses.
The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee, which refunds a participating graduate’s tuition if he or she has not found a job in their field within six months of graduation.
Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.