What Is the Difference Between Linemen and Electricians?

Many people believe that Linemen and Electricians are two names for the same profession but this is far from the truth. Although their basic training and education is similar, the actual tasks performed by Linemen and Electricians is very different.

Linemen (also called Linesmen (UK), lineworkers, power line technicians) are Electricians who work primarily outside. They are responsible for installing and maintaining power transmission lines as well as installing and maintaining telephone, TV, and fiber optic cables. Their duties include fixing broken power and telephone lines, repairing and replacing utility pole transformers. They often need to climb the pole or use a bucket truck in order to reach what they need. Linemen often have to work with live electrical lines and apparatus so they use personal protective equipment like rubber gloves, rubber sleeves, bucket liners, protective blankets, etc. Because of the large weight of many of the apparatuses used by Linemen, these tradesmen need to have a good understanding of rigging techniques and use of ropes in order to lift equipment.

Electricians are tradesmen who are responsible for all electrical within a building. Their duties include running wires and cables through the walls and floor, installing fuse boxes, installing circuit breakers, installing lighting fixtures, etc. They are also responsible for the repair and maintenance of all electrical apparatus within the building. They are not qualified nor are they properly equipped to perform repairs on power lines or transformers that are providing power to the building they are working on. Electricians need to be proficient at planing and following complex electrical plans in order to safely wire a building.

Even though Linemen and Electricians share some similarities they are both very distinct careers. Linemen are responsible for electrical work on power lines and transformers outside while Electricians duties revolve around inside electrical.