Frequently Asked Questions
There is a lot to consider when you're thinking about starting the apprenticeship program. Some of the typical questions from interested apprentices are below. Feel free to contact us with any additional questions you have about our program.
About the Application/Interview Process
How do I get an interview?
Interviews for each area are scheduled every three to four months with twenty applicants scheduled for each interview session.
What happens at the interview?
Each applicant is personally given a verbal interview by a committee. This committee is made up of people representing the contractors and the union. Each area has its own committee. The size of the committees range from 4 members to 14 members depending upon the area. After the personal verbal interview, each committee member gives the applicant a score from 0 to 100 with 100 being the best. This score is based on the applicant's background, attitude, interest and personal traits.
What happens after the interview?
After all the interviews are complete, the information is sent back to the Iowa office and the scores are averaged. This "average" number is assigned to the applicant. All applicants who have interviewed have their average score "slotted" onto an ongoing Ranking List with the highest score at the top of the list. A score of "92" is slotted between the "93's" and the "91's". So it does not matter if they interview first, last, this month or next month, the important thing is their place on the Ranking List.
How does the ranking list work?
An applicant's place on the Ranking List changes all the time. As applicants are taken off the list (to be indentured or who are no longer interested), all those below are advanced up the list. As new applicants are interviewed, their names and average scores are slotted onto the list as well. Each applicant will remain on the list for two years or until they are placed or indicate they are no longer interested.
How does my previous experience count towards credit in the apprenticeship?
Part of the application package includes a previous experience form. All forms are reviewed by the committee just before the applicant is called in for the verbal interview. Questions will be asked about the experience during the interview. After the interview and the scoring, the committee unanimously agrees on the amount of credit to award that applicant. The committee may or may not award all the hours claimed by the applicant. The committee cannot grant hours that are not presented at the interview.
How are applicants selected for the apprenticeship program?
When the local union determines the need to start additional apprentice(s), they contact the apprenticeship office in Iowa, who in turn notifies the top applicant(s). The top applicant(s) are given the time, date and location for the pre-apprenticeship orientation class. After successful completion of the orientation class, the applicant will be indentured and assigned to an employer to begin their on-the-job training.
What is "indenture"?
The dictionary defines indenture as, "a contract obligating one party to work for another for a designated period of time". The day an applicant starts their apprenticeship will become his/ her indenture (start) date. This indenture date will be used when registering the apprentice with the United States Department of Labor.
Do I choose which contractor I will work for?
Each apprentice is assigned to their jobs. Journeymen linemen, ground men, equipment operators, etc. are referred to their jobs. In order to obtain the diversity in all types of training, most apprentices will get to work for more than one contractor during their apprenticeship.
About the Training Program
How long does it take to complete the training?
This program is set up as a four-year apprenticeship, however, each individual completes at a different time. There is a minimum of 7,000 total hours of required on-the-job training. Of these 7,000 hours, there are specific amounts of required types of training. An apprentice may be in the program beyond the 7,000 hours while working on the specific type of training. Some apprentices finish in less than four years due to previous experience credit or working overtime.
How do the classes work?
Classes are held ten times per year on week days. All classes start at 8:00AM and may last for up to 10 hours. Each apprentice is assigned to a specific class that he/she attends on the scheduled date.
How much traveling do I get to do?
Due to the fact that power lines cannot be built in a factory and shipped to the job site, employees have the opportunity to work in many different locations. After completing their apprenticeship, many Journeymen Linemen choose to travel and work all across the country. Some even take jobs overseas working on power lines for foreign companies, while others prefer to stay working in one area.
How much does this training cost?
There are no out-of-pocket costs associated with the Missouri Valley Line Constructors and Apprenticeship Training Program. All tuition fees ($4,460) are waived if you work for a contributing contractor for a period of five years or 8,000 hours after completing step six in the seven-step program. Otherwise, you will be required to pay the full tuition costs for every 2,000 hours worked. The amount owed will be pro-rated.
The workbooks and text references cost a total of a little more than $750.00. The apprentices buy each year of books as they advance through the program rather than pay for all the books up front.
All safety related tools (hard hat, rubber gloves, safety glasses etc.) are paid for and provided by the contractors. The apprentices must buy (or have) hand tools and climbing tools. Hand tools consist of lineman's pliers, hammer, crescent wrench, channel locks, skinning knife, etc. Climbing tools consist of a body belt, pole strap (safety) and climbers (hooks). To buy (top of the line) all required tools will cost no more than $1,500.00. Many applicants already have some of the required hand tools and some may already have the climbing tools.
Is this apprenticeship for the contractors or utilities?
Missouri Valley apprenticeship is operated by and for electrical contractors and the IBEW union.
About the Benefits
What is the pay scale?
There are seven step levels in the program and apprentice's pay rate is based on their step level. Each step level is a percentage of the journeyman lineman's wage rate for that local (each local is different). A first step, entry level apprentice makes 60% and each level after the third step is a 5% increase. So a 7th step (highest level) makes 90% of the journeyman lineman's wage.
After an apprentice completes all the requirements and passes the Journeyman Lineman Exam, their apprenticeship is then complete and they make 100% of the journeyman lineman's wage. The AVERAGE journeyman lineman's wage for this area is $41.94 per hour. Contact the local union or apprentice office to find out the current journeyman lineman's wage for that local.