Energy Transmission and Distribution Workers


Employment Prospects


Approximately 53,000 power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers and 54,925 electrical power-line installers and repairers are employed in the United States. Electric light and power companies typically employ energy transmission and distribution workers. They may find jobs anywhere there is a power plant. Manufacturing plants that produce electricity for their own use also employ workers. 

Starting Out

Load dispatchers and substation operators usually start off in other positions, perhaps entering as helpers or assistants. Depending on the openings that develop, the workers' preferences, and results of aptitude tests, they may be assigned to training for work as a substation operator. Load dispatchers may be chosen from among experienced substation operators. The training for load dispatchers is extensive, lasting several years. After completing initial training, dispatchers usually participate in periodic refresher training to update their skills.

Advancement Prospects

Advancement in these occupations is often related to amount of experience and to receiving additional training at the company. Thus, with experience and training, ground helpers, for example, can become utility lineworkers. Experienced lineworkers, including utility lineworkers and cable splicers, may be promoted to supervisory positions. Expert utility lineworkers may become troubleshooters or trainers.

Load dispatchers and substation operators are promoted to these positions from other jobs inside the plant. Most of these workers continue to advance within the same plant or utility and eventually may become shift supervisors.

Tips for Entry

Visit for job listings.

Land an entry-level job as a helper to break into the field and make valuable industry contacts.

Become certified in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards established by your industry.

Join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and other unions to increase your chances of landing a job and receiving fair pay for your work.