When it comes to designing and constructing cable lines for communication and power purposes, transmission line engineers are at the forefront of the planning and implementation process. These engineers work with teams or independently as consultants to determine what is needed for a project. Training to provide these calculations and recommendations is available through an engineering bachelor's degree program, which is generally the minimum educational requirement for employment and licensure.
Transmission line engineers design and analyze transmission lines, which are cables and other media specifically designed for power distribution and telecommunication purposes. They may develop designs within an office setting as well as review potential construction sites in the field. A bachelor's degree in electrical or civil engineering is required for entrance into this field.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||State licensure may be required; applicants must complete four years of work and pass the 2-part examination|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||-1%* (for electronics engineers, except computer)|
|Median Annual Salary (2016)||$70,934**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
Job Description for a Transmission Line Engineer
Transmission line engineers typically begin a project by meeting with peers and clients to determine specific system needs and requirements, such as power usage specifications. These professionals then begin researching potential materials, equipment and designs to fit system requirements. Next, transmission line engineers use computer-aided design software (CAD) to create mathematical models and system designs. Lastly, they test these designs to check electrical clearances, perform sag-tension analysis and evaluate other parameters.
Duties of a Transmission Line Engineer
Transmission line engineers often are responsible for coordinating project development with sales teams. In this role, engineers develop budgets, including preparing construction bids for labor, materials and equipment. These professionals also might conduct product demonstrations, provide project status updates and field technical inquiries. Other duties may include scheduling materials deliveries and assisting with contract negotiations.
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Transmission Line Engineer Requirements
Aspiring transmission line engineers must complete an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)-approved bachelor's degree program in electrical or civil engineering. Bachelor's degree programs generally last four years and include both general education classes as well as courses in circuit theory, digital signal processing and fluid mechanics. Students also may take CAD courses and use advanced designing principles to create, analyze and review models.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all states require engineers to be licensed if they provide their services to the public. While requirements may vary by state, licensure generally includes completing an ABET-accredited program, showing four years of documented work experience and passing a 2-part state examination. College graduates may consider taking the first part of the exam on the fundamentals of engineering. Those who pass the exam are referred to as engineers-in-training (EITs).
EITs with four years of documented work experience are qualified to take the second licensing exam, principles and practice of engineering. Those who successfully complete the exam become professional engineers (PEs). Some states require PEs to complete continuing education, which may include completing college-level coursework, attending educational seminars or publishing research papers.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the BLS, job prospects for electronics engineers (except computer engineers), who are similar to transmission line engineers, are expected to decrease by -1% between 2014 and 2024, which is below the national average for all careers. Prospects for civil engineers, who also share some similarities with transmission line engineers, are expected to increase by 8% in the same time period. PayScale.com, as of October 2016, reports that the median annual salary for transmission line engineers was $70,934.
Transmission line engineers often work with teams to plan, design and implement projects, but they may also create project budgets, make bids, create computerized models of design plans and negotiate with vendors. Becoming an engineer requires going through an approved bachelor's degree program, and then individuals must complete the state licensure process, which is often done in two parts and over the span of 4+ years. Statistics specifically for transmission line engineers are not available, but data from the BLS shows that electronics engineers can expect a decline in available positions between 2014 and 2024, whereas civil engineers will experience an almost 10% increase in available job opportunities during that same decade.