I graduated from Northwest Lineman College in Oroville California on March 2019 and I wanted to share my whole experience with you from start to finish because there’s a lot I wish I had known before starting my career with NLC. First of all when you search Northwest Lineman College reviews in google there is no relevant information or up to date experiences and it’s probably because lineman, or lineman in training, don’t feel like writing a blog about life it’s just not a common trait of the manual laborer. This is going to be about NEED TO KNOW information before attending Northwest Lineman School or potentially any other Line school. I want to help you succeed and hopefully others will start to share their experiences as well.
Is NLC for me?
You have already asked yourself this question and that’s why you’re here looking for guidance from someone who was in your shoes not even a year ago. If you love working with your hands, traveling, and need a quick career change then you are on the right track. For me the decision to attend Northwest Lineman School was the perfect way out of the disappointing and unfulfilling cycle of working a dead end job that would never lead me to personal success. I am sure this sounds familiar to you and you’re going to want to know how you can get out of the loop you are in and begin your journey with one of the most rewarding careers I have ever known.
Things I wish I knew before
I figured I should jump right into the important stuff. There was no one to help me make this decision I didn’t know any linemen and I especially never worked in anything trade related, so I didn’t have all the facts going in I pretty much jumped in blind. Luckily you found me and that’s way more than I had going in.
First things first, Commercial Drivers License, I was under the impression that I would be trained and receive a CDL while attending NLC and while they did provide some guidance, financially, I was unprepared. I don’t want you to end up like me when I was finishing up school and realized that not having a CDL was going to slow me down. The industry just isnt hiring new guys without a CDL at a good percentage, I am sure the jobs are out there but you are going to want more and better options. After all the new guy drives the trucks it’s just the unsaid rule.
There are a few things I would have done differently before attending Northwest Lineman College in Oroville California. Get a Commercial Drivers License prior to attending, this will save you a lot of stress scrambling to get a CDL while focusing on your class work and not to mention the physical labor too(that’s what we love though). My second option, for the eager and ready to get started, would be to plan for it financially add the expected cost to your school loan and jump right in to becoming a lineman. Even with some set backs attending Northwest Lineman College is the best decision I have ever made.
I can tell you about many different housing options that guys I met at school used and I can share with you my personal experience with housing and hopefully that will help you make the right choice for you, because overall who you are really determines the best option.
NLC in Oroville California has a partnership with an Inn that offers rooms from 1-4 occupants, it’s called the Historical Oroville Inn. I opted to have a room for just myself because I tend to be easily distracted and I like my privacy. The Inn is a great choice I have no complaints about the operations going on there and it’s a fairly new partnership so I can only imagine they get better at it.
The single room I stayed in was pretty small I could compare it to a studio apartment without a kitchen. There are two community kitchens that have all the essentials for meal prep. Once a week the Inn actually had dinner with all the students who stayed there to discuss things happening in the inn and that offered a good social interaction away from school to get to know the variety of people who go to NLC. I made friends pretty fast and stayed busy so when I was in my room at the Inn it was all study time. Kids do attend this school, sure they are 18, but they treated to Inn like a dorm at times. Maybe that’s your style I just figured you should know the potential for people to get drunk at the Inn and wrestle on the floor above you is a possibility.
Overall a wonderful experience with a welcoming atmosphere add that the convenience of the partnership and the fact that they were willing to work with my financial situation by spreading out payments, I do recommend the Historical Oroville Inn. If you like your privacy for study time I would suggest requesting a single room early because they do run out. But obviously to save a little money you can share 2 or 4 person rooms.
Some other options I heard about from people I met at school are available. One of my friends rented a house with 3 other guys and the landlord only rents to NLC students so options like that are always there. They got a whole house with individual rooms, off-street parking, and a yard for weekend BBQ. Probably paid less than me after splitting rent too. Lots of guys had their own trailers they towed to Oroville and stayed at a trailer park for the four month period, pretty great option if you have access to a trailer. Many lineman live out of trailers early in their career cause they’re always moving anyway so maybe buying a trailer wouldn’t be such a bad investment.
The Electrical Lineworker Program at NLC
The Electrical Lineworker program at NLC is about how to get started working on crews, understanding electricity, basic construction safety, rigging applications, and finding your apprenticeship. The indoor stuff at NLC covered about half of the day and the instructors are the most passionate, interesting, and entertaining people to work with and learn from. Everything you learn in the classroom will be used in the field, the knowledge of the instructors is so valuable, if there’s anything you need to pay attention to it’s the real life experiences these lineman have been through and there’s no substitute for that kind of raw unfiltered truth. Your tuition is buying the instructors time and it’s well worth it.
The outdoor portion of the day at NLC is all physical labor, as it should be. Climbing, building, tool efficiency, safety awareness, and overall line work. The hands on experience at Northwest Lineman College I believe to be unmatched by any other paid training you can find. First day in the field we started climbing, it was amazing, and my forearms were sore for 4 months straight. Pay attention at every detail while you’re here each skill or lesson builds on the next so try not to miss anything. I watched as people dropped out because they couldnt stop partying on the weekends, NLC is an experience unlike any other, be present, stay sharp, and become a lineman.
Don’t be afraid to start because you don’t think you’re strong enough they don’t measure your character or ability based on physical strength. sure the gifted physically will do well but all the people who graduate push themselves nonstop for 4 months to become who they want to be. I failed a challenge at first, it was the heavy pull, lots of grip endurance and it was dissapointing because I like to see myself as someone who overcomes physical challenges easily. I failed multiple times to have the grip endurance I needed but I never gave up. I took up rock climbing on top of climbing power poles during class, I started using resistance grips for hand strength, and I studied and practiced techniques that could help me complete the challenge. I was in decent shape when I started at NLC and it took me 3 months to complete that challenge.
The moral of the story is that NLC gives you the time to make yourself succeed, you will have all the tools and knowledge necessary to do what it takes to be a lineman. The Electrical Lineworker Program at NLC will test your strength, your learning ability, and your determination, but overall, NLC tests your character. This program will find out if you have what it takes to work a dangerous trade because there’s no room for people who take short cuts.
Where I am after NLC
My class at NLC was given a guaranteed job opportunity at what I would consider one of the greatest telecommunication companies in the world. If you proved your worth and got your Northwest Lineman College graduation certificate then you were given a spot in their paid training with a job in the market location of your choice. Ericsson is a high quality employer, not only did I start getting paid right away, but I also got to learn some very valuable skills in training that will help me become more valuable as an employee for any company.
So needless to say the jobs are there and they pay very well even at entry level. NLC will take you to great heights and give you a rewarding career in the utilities industry. Now is a great time to become a utility worker because safety standards have never been better, the people entering the trade have never been this educated, and the progress is never going to stop.
I hope I addressed all the concerns you may have had about NLC and answered a lot of the common questions about what it’s like to go to NLC. I wrote this review because I saw a need and I have the experience. Just in case I missed something here I want you to comment or send me an email and hopefully I can help guide you to the right decision. firstname.lastname@example.org
all the best,