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Army

Line Technician

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time


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Overview

Line Technicians provide fast, reliable, wired communications infrastructure and support to wireless systems utilizing leading edge cable distribution systems. They are part of a larger team that provides the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with communications and information services throughout Canada and around the world. 

Line Technicians expertly install, remove, maintain, and repair leading edge communications infrastructure such as: 

  • Interior structured cable systems, consisting of copper cables, fibre optic cables, and supporting infrastructure
  • The integration of radio, satellite, and microwave broadband equipment and infrastructure into wired networks
  • Communications towers and antennas
  • Fibre optic and copper cable distribution and supporting infrastructure in buildings and military bases

Work environment

Line Technicians experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with working primarily outdoors. Line Technicians work across the country and around the world wherever the CAF has a footprint. Line Technicians are required to work at heights and in confined spaces for extended periods of time, and are required to be well versed in the application of safety standards.

Career Overview

Transcript

MASTER CORPORAL JOSHUA BURTON: I’m Master Corporal Joshua Burton from Bay Roberts, Newfoundland. I’m a Line Technician posted to 2 Headquarters and Signals Squadron at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Ontario.

Line Technicians create physical links for all voice and data networks in the Canadian Armed Forces so that our soldiers, sailors, aviators and Special Forces can share crucial information anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances.

MASTER CORPORAL JOSHUA BURTON: So Line Technicians in the military, they do all the backbone cabling. We do a lot of infrastructure wiring for buildings and we also do outside plant wiring to run mainlines through manholes, pole lines, we install antennas and towers. In a field setting, we wire up Command Post for brigade staff and officers. So we install telephone lines, computers and different combat networks.

Line Techs spend most of their time outdoors. It’s physical, active, challenging work — with very little time behind a desk. They work on both fiber optic and copper cabling as well as strategic antennas to enable the connectivity of communications and information systems for Canadian Armed Forces operations. That can sometimes mean working underground in confined spaces and steam tunnels — or above ground on telephone poles or on steel towers up to 600 feet tall.

MASTER CORPORAL JOSHUA BURTON: I’m absolutely terrified of heights. But the adrenaline and the gratitude I get out of doing my job and working at 150 feet in the air trumps my fear of heights. So I guess you could say I’ve gotten over it in a sense, but that first couple of steps, I always have a little shake and then after 10 feet, I’m good to go.

Line Techs often travel to work at locations all over the world. On international missions, Line Techs are among the first Canadians to hit the ground — wiring headquarters and forward operating bases to create robust and seamless communications links.

MASTER CORPORAL JOSHUA BURTON: So the opportunities to deploy as a lineman are constant — I know various people that are continuously deployed all over the world. Wherever there’s a base, there’s always a need for a lineman. And wherever there’s linemen, somebody wants a phone.

MASTER CORPORAL JOSHUA BURTON: I’ve travelled from coast to coast in Canada, I’ve worked in every province and I’ve even travelled as far as the North Pole. Working up north in Alert and in Nunavut and the various territories, there’s definitely a moment where you kinda pinch yourself and think that you’re dreaming. It’s something I’d never thought I wanted to do, but now that I’ve done it, I can’t wait to go back again. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen — and it’s an experience that I can’t believe I got paid to do.

Once fully trained, Line Techs are assigned to a crew of three to six personnel and work on either antenna or cable projects that typically take up to six weeks to complete. The main hub of activity for Line Techs is 77 Line Regiment headquartered in Kingston, Ontario, which has detachments located across the country, including on every Canadian Armed Forces base or garrison. Line Techs can also be posted to a detachment at one of three brigades across Canada or to the Canadian Forces Joint Signal Regiment in Kingston, where they work on tactical line systems providing links to support peacekeeping, as well as battlefield and humanitarian operations.

MASTER CORPORAL JOSHUA BURTON: So the first couple of years of your career as a Line Technician, you can expect to be running field wire and wiring Command Posts in a field setting, and working in a combat environment.

Reservists fulfill the same role in 23 different Army Reserve units across the country.

MASTER CORPORAL JOSHUA BURTON: I’ve always wanted to serve my country. Doing it in a job that I can have fun with, and developing all these skills and growing as a better Line Technician just makes it much more rewarding to be able to serve my country and do the job at the same time.

Related Civilian Occupations:

  • Line Installer-Repairer Technician
  • Telecommunications Rigger
  • Telecommunications Designer
  • Project Manager

Training

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training Centre for the Basic Military Qualification – Land Course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:

  • Army physical fitness
  • Dismounted offensive and defensive operations
  • Reconnaissance patrolling
  • Individual field craft

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Line Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Communication and Electronics in Kingston, Ontario. Training takes approximately 20 weeks and teaches the following basic skills and knowledge:

  • Working aloft procedures, policy, and practices
  • Confined space procedures, policy, and practices
  • Rescue procedures, policy, and practices
  • Installation of strategic interior cable systems
  • Installation of strategic exterior cable systems
  • Installation of tactical cable systems
  • Installation of Cable Support Infrastructure
  • Cable and supporting infrastructure maintenance

Line Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Complex antenna systems
  • Specialty rescue training (telephone pole; confined spaces)
  • Advanced rigging training
  • Special purpose vehicle qualifications
  • Information Technology training

As they progress in their career, Line Technicians who demonstrate the required ability and potential may be offered advanced training. Available courses include:

  • Communications and information systems management training
  • Telecommunications design training
  • Computer Assisted Design software training
  • Complex Antenna System Installation and Maintenance training.
  • Leadership and management training

Entry plans

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at a military unit in their community and at military bases within the region where they live. Reservists may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training and are not required to move. They can, however, volunteer to move and can also volunteer for deployment opportunities within or outside of Canada.

Reserve Line Technicians serve with the Canadian Army, providing fast, reliable, wired communications infrastructure and support to wireless systems to military units for training and operations. When employed on a part-time or term basis, they usually serve at a Canadian Army Reserve unit in their local community.

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training in their home unit to ensure they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, arrangements will be made for occupational training. Line Technician training takes 20 weeks and is conducted at the Canadian Forces School of Communication and Electronics in Kingston, Ontario. The 20 weeks may be divided into modules in order to help accommodate those with civilian jobs or attending full time studies.

 

Reserve Force Line Technicians usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends. They may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending what type of work is needed. Line Technicians work both indoors and outdoors, in confined spaces, aloft, in buildings, and in temporary field environments. They are paid 92.8 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a benefits package, and can contribute to a pension plan.