Safety Tower Climbers

Becoming a Tower Climber: What to Do & What to Avoid

September 19, 2018

A Unique Breed

As we mentioned in my previous article, Tower climbers are a unique breed. This is a job that most people would consider overwhelming or impossible. If you think you’re ready to join the tower world and climb to your work station in the sky – you’re going to want to know the best way to become a climber. What you should do as a first step, what to know and also – what to avoid.

Getting Your Foot In The Door

The absolute best way to become a climber is to know someone in the industry that is working for a reputable company who is hiring and apply. Each company is REQUIRED to provide all the safety training and safety gear per OSHA so that will help identify a legitimate company from the others. What do you do if you don’t know anyone in the industry? I would recommend browsing through tower oriented social media groups/sources as many are loaded with a wealth of information and job opportunities.

As a green hand (someone new to the industry), your best bet is to look for the larger companies in need. They typically have frequent in-house training programs available which allows them to hire at a much faster rate. Look out for opportunities where you can send a resume, this puts you in direct contact with a specific person. A lot of companies will tell you to apply online and I can tell you from my personal experience that I’ve wasted countless hours doing that only for it to never be seen. That’s not always the case, but direct contact produces far more results. After direct contact happens, if they ask you to apply online, then I would follow their directions.

Once an offer is made be sure to get it in writing, make sure every detail is listed such as, how much per hour, your per-diem rate, your paydays, etc. If it’s not in writing, then it’s your word against theirs, be self-protecting.

Another way to get your foot in the door is to blindly show up at a tower company near your location, search for local tower companies online. Go in and physically apply, speak to a few people, shake some hands. Showing your eagerness carries a lot of weight in the tower industry. It shows that you’re a “go getter”, it also lets them get familiar with who you are and how you carry yourself. Even if they aren’t hiring now, you will stand out more than the person who emails a resume. The next time they are in need of a reliable employee who is local, they will likely call you.

Talk To Other Climbers

Shameless Plug: Tower Climbers of America – join the group. Ask questions, see what’s out there. Talk to other people in the industry about their experiences. On the TCofA Community, you’ll find climbers from all walks of life, located around the world talking about their work day, sharing trade secrets and discussing opportunities. As I mentioned above, the best way to become a climber is to know someone in the industry – in this group, you can ask around and see what opportunities may be available.

Things To Avoid

I’ve personally seen several companies pitching industry related classes or schooling, claiming once you’ve completed them (at a hefty cost), you will have a bunch of companies begging you to work for them, but that’s not the truth. They claim you will be a “certified tower worker” but none of the certifications they give you are industry recognized. The only industry recognized certifications are a select few (like Climber and Rescue, Rigging, CPR & First Aid, Rope Access or SPRAT, etc.) and they must be from a recognized source.

When applying to companies, I always “Google” the company name to see if anything pops up. You can find out a lot by doing this, but when nothing comes up, that’s a red flag. I also get concerned when the company does not have an email address. If I’m asked to send my resume to an @yahoo.com, @gmail.com or something like that – it raises some questions. There are some good companies that don’t have a webpage or corporate email but not many. In most cases it’s a fly by night operation who may or may not have a legit DBA or Inc status. Those fake companies typically don’t have the financial backing to make payroll and rely on payment for the job they are currently working to do anything. If the job doesn’t go as planned or they don’t get paid for some reason guess who else doesn’t get paid? This is an ongoing problem in the tower industry, so you need to be careful.

It’s A Good Time To Be A Climber

At the moment, there are more jobs than workers in the tower industry. It’s a good time to be a climber. Before you embark on this journey, you’ll want to consider all the aspects of the job. The pluses, the minuses and the strategies for growth once you commit. If you want to learn more, I encourage you to read my “Can’t Climb Forever” series on Site Pro 1 Connection.

Jeremy Sinclair

Jeremy has been in the industry for over 24 years and is the founder of Tower Climbers of America. TCofA started as a small Yahoo group of around 16 members and has now grown to boast over 22,000 members around the globe. Learn More