System Operator Technician

Apprentice Program


VMDAEC Training Center
1293 Salem Church Road, Palmyra, VA 22963



The Virginia-Maryland-Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC) has developed apprentice training for Power Delivery Programs (PDPs). PDPs are approved by the State of Virginia Department of Labor & Industry (DOLI) and will qualify the individual apprentices for a Certificate Issued from the VA DOLI upon completion.

The apprentice programs are designed for four-years and consist of eight-steps to complete unless otherwise stated (See Course Outline Below). There are specific requirements in the program to ensure competency and proficiency for everyone enrolled in the PDP.



The four-year apprentice training program consists of eight steps. Each step consists of a 32-hour workshop presented at the VMDAEC Training Center and are scheduled at six-month intervals. Each workshop will introduce the student to topics that are relevant to their assigned jobs. As the workshops progress, the materials presented and taught become more difficult and challenge the student to grow in their craft.
The workshops are designed to allow each student to develop or enhance their technical knowledge and demonstrated skills enabling them to execute basic skills when they return to their respective jobs. Each workshop will have training modules with tests and hands-on training in the particular topics being taught. When the student returns to their job they will be prepared to complete the Northwest Lineman College module tests.


When attending each workshop, students will be provided a curriculum package of material to review and learn on-the-job over the next six months. Each curriculum package will provide the student with additional knowledge that builds on previous steps. Students will be required to take written examinations covering the materials learned in the curriculum package. The examinations will be mailed to the VMDAEC meter program instructor for grading and recording. Graded tests will be returned to the student’s utility designated person or department.


An integral part of the curriculum material is the successful completion of the “Job Competency” requirements that are included with each curriculum package. The student must demonstrate their “Job Competency” to their utilities designated person by performing the required job tasks learned. Once the designated utility person is satisfied that the student can perform each task competently, the designated person will sign-off on the “Job Competency Form” and the student is then considered qualified to perform that task.

A signed copy of the completed “Job Competency Form” must be returned to: Dirrick K. Simmons, Safety Training Coordinator, Electric Cooperative Training Center, 1293 Salem Church Road, Palmyra, VA 22963.


Step 1

  • Basic Electrical Theory
  • AC Fundamentals
  • Electrical Systems
  • Introduction to Power Delivery


Step 2

  • Personal Protective Grounding
  • Working on Lines and Stations
  • Introduction to Substations


Step 3

  • System Power Flow
  • Maps and Standards
  • Substation Maps and Standards
  • Disconnects and Switches


Step 4

  • Circuit Breakers
  • Substation Transformers
  • Capacitors, Reactors and Surge Arresters


Step 5

  • Substation System Operation
  • System Operation
  • Substation Communication Systems
  • Introduction to Substation DC Systems


Step 6

  • System Automation
  • Substation System Protection
  • Trouble Investigation
  • Relays




All Apprentice Programs meet the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s (VA DOLI) Standards of Accreditation. The purpose of accreditation is to establish and maintain high educational standards and practices, and to evaluate institutions of higher learning fairly and consistently. The VMDAEC Apprentice Programs meet the requirements and standards of Virginia Administrative Code 16VAC20-21-50 Standards of Apprentice Programs.





Part 1: Register with Northwest Lineman College

Note: All enrollment forms are now digital. Paper forms are no longer accepted.

    1. Email Power Delivery Programs (PDP) at [email protected] with the following:
        • Student name and email address
        • Test Facilitator name and email address
    2. PDP staff will email out the Student Agreement

For the full NLC enrollment process, click here: PDP Enrollment Process


Part 2: Register with the Association below



Monday 1:00 – 5:00
Tuesday – Thursday 8:00 – 4:00
Friday 8:00 – 12:00

Members $800
Non-Members $1,000

Registration will open soon!




For a list of hotels near the training center, with special rates for VMDAEC cooperatives and guests, click here. 

Questions? Contact Dirrick Simmons, at [email protected] or (434) 510-4000.