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​Journeyman Vs. Master Electrician


The experience ladder of an electrician goes a little something like this: apprentice, journeyman, and master electrician.


As an apprentice, you work as an electrician in training under the tutelage of a master electrician. A journeyman electrician title is what comes after you’ve completed your apprenticeship and you’re able to work independently with only basic guidance from a master electrician. Once you’re a master electrician, you’re the head honcho.


A journeyman and a master electrician have similar roles, but they are different in a few major ways.

Journeyman Electrician

Becoming a journeyman isn’t a short process. It’s 8,000 hours of training as an apprentice spread out over a four-year period. You are not yet able to supervise other journeymen or apprentices; that’s a job strictly for the master electrician. But don’t despair, the more time spent in your training, the more tasks you’ll be able to do without supervision.


Working as a journeyman, you’ll follow the permits, plans, and directions that are issued by the master electrician. You are, however, licensed to work without any supervision if you’re:


  • Installing outlets, wiring, and fixtures

  • Addressing breaker fails or non-functioning lights

  • Completing service work


To become a master electrician, you must gain all the additional experience.


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Master Electrician

To become a master electrician, you will need two more years of training beyond those you received to become a journeyman. After completing your supervised training, you’ll take classes to earn a master electrician certification at a trade school or an industry training program. There is also a test you must pass if you’re to become a licensed master electrician.


You’ll be educated in electricity fundamentals, building codes, project management, and safety regulations, and your responsibilities as a master electrician will include:


  • Laying out wiring systems

  • Determining the type of wiring, connections, or terminations needed

  • Designing the routing of circuits

  • Supervising apprentices and journeymen


Once you are a master electrician, you will be able to run your own company or work as a contractor. By law, you will have to maintain your own insurance coverage if you’re a contractor.

Train The Same

Whether you’re a journeyman or a master electrician, you have extensive work experience. But, you need to take several advanced courses, along with completing a required number of field hours.


There are continuing education courses you’ll need, in order to keep up to date on all the latest and greatest in technology, regulations, and other educational information necessary to the career.


Certification and licensing requirements all vary by state so check with your licensing board to find out what you need to do.


When it comes to electricity, both the journeyman and the master electrician are capable of handling the power—how far do you want to go with your career?


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Further reading: Becoming an Electrician: Journeyman and Master

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