What is a Journeyman Electrician?

by Steve Coffey  // in Construction, Electrical, General Contractors


Electricians are essential to nearly every aspect of life. Electrical services light our homes and power our computers and devices. Without electricity, nothing in our homes or offices can operate. 

Electrical services rely on expert electricians to install and keep them working Journeymen electricians are electricians that are partially through the training process of becoming master electricians. 

After completing electrician training, some more hands-on work is needed. Basically, a journeyman is a step above an apprentice. 

These trained and experienced electricians can work on their own but will be under the general guidance of a master electrician. 

According to statistics, the average U.S. salary for a journeyman electrician is $54,000 a year. A career as an electrician can be a promising one. Best of all, no college education is needed. 

If you’re interested in possibly becoming a journeyman electrician, read on to learn more about the career and what’s required to become one. 

What is a Journeyman Electrician?

A journeyman is defined as a worker who is skilled in a given trade or craft. Unlike an entry-level apprenticeship, journeymen are skilled. They have completed the formal education requirements needed to work and be employed by someone else. 

If someone wants to become a master electrician, they’ll need to take a certification exam. In addition to the exam, they must work for at least two years as a journeyman electrician. 

Journeymen electricians specialize in electrical wiring systems. This certification is awarded upon successfully completing an apprenticeship program and passing a state exam. Any additional licensing required can vary by state. 

What Exactly Does a Journeyman Electrician Do?

A journeyman electrician performs electrical work and inspections on various electrical components, wiring, fixtures, outlets, and more. 

They also replace and repair electrical equipment and devices as needed. These electricians work with blueprints to determine how specific systems should operate. 

They’ll use that information to troubleshoot electrical problems and figure out the best and safest approach to solving them. Journeymen may work outside as outside wiremen in residential or commercial systems to manage electrical systems inside buildings.

Journeymen must have a strong understanding of building code regulations to ensure compliance. They adhere to the highest standards of building design and construction.

Typical duties include:

  • Interpreting technical drawings for the layouts of various electrical systems
  • Running tests on generators and backup electrical systems
  • Troubleshoot electrical wiring 
  • Diagnosing faulty wiring
  • Complying with OSHA and other applicable standards
  • Checking for and deploying upgrades in electrical components
  • Documenting problems 
  • Preparing reports
  • Facilitating ordering of necessary electrical components

Job Requirements needed often include:

  • Relevant hands-on experience
  • Completion of  a four-year apprenticeship program
  • Electrician license or certification
  • In-depth knowledge of electrical principles, construction and wiring schematics
  • Understanding of the National Electrical Code and other safety standards

How to Become a Journeyman Electrician 

Before you can become a journeyman electrician, you’ll need to understand the process. A journeyman electrician isn’t just a job, it’s a career. Extensive training is required. It takes about five to six years on average to become a journeyman electrician. 

Familiarize Yourself with Various Lines of Work

Journeymen electricians install electrical systems in homes, offices and businesses. They have to inspect and repair wiring, transformers and circuit breakers. You could work as an outside lineman or an inside wireman.

An outside wireman works on all of the electrical lines that connect power generation to the power meter. You can expect to spend more time outside fixing the wiring on poles and towers.

Inside wiremen maintain the electrical systems inside a building. You’ll work indoors on industrial wiring, factory wiring, wiring data, alarm systems, and telecom systems. 

Meet the Minimum Requirements 

You’ll need a high school diploma or the equivalent to become a journeyman electrician. You will also need to be at least 18 years of age to pursue a career as a journeyman electrician. 

Enroll in an Electrician Program at a Vocational College or Trade School

Although you do not necessarily need vocational training at the college or trade school level, it can be beneficial. This training gives you a heads up and opens up opportunities for an apprenticeship. You can learn about electrical codes, electrical theory, workplace safety,\ and more. 

Enroll in an Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job training with classroom instruction. They prepare workers for highly-skilled careers. This is a great opportunity to get the minimum hours needed as you work to learn the skills needed. 

Salary isn’t typically as high as a journeyman’s but is usually equal to about 55 percent. Once an apprentice completes the course of study, they are considered a journeyman.

Determine Licensing Requirements in Your Area

The requirements for becoming a journeyman electrician differ significantly depending on the region where you live.  For specific licensing requirements in your area, contact your local licensing board. 

Getting licensed usually requires working a certain number of hours in the field, studying in a classroom setting for a particular number of hours, and completing a licensing exam. 

In Florida, for example, more cities require 8,000 hours of documented electrical experience and 576 hours of classroom instruction. 

In California, you need to be registered as a trainee, complete 8,000 on-the-job hours, complete 720 classroom hours, and pass a state certification. 

Not all locations require an exam. 

Master electricians have more education than journeymen and require 12,000 hours of work as a journeyman. A master electrician is educated in the fundamentals of electricity, building codes, project management and safety regulations.

Final Thoughts

Being a journeyman electrician can be very rewarding. The career equips you with the necessary skills to install and repair all kinds of electrical systems with or without supervision. 

It’s a stepping stone to becoming a master-level electrician but allows you to earn a generous salary in the process. 

Although it’s an excellent career with a great outlook, it is not always easy to achieve. There are various education and training paths you can opt to take, therefore there is definitely some flexibility in how you achieve this. 

With hard work and dedication, you can succeed in your quest to become a journeyman electrician. 
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About the author Steve Coffey

I am passionate about the building materials industry helping companies all throughout the channel see success and exceed the expectations of their audiences

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