What Is an Electrician's Journeyman?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 22, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Electricians install, inspect and repair electrical systems in a variety of industries. Journeyman electricians are electricians who have completed their apprenticeship and can now perform many tasks independently. Learning more about a career as a journeyman electrician and how this role compares to a master electrician could help you determine your personal career goals. In this article, we explain what a journeyman electrician is, provide important career information and compare the role of a journeyman electrician with that of a master electrician.

Related: Types of Electricians

What is a journeyman electrician?

A journeyman electrician is a professional tradesperson in the second stage of the electrician career pathway. They have trained for years as an apprentice and can now work independently. They still report to a master electrician, but they have a license to perform their own electrical work. They can work in commercial, residential and governmental buildings. If they choose to continue on the electrician pathway and want to advance their career, they can study and train to become a master electrician.

Journeyman electricians typically specialize in one of the following areas:

  • Outside lineman: Journeyman linemen specialize in outdoor electricity from the power grid to power meters. They can work on traffic lights, power lines and power towers.

  • Inside wireman: Journeyman wireman specialize in supplying power to residential and commercial buildings. They may install light fixtures, wiring, outlets or security systems.

Related: How to Become an Electrician

What do journeyman electricians do?

Journeyman electricians can install and repair a variety of electrical systems. They can perform a lot of electrical work with minimal supervision. They can work in a variety of industries including automotive, technology or construction. Their responsibilities may vary depending on their specialty, but common duties can include:

  • Inspecting wiring within a building to ensure it's safe

  • Servicing outdoor power lines and poles

  • Evaluating electrical systems to diagnose issues in wiring or circuits

  • Repairing any issues within an electrical system

  • Installing and connecting circuit breakers, electrical switches and outlets

  • Installing new lights, appliances and security systems

  • Reading blueprint plans to install an electrical system in a new building

  • Supervising and training an apprentice electrician and serving as a mentor

  • Maintaining material and labor records

  • Keeping track of inventory and ordering new parts

  • Providing customers with estimates for electrical work

Important skills for journeyman electricians

Journeyman electricians require a specific skill set to perform their job duties. These skills can include:

  • Technical skills: Journeyman electricians must be experts in electrical code and electrical systems in order to perform their job safely. This can vary depending on their specialty but may include using power tools, repairing wires and applying knowledge of safety procedures.

  • Endurance: Being an electrician requires a certain amount of physical ability and stamina. This job can involve standing for long periods, carrying heavy equipment and moving into small spaces. Developing endurance and physical skills can help electricians succeed.

  • Organization: Journeyman electricians often maintain records, including job logs and inventory lists. Strong organizational skills can help them create filing systems to keep information easy to find.

  • Problem-solving: Journeyman electricians need problem-solving skills to troubleshoot issues within an electrical system.

  • Attention to detail: To assess and evaluate systems, journeyman electricians need to pay attention to details. This can help them troubleshoot and repair any issues. It can also help them ensure safety and make sure they're following the correct code.

  • Communication: Journeyman electricians may work with customers, apprentices and supervisors during the day. Strong communication skills can help them collaborate with their teams, explain certain concepts to customers and make recommendations.

  • Mentoring skills: Journeyman electricians can serve as mentors for apprentice electricians. They can help train them, offer advice and recommend strategies.

Related: Electrician Skills: Definition and Examples

Master vs. journeyman electricians

Master electricians and journeyman electricians are both professionals in the electrician industry. They have many similarities and a few important differences. Here are some key differences between these roles:

Responsibilities

Both master and journeyman electricians can perform and install electrical systems. They both test wires, add outlets, troubleshoot issues and repair systems as needed.

In addition to these duties, master electricians can also complete the following responsibilities:

  • Own and operate a private business

  • Supervise journeyman electricians

  • Become a licensed contractor

  • Create electrical blueprints for a new building

  • Act as a manager for complex electrical projects

These duties can depend upon geographical location. For example, some states require additional licensing before electricians can operate their own business.

Education

Journeyman electricians and master electricians can begin their career in the same way. They may attend an associate degree program, technical school or vocational school to gain experience and technical skills. They then work as an apprentice for a certain number of hours. This can vary depending on location. Most states require 4,000 to 8,000 hours of training as an apprentice, which typically takes at least three years to complete. During this time, apprentice electricians study and work under the supervision of a trained electrician. After completing an apprenticeship, aspiring electricians must pass a licensing exam to become a certified journeyman electrician.

Master electricians pass these requirements and then work one to three more years as a journeyman electrician before passing another exam and earning a master electrician license. This can vary depending on the state guidelines. Most states require approximately 4,000 hours of work before electricians can earn their master license. Consider checking your state's laws and regulations when planning your career steps.

Salary

The salary for these two roles can vary based upon the level of training and responsibility required. The average salary for journeyman electricians is $65,739 per year and they may average an additional $10,500 in overtime. Master electricians make an average salary of $73,882 per year and earn an average overtime bonus of $10,000. Salary can depend upon geographic location, skills and years of experience.

Skills

Both positions require many of the same skills, such as technical knowledge and physical stamina, but master electricians may need additional skills. For example, they may need creativity skills to design and write new blueprints for buildings. They may also need more leadership or management skills as they can serve as project managers for large projects. They may also need additional business management skills to help them operate their own companies.

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