What Is a Journeyman Electrician?

Research what it takes to become a journeyman electrician. Learn about the educational requirements, certification and licensing, job outlook and salary information to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Electrician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Journeyman Electrician?

Journeyman electricians are electricians that are part way through the training process, with the goal of becoming a master electrician. Electricians install and repair wiring and electrical systems in residences, factories and businesses. They will inspect the wiring, circuit breakers and transformers as part of their duties and they need to be familiar with building code regulations to ensure that all of the electrical work done on a project is up to code. They also need to know how to read blueprints so that they can ensure that systems are installed correctly and that they're in the right place. Ten percent of electricians were self-employed as of 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Electricians learn through an apprenticeship, and some may opt to attend technical school.

Education Required 4-year apprenticeship program
Training Required On-the-job training
Key Responsibilities Safely handle various electrical tools and equipment, install light fixtures and security systems, test existing electrical systems
Licensure & Certification License or certification required by many states, requirements vary by location
Job Growth (2014-2024) 14%* (electricians)
Median Salary (2015) $51,880* (electricians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Journeyman Electrician Do?

Journeyman electricians are electricians who have acquired the training and experience necessary to work independently, but who have not attained licensure as master electricians. Journeyman electricians may work with electrical wires, fixtures and control systems in commercial, industrial and residential buildings, but typically do not design the initial electrical system for a building, which is usually done by a master electrician.

As a journeyman electrician, you could install lighting and security systems or connect transformers, circuit breakers, switches and outlets. You may also inspect and test the integrity of existing wiring systems and supervise the work of apprentices.

What Education Will I Need?

Electricians generally learn their trade through a 4-year apprenticeship program, at the conclusion of which, you qualify for journey worker status and licensure. These are sponsored by industry groups and labor unions such as the Independent Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Some community colleges and technical schools may also offer apprenticeship programs.

The classroom portion can provide you with around 600 hours of instruction in electrical theory, local electrical codes, blueprint reading and site safety. You'll also receive 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. You may perform tasks that range from drilling holes and setting anchors to connecting and testing wires. An experienced electrician supervises your work throughout.

Will I Need a License?

Many states require journeyman electricians to be certified or licensed. Although requirements vary by state, this process typically entails accumulating 8,000 hours or 4-5 years of appropriate work experience. You may also have to pass a written exam on the National Electrical Code, local electrical codes and electrical theory.

States also vary widely in their license or certificate renewal standards. Some will require you to complete continuing education credits in order to stay abreast of changes to electrical codes. Other states don't mandate any further education.

What Are My Job Prospects?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that approximately 592,230 electricians were employed in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Separate figures for apprentice, journeymen and master electricians were not available.

Job opportunities were projected to grow 14% between 2014 and 2024. A combination of general population growth, retrofits to existing buildings and the adoption of new technologies requiring electrical wiring expertise was expected to drive demand for electricians' services. You can also find opportunities with local government agencies, non-residential contractors and utility companies.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Construction laborers and helpers, carpenters, and line installers and repairers all perform some tasks that are similar to tasks electricians perform. They all typically learn their trade through on-the-job training, like electricians. Construction laborers and helpers and carpenters also need to know how to read blueprints so they ensure that the building project they're working on is constructed correctly, and they need to be familiar with building code regulations to ensure the work is done correctly. Line installers and repairers repair electrical power systems and install the power lines that transfer electricity to homes and businesses.

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