A journeyman license is the second step in the apprentice-journeyman-master path in becoming an electrician.
Most licensing boards follow this exact process.
Becoming a journeyman is an essential step in your electrician career.
It demonstrates the successful completion of your long training and education as an apprentice and passing the journeyman licensing exam.
Journeyman electricians have the required knowledge, skills, training, and experience to work independently.
Now, they can gain more experience and in-depth knowledge to qualify for a master electrician license.
These professionals work in a variety of settings, including residential, industrial, and commercial.
They are qualified to install, add, alter, maintain, and repair electrical systems and conductors as well as relevant equipment and materials.
Journeyman electricians are knowledgeable about the NEC (National Electrical Code) and well-versed in the electrical theory.
Journeyman electricians handle a variety of systems, including:
- Motor Control and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs).
- Power and Lighting Systems.
- Energy Management Systems.
- Backup Power Generation Systems.
- Power Distribution and Metering Systems.
- Building Automation Systems.
Journeyman Electrician Job Description
Journeyman electricians handle a wide array of tasks with zero to little supervision.
They can also supervise apprentices.
With their experience, they can:
- Read blueprints.
- Install lighting and security systems.
- Troubleshoot motors and controls.
- Terminate cable.
- Diagnose and resolve problems in electrical circuits, systems, and equipment.
- Handle wire and conduit sizing.
- Connect circuit breakers, switches, transformers, and outlets.
- Install feeders.
- Install and troubleshoot wiring.
- Inspect and test existing wiring systems.
Their duties also include:
- Maintaining an inventory of tools, equipment, and material.
- Inspecting jobs to ensure work areas are safe and clean.
- Selecting material and hardware for time and materials estimates.
- Maintaining accurate records regarding material and labor.
Journeyman Electrician Career Paths
Journeyman electricians usually work either as an outside lineman or an inside wireman.
Both occupations come with various and unique job duties and responsibilities:
Journeyman linemen work on electrical power systems maintaining them from the point of power generation to the power meter.
They deal with traffic signals and street lights.
Their responsibilities include:
- Installing and maintaining transformers and other equipment.
- Assembling and erecting substations.
- Setting electric towers and poles.
- Stringing new wire and maintaining existing wire.
- Installing and maintaining underground distribution systems.
- Installing and maintaining insulators.
- Maintaining and repairing overhead distribution or transmission lines.
Inside Journeyman Wireman
Inside journeymen wiremen handle distribution and connection of electrical equipment to a power source for residential and commercial clients.
They work with any type of electrical system inside the commercial and industrial facilities.
Their duties include connecting lighting, heating equipment, receptacles, motors, etc.
These professionals also handle the installation and maintenance of security and fire alarm systems.
Their responsibilities include:
- Establishing and maintaining power distribution equipment, including transformers, breakers, and switches.
- Installing and maintaining main service panels, including circuit breakers and switching gear.
- Building and assembling power generation equipment.
- Installing and maintaining process control systems, including energy management systems.
- Establishing grounding systems.
- Installing and maintaining power feed and control wiring systems.
- Installing and repairing telephone and data systems.
- Troubleshooting and repairing electrical systems.
- Installing new wiring and repairing existing wiring.
- Installing conduit and junction boxes.
- Maintaining and repairing temporary power systems during construction.
- Installing service to buildings and other structures.
- Installing receptacles, lighting systems, and fixtures.
Qualifications to Meet During the Apprenticeship to Qualify for a Journeyman License
First, you should complete an extensive course of training and education as an apprentice to become a journeyman electrician.
An apprenticeship involves 500-1,000 hours of classroom training and 8,000 to 10,000 hours of supervised on-the-job experience.
It usually takes 5 to 6 years to complete an apprenticeship.
The specific number of apprenticeship hours required to qualify for a journeyman license is set by every licensing jurisdiction.
For instance, in Colorado, apprentices should complete a minimum of 8,000 hours in no less than four years for a journeyman license.
These hours include electrical construction wiring experience for power, lights, and heat.
A minimum of 4,000 hours out of the 8,000 should include the work in a commercial and/or industrial setting.
Some states also set different requirements for the applicants seeking to become a journeyman lineman.
For instance, in Texas, applicants for a journeyman lineman license should have at least 7,000 training hours during the apprenticeship or three and a half years of experience working as a journeyman lineman.
They can work for an electrical cooperative, electric utility, electrical contractor, or municipally owned utility.
This is required to qualify for a competency examination while the apprenticeship program should be approved by the Department of Labor.
You can also meet the classroom hours requirement by completing an electrician associate’s degree or diploma program before the apprenticeship.
The apprenticeship program can be either a union or a non-union one.
Various organizations and employers, including labor unions, private employers, apprenticeship training centers, community colleges, and even US military administer such programs.
The Electrical Training ALLIANCE is the largest apprenticeship program, established by the partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
In the course of your apprenticeship, you will gain the on-the-job experience and classroom theoretical knowledge required for a journeyman license.
Although the requirements for a journeyman license can vary by licensing jurisdiction, generally, candidates should pass a written exam based on the NEC, local electrical codes, and electrical theory.
They can take the exam at the end of their apprenticeship.
Completing Practice Hours as a Journeyman as You Work Toward Your Master Electrician License
Once you complete all requirements of the apprenticeship program and get approved for a journeyman license by the licensing board of your jurisdiction, you become a journeyman electrician.
Within the following years, working as a journeyman, you will gain valuable experience.
You will work as an independent electrician, and this experience will help you meet the requirements necessary to become a master electrician.
After working as a journeyman electrician for about two years, you can take a competency exam to obtain a master electrician license.
Most jurisdictions require about 4,000 hours of experience as a journeyman to qualify for this examination.
Master electricians have solid experience and are highly knowledgeable about the NEC, regulations, and laws.
They are also experts in the design, installation, repair, construction, or alteration of electrical systems and associated equipment.
Master electricians are authorized to pull permits, design lighting and wiring systems, supervise job sites and lead teams, including supervising journeymen and apprentices.