A master electrician is the highest rank in the field.
Earning this title means that you’ve spent many years learning and improving your skills, and have earned a master electrician license.
Becoming a master electrician, you are entitled to higher pay and respect from your fellow tradesmen.
Master electricians are well experienced to install, repair, and maintain the most complex electrical systems.
Being leaders in the field, they often supervise apprentices and journeymen.
With more training and experience, you grew from a journeyman electrician, with the expertise to install and maintain electrical equipment, to a master electrician, with the expertise to plan and organize complex electrical installation projects.
With the rank of a master electrician, you can demonstrate your employers and customers your advanced experience and extended knowledge of safety, building codes, regulation, project management, and, of course, wiring.
Job Duties and Responsibilities Unique to Master Electricians
Master electricians can develop and monitor wire system installations, design the routing of circuits, and acquire permits.
While journeyman electricians are licensed to work independently, they aren’t allowed to pull permits or supervise other workers on the job site.
Master electricians are allowed to do that and can be team leaders and supervisors to the teams of electricians.
Effectively, this is one of the vastest differences between a journeyman and a master.
The latter can supervise other electricians, whether they are apprentices or journeymen.
Other responsibilities of a master electrician include:
- Determining the cause of control and power system failures and taking the necessary corrective action.
- Monitoring and evaluating equipment operation and energy efficiency.
- Supervising, consulting on, and troubleshooting complex electrical equipment issues.
- Overseeing other vendors and contractors and serving as their technical point of contact.
- Monitoring and evaluating work productivity.
- Planning and coordinating work with other trades to ensure seamless installations and minimal disruptions for all parties concerned.
- Supervising and consulting on complex installations and repair projects.
- Monitoring any changes in the National Electric Code and identifying training requirements for subordinates.
- Supervising subordinate employees – includes coaching, counseling, training, and evaluating.
- Monitoring all processes and procedures to anticipate future needs.
Master electricians have a unique set of skills to supervise the work of others, for which, they need a thorough knowledge of:
- Electrical controls and motors.
- Standard practices, tools, and equipment of the electrical trade.
- Safety regulations and procedures.
- Interpreting diagrams, schematics, blueprints, and manuals.
- Applicable county, state, and national electrical, NFPA, and safety codes.
Becoming a Master Electrician: Training and Exam Requirements
As an apprentice, you had to complete 500 to 1,000 classroom hours and from 8,000 to 10,000 hours on practical experience.
After completing the state/jurisdictional requirements and passing a competency exam, you earned the journeyman electrician license.
The career ladder doesn’t end there though.
After completing the 4,000-hour experience requirement as a journeyman, (which is about two years of work), you can qualify for a master electrician license.
In some states, you have to pass an exam to obtain a master electrician license.
For instance, in Texas, journeyman electricians should work for two years and pass an examination to become a master electrician.
This exam tests the skills, abilities, knowledge, and experience in the design, installation, repair, construction, etc., of electrical systems and related equipment of the candidate.
It also tests your ability to direct and supervise others in these activities.
In some states, less training is required at the journeyman level to become a master.
For instance, in Virginia, a journeyman can become a master with only one year of practice.
Some jurisdictions or states have different levels of master electricians, which entails a different level of experience.
For instance, in Michigan, there are two master electrician titles: Electrician Master Licensed – A (advanced) and Electrician Master Licensed – E (experienced).
Both can obtain permits, perform electrical and technical work, but only Electrician Master Licensed – A can work as a team leader and supervise the work of others.
This also includes instructing and training, observing and critiquing completed work and techniques, as well as reviewing the job performance.
In this case, you should have one year of experience as an Electrician Master Licensed – E to become an Electrician Master Licensed – A.