What Is a Journeyman Electrician? And How to Become One

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What Is a Journeyman Electrician?

There are three main stages of licensing for electricians and journeyman licensing is the second one.

Most licensing boards use this model (apprenticeship-journeyman-master electrician) for licensing specialists in this sphere.

In order to become a journeyman electrician, you need to complete a long-lasting education and practical training as an apprentice.

Also, you should be able to pass a special exam to become a journeyman electrician.

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After working as an apprentice, journeyman electricians have a bunch of experience and knowledge required for independent work.

Moreover, these specialists have an opportunity to become master electricians by gaining some more experience.

As a journeyman electrician, you can get a job in commercial, residential, and industrial settings.

Usually, these specialists are qualified to perform various duties such as installing, altering, adding and repairing electrical systems,  conductors, and associated equipment.

Moreover, these professionals need to have an excellent understanding of the National Electrical Code and theoretical aspects.

Normally, journeyman electricians work with such equipment as:

  • Power and Lighting Systems
  • Power Distribution and Metering Systems
  • Motor Control and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)
  • Building Automation Systems
  • Energy Management Systems
  • Backup Power Generation Systems

Journeyman Electrician Job Description

As a journeyman electrician, you can perform a variety of tasks and duties with only little supervision.

Also, they may be eligible to supervise apprentices.

Having a certain amount of experience, journeyman electricians can:

  • Connect circuit breakers, switches, transformers, and outlets
  • Diagnose and resolve problems in electrical circuits, systems, and equipment
  • Handle wire and conduit sizing
  • Inspect and test existing wiring systems
  • Install and troubleshoot wiring
  • Install feeders
  • Install lighting and security systems
  • Read blueprints
  • Terminate cable
  • Troubleshoot motors and controls

The list of their duties includes such aspects as:

  • Inspecting jobs to ensure work areas are safe and clean
  • Maintaining accurate records regarding material and labor
  • Maintaining inventory of tools, equipment, and material
  • Selecting material and hardware for time and materials estimates

Journeyman Electrician Career Options

There are two career options for journeyman electricians – outside lineman or inside wireman.

Each of these options has its specific duties and responsibilities.

Journeyman Lineman

Journeyman linemen are specialists that maintain electrical power systems including such aspects as power generation stations and power meters.

Also, they are responsible for the maintenance of street lights and traffic signals.

The list of their duties includes such points as:

  • Assembling and erecting substations
  • Installing and maintaining insulators
  • Installing and maintaining transformers and other equipment
  • Installing and maintaining underground distribution systems
  • Maintaining and repairing overhead distribution or transmission lines
  • Setting electric towers and poles
  • Stringing new wire and maintaining existing wire

Inside Journeyman Wireman

Journeyman wiremen usually provide services for commercial and residential customers.

They are responsible for the distribution and connection of various types of electrical equipment.

Also, they deal with different electrical systems that are related to lighting, heating, receptacles, motors, and so on.

Moreover, they usually install security and fire alarm systems and maintain them.

The list of their responsibilities includes such points as:

  • Building and assembling power generation equipment
  • Establishing and maintaining power distribution equipment, including transformers, breakers, and switches.
  • Establishing grounding systems
  • Installing and maintaining main service panels, including circuit breakers and switching gear
  • Installing and maintaining power feed and control wiring systems
  • Installing and maintaining process control systems, including energy management systems
  • Installing and repairing telephone and data systems
  • Installing the conduit and junction boxes
  • Installing new wiring and repairing existing wiring
  • Installing receptacles, lighting systems, and fixtures
  • Installing service to buildings and other structures
  • Maintaining and repairing temporary power systems during construction
  • Troubleshooting and repairing electrical systems

Requirements for Journeyman Electrician Licensing

If you want to become a journeyman electrician, you need to meet some requirements.

First of all, you need to complete a training program that contains 500-1000 hours of classroom education.

After it, you need to work as an apprentice for 8000-10000 under the supervision of a qualified electrician.

Just keep in mind that requirements may differ depending on the state and jurisdiction.

For example, Colorado residents need to complete 8000 of work as an apprentice working with lights, heat, and power.

At least half of this time, you need to work in a commercial or industrial setting.

Also, there are states that have specific requirements for journeyman linemen.

For example, to be able to enroll in a qualification exam in Texas, you need to have at least 7000 hours of experience as an apprentice.

Also, you need to have three and a half years of working experience as a journeyman lineman for some electrical facilities.

To be able to enroll in your apprenticeship, you need to complete a training program and obtain your diploma or an associate degree.

To complete your apprenticeship, you can work for union or non-union organizations or employers.

It can be private employers, training centers, labor unions, community colleges, and the US military.

The biggest and most known training program is the Electrical Training ALLIANCE.

It is provided by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

An apprenticeship allows you to get the required amount of training and experience to become a journeyman electrician.

In most states, you need to pass a written test to be able to get a license as a journeyman electrician.

Usually, this exam contains questions on electrical theory, both local and national electrical codes, and so on.

Practice-Hour Requirements for Master Electrician Licensing

As soon as you complete your apprenticeship and pass a licensing exam, you’ll start working as a journeyman electrician.

After it, you need to work as a journeyman electrician for about 2 years to be eligible to apply for a master electrician license.

During this period, you are going to gain some experience required for your career advancement.

Usually, you need to have about 4000 hours of working experience as a journeyman electrician so you can apply for a master electrician license.

In order to advance your career, you need to sit for a competency exam so you can get the highest professional title in this sphere.

To become a master electrician, you need to have excellent knowledge of the National Electrical Code, related regulations and laws, and various procedures related to installation, design, repair, alteration, and construction of various electrical systems and equipment.

Also, you are obliged to have enough experience.

As a master electrician, you can design wiring and lighting systems, pull permits, serve as a team leader, and supervise other electricians.

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