The path to become an Electrical Journeyman is one that can allow you to work independently (eventually) and can help you get to the eventual master electrician licensing phase.
There are technically three paths as an electrician that you can walk and in this post, we’re going to cover two of them.
Let’s look at the first two phases and each state in the U.S. can have its own set of guidelines, etc. but we’re going to generalize in this post to make this a bit higher level for the purpose to support your exploration of this path.
You’ll be moving around lifting, climbing, crouching, and potentially working in cramped areas so it’s not for those that like the “desk jobs.”
We, Modesto Executive Electric, are seeking an Electrician Trainee so if you’re interested in this as a potential for you, please email us here. We’re in California (Modesto, CA) so if you’re not in that region, there are other ways to check out who you could reach out to about this type of position, like the National Contractors Association or your local union.
You could also do the trade school route which would provide an approach with a higher focus on classroom learning, and then you would be required to work for a minimum number of hours in the field that would be specified by the state you’re in.
Based on some data from CalApprenticeship.org, as an example, here are some of their general qualifications and requirements for general guidelines:
- Applicants must be at least 18 years of age at the time of application.
- Applicants must be physically able to perform the work of the trade.
- Must be a high school graduate or the equivalent.
- Must have completed one full year (2 semesters) of high school algebra with a minimum grade of "C," or the equivalent or one semester of college algebra with a minimum grade of "C" or the equivalent. The burden of proof is on the applicant. (Pre-algebra will not meet this requirement).
- Applicants must have a valid California Driver's License
“I chose to be a Journeyman Electrician because as a 2nd generation electrician, I was around the trade most of my life, and it was always in the back of my head that I could do this. Originally, I didn't want to so I gave junior college a try and realized I didn't like it. It just wasn’t for me. I realized that I loved to be out in the field as I missed the daily challenges and rewards of being with the electrical crew!”
- Daniel Stall, Project Manager
2) Getting to the Journeyman Electrician level - This is the next phase after the apprenticeship. This would be someone who has gotten the hours put in as an apprentice and who passes the certification test. At this stage, after you’ve passed the certification test (you can see a free practice test here to check it out a little), and you can work independently (meaning not supervised 100%).
You can do service work and troubleshoot but you wouldn’t be able to pull permits, so you’d continue to follow the plans of the master electrician in residential, commercial or industrial settings. You could grow into a supervisory role as well given there may be other apprentices that would need further training so this is a phase of growth.
At this stage, this is also when you can start to reap the benefits of the hourly rate increasing. Typically, you can find somewhere in the $30 an hour range or more (this will typically depend on where you are).
The Journeyman stage begins once the apprenticeship has been completed and you get approved for an electrician license through the jurisdiction's licensing board in whatever state you’re in.
Working as a Journeyman for about two years with most states requiring somewhere in the range of 4,000 hours of practice, you can then be eligible to take the examination to the next phase, which is the highest professional title in the electrical trade called the Master Electrician.
Some states require less training at the journeyman level to become a master electrician so this will vary.
In the 4th and final post in our entrepreneurial series, you will learn How You Get to the Master Electrician Level.