How To Become A Journeyman Electrician

People choose professions for a lot of reasons. For many of them, they have a personal interest that leads them to a goal or they feel some sort of fulfilment while admiring professionals in that area to execute their craft.

Before becoming a master electrician, you will need to pass through some stages. And to become a journeyman electrician is part of it.

With the ongoing demand in this trade, there are lots of opportunities in this career without the need for a college education.

But who exactly is a journeyman electrician?

In this article, we will be discussing who is a journeyman electrician and how to become a journeyman electrician.

Who is a Journeyman Electrician?

A journeyman electrician is one who is on a training process with the goal of becoming an expert electrician.

They inspect the wiring, circuits breaker, transformers, electrical systems in factories or residences as well as install or repair wiring as part of their duties and they have to be familiar with the building code regulations and also ensure that all electrical jobs did are up to code.

They also need to be aware of some blueprints and terminologies in order to ensure electrical systems are installed correctly.

A Journeyman Electrician is a skilled and trained personnel who has spent a few years under a master learning the trade.

He can install, maintain lighting control systems, different types of electrical systems which could be found in schools, hospitals, apartments, malls, facilities and even manufacturing industries etc.

What Does A Journeyman Electrician Do?

Initially said, a journeyman electrician is an electrician who has acquired some training.

Actually, the training and experience are necessary to work independently but he hasn’t attained licensure as an expert electrician.

Though the journeyman electrician works with fixtures, control systems, electrical wires etc in residential or commercial buildings, he doesn’t design the electrical system. This part is done by the master electrician.

For you to become a journeyman electrician, you need to be aware that you would supervise the work of the apprentice, test existing wires, install lighting, connect transformers, switches, etc.

What Education Qualifications Do They Need?

According to learn.org, electricians qualify for a journey worker status and license after concluding their training in a 4-year apprenticeship program.

They are sponsored by some unions and groups like the Independent Electrical Contractors Association, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, etc.

Some colleges also offer apprenticeship programs.

You would receive 600 hours of electrical theory instructions if you are opt-in for the programs, blueprint reading, site safety, etc. You would also receive hours of on-the-job training, perform tasks like connecting wires, setting anchors, etc. And you would be supervised by an experienced electrician or expert.

Would A License Be Needed?

Becoming a Journeyman Electrician is not easy. Actually, a journeyman electrician in some states needs to be certified or licensed although it differs according to state. But the process requires 4-5 years of experience.

Also, you can take or pass a written exam on the National Electrical Code, electrical theory etc.

Some states would require you to further your education in order to be current due to changes in the electrical code, while some states won’t mandate that on you.

Categories of A Journeyman Electrician

On the quest to become a journeyman electrician, you need to acquire certain training, gain the knowledge and necessary experience to work independently to qualify to be an expert.

But before going into more details, a journeyman electrician has two categories 

  • Linemen
  • Wiremen

Linemen(Outside Electricians):

The primary duty of the journeyman electrician is to take care of the electrical systems from power plants to substations through the power meter. This means their main job is to operate outdoors. They maintain transformers, insulators and other electrical power equipment.

Wiremen(Inside Electricians)

The job of the wiremen journey electrician here is to maintain the different types of electrical systems in the residential or commercial buildings that connect to lighting and other equipment.

They are fitted for the jobs within the buildings.

How To Become A Journeyman Electrician

The first thing to note as you want to become a journeyman electrician is to first complete an apprenticeship program like mentioned above.

This would need much training and instruction, followed by supervision, on-the-job training to get a license and accreditation. This would take up to 4 years.

Well let’s look at some steps to take to become a journeyman electrician

Understand the Trade first:

In understanding this, you need to familiarize yourself with the job at hand.

A journeyman is someone who maintains and installs electrical systems in homes or businesses. They can work as outdoor or indoor electricians.

The outdoor electrician takes care of the electric lines outside while the indoor electrician takes care of the electrical systems in the building.

There are lots of opportunities in this field and you need to know about this.

In the process of this, get to learn about the salaries in your area.

This varies as a result of experience, firm or experience.

In the United States, the salary range is between $37 to $81. Your experience or firm also has an effect on the salary.

Also, remember that women can take up this career. It’s not only for men. So learn to take advantage of the opportunity offered to women. Don’t let your gender identity tell you something else.

Getting Qualified:

To become a journeyman electrician, you need to obtain a diploma.

If you don’t have your diploma, you can try to get your GED

If you are transitioning your career as an adult but with no high diploma, you can go for GED.

If you are considering this career path but still in school, you should first finish your high school education.

You only need to pass the test or exam administered by your local state to get your GED.

As you try to get yourself qualified, you also need to get a job as a helper. As a helper, you get to do manual jobs, dig ditches, prepare tools, etc. You can also get a paid apprentice job or enrol on a program.

You don’t need any special qualifications to become a helper and it’s expected you learn the basics of electrical safety. You learn to identify equipment in the electrical field.

1. Enroll in an Electrician Program in A Vocational College

You can enrol into an electrician program near you. The training will however open up opportunities for you an apprenticeship. So vocational training at a college is necessary if you want to become a journeyman electrician.

Initially said, you can learn about electrical theory and work safety during the electrician program. One of the benefits of completing this program is that you will be prepared for tests, exams and interviews in becoming an apprentice.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers offers paid training also for a limited number of people which lasts for 4 years. Also some branches in the US. armed forces provide paid training to those interested in this career at the time of enlistment.

2. Apply for Apprenticeship:

You can apply for an apprentice job after the completion of your electrical program. You can also choose the speciality you will like to be trained in. Whether as an outdoor electrician or residential lineman.

You can get an apprentice job through the National Electrical Contractors Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, etc

Also ensure to choose an apprenticeship where you will be paid.

3. Pass the Apprenticeship Application Process:

Prior to starting your apprenticeship, you should pass the aptitude test. It involves algebra and some arithmetic skills. You may also need to pass some drug tests to show you also have some level of mechanical aptitude.

After the test and getting through with other requirements you would need to go for the interview to determine your suitability for the available position.

If you fail the test for the IBEW apprenticeship, you would have to wait for 6 months before going for it again.

This is why you need to brush up on your mathematical skills.

You also need to know around your jurisdiction if they are in need of an electrician trainee. If asked to register, you will need to fill out some forms.

4. Complete the Apprenticeship:

Your apprenticeship journey had a mix of class training and on-the-job training. This will last for a period of 4 years. You will learn lighting fixtures, blueprints, wiring, etc during this period.

You earn an hourly wage here too. This is actually half of what you will earn when you get certified as a journeyman electrician.

Getting Your License:

First, you need to find out the requirements in your jurisdiction necessary to become a licensed electrician as it varies according to state or where you work.

To get licensed, you will need to spend some hours to get trained and complete the license exam. Getting a license shows the public your level of competency.

Get familiar with the electrical codes for where you work. Some electrical wiring inspectors use National Electrical Code for electrical code enforcement. To find out the version, if it’s NEC or other state or city code.

Applicable to those in the United States.

1. Prepare for testing:

For you to get your license, you need to be aware that you are required to pass an exam. In some places, the test is a mixture of computation, practicals, verbal examination etc.

Some authorities make use of both writing and practice. The practical is to find out individuals who have an understanding of the code even though they have not worked in the field.

2. Pass the licensing exam:

You can go ahead to take the licensing exam after completing your 4 years apprenticeship program.

You need to contact your state licensing board to find out about the exam.

If you meet the requirements of the number of hours and exam, you can work as a certified electrician.

Advancing Your Career To Become A Journeyman Electrician

If you completed your training in a college, you could try to find out if they have a career centre that could be of help.

You can lookout for a position as a certified electrician in a construction company.

You can search for any opportunity on the website of the National Electrical Contractors Association.

You can become independent and start your business as a journeyman electrician. This shows you are confident in your skills. 

You could become a master electrician after working for some time and taking the exam. You can become a better electrician and make more money. 

What Are Key Skills Needed To Become A Journeyman Electrician?

There are lots of skills but the key skills include:

  • Basic Math Knowledge
  • Teamwork
  • Manual Dexterity
  • Problem Solving
  • Electrical Installation
  • Safety knowledge

What Skills Help Journeyman Electricians Find Jobs

If you’re looking to grow your knowledge and experience as a journeyman electrician, the place of the internship will help you greatly. However, with a few internship opportunities available, there are certain skills you must have that will help you immensely. They include:

• Commercial Electrician Experience

• Schematics

• Pipe Threading

• Power Tools

• Hand Tools

• Programmable Logic Controllers, etc

FAQ

  1. How long does it take to become an electrician?

The average time it takes to become an electrician is four to five years. Apprenticeship programs are typically used to train aspiring electricians.

  1. How hard is it to become a journeyman electrician?

There will always be a need for good electricians. Sparkies who possess excellent intelligence, problem-solving skills, and technical knowledge are respected by their peers. In spite of this, it takes several years of hard work and training to become an electrician. It’s not always easy on the job either.

Conclusion

It isn’t easy to become a journeyman electrician but you can put in the effort to become one. As discussed in this article, you need to understand the trade of becoming a master electrician, get yourself qualified by enrolling in some approved courses in vocational training colleges, apply for an apprenticeship, take the exam, get licensed, then apply for jobs.

You only need to meet these necessary requirements approved by your state in order to become a certified master electrician.

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