Journeyman Electrician Job Description
Journeyman electricians—one rank above apprentice and one below master—are experienced electricians who, having completed thousands of hours of apprenticeship training and exam certification, perform electrical installation and repair work. They can work independently or with a broader team of engineers, architects, and other electricians across a variety of industries. They work fulltime and may work nights and weekends, depending on the industry and employer. Journeyman electricians may train and mentor apprentices.
Journeyman Electrician Duties and Responsibilities
For journeyman electricians with experience and licensure come additional responsibilities. Thus, during any given job or project, journeyman electricians may take on broader management and supervisory duties in addition to the electrical work they perform. Typical duties and responsibilities include the following:
Install and Service Electrical Equipment
Whether working in residential or commercial, government or private, the journeyman electrician’s bread and butter work is the installation, service, and maintenance of electrical equipment. A journeyman electrician’s work may include installing electrical wiring, outlets, lighting fixtures, or circuit-breaker panels. Journeyman electricians are also called to service malfunctioning electrical equipment, such as alarm or lighting systems.
When conducting service calls, journeyman electricians must evaluate each problem and apply their years of experience and learned knowledge to determine what remedial measures are appropriate to get the system up and running.
Promote and Maintain Safety Standards
Journeyman electricians are responsible for maintaining strict adherence to relevant industry and employer safety standards. Proper safety measures include the use of all necessary safety equipment and apparatus, as well as implementing necessary safety procedures and safeguards during any given job.
Complete and Maintain Paperwork
Journeyman electricians are often responsible for compiling and completing the variety of paperwork required for a particular job. Employers may mandate that the journeyman electrician maintain inventory records of materials used or job performance logs.
Train and Mentor Apprentices
Journeyman electricians may be responsible for working directly with apprentices and, when appropriate, directly engaging and mentoring them.
Journeyman Electrician Skills and Qualifications
Journeyman electricians are on-site and may be visible to the customer at any given time. It’s important, therefore, that the journeyman electrician not only is technically capable but also professional and courteous. Accordingly, journeyman electricians usually need the following skills:
- Technical ability – journeyman electricians have the technical and mechanical skills necessary to read and understand blueprints and technical diagrams, then install or service various electrical systems
- Physical fitness and dexterity – many jobs require certain levels of fitness due to the nature of the environment in which the work is performed. Whether climbing ladders, working in small and confined spaces, or carrying equipment and materials to and around the project site, journeyman electricians often need to prepare for some level of physical exertion while working
- Knowledge of National Electrical Code – the NEC is the principal set of safety standards adopted state-by-state for electrical installation and service work. Any journeyman electrician will be fluent in the NEC and his or her state-specific requirements
- Reliable – whether working independently or as part of a team, journeyman electricians need to be dependable and resourceful as they address routine and urgent situations
- Detail oriented – journeyman electricians, regardless of employer, need to have a keen eye for detail in following safety standards and project designs, as well as the execution of the project itself
Journeyman Electrician Tools of the Trade
Given the hands-on work that a journeyman electrician performs, his or her tools will largely be of the traditional variety: tangible handheld tools used for installation and repair. These tools include the following:
- Basic hand tools (e.g., pliers, electrician scissors, wire strippers)
- Electrical equipment (e.g., circuit tracers, multimeters, thermal scanners)
Journeyman Electrician Education and Training
Journeyman electricians, at a minimum, have to have a high school diploma. But more importantly, journeyman electricians need to have a journeyman’s license based on a minimum number of training hours with another electrician in order to be state certified. Training requirements vary by state, but 4,000 to 8,000 hours of an apprenticeship under a master electrician followed by a licensure exam are often required. Most employers also require that the applicant have a valid driver’s license.
Journeyman Electrician Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) most closely approximates journeyman electrician employment data by reference to electrician statistics. The BLS lists the 2016 median annual salary for electricians at $52,720, or $25.35 per hour. Electricians in the lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,800 a year, and the highest 10 percent made over $90,420 a year. The government was the top paying industry for electricians, followed by manufacturing.
Electrician employment is projected to grow by nine percent from 2016 through 2026, a rate the BLS describes as the average for all occupations. As spending on construction and alternative energy grows, so should the demand for electricians.
Journeyman Electrician Helpful Resources
If you’re interested in learning more about journeyman electricians, check out the following resources:
ElectricianSchoolEDU.org – This website is a great resource for aspiring journeyman electricians, as it provides a variety of helpful information, including a state-by-state guide to journeyman electrician exam requirements.
National Electrical Contractors Association – NECA is a national trade association that educates and advocates on behalf of the electrical contracting industry. NECA’s website has a host of helpful resources, including best practices guides and educational webinars.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – The IBEW is a national union of about 750,000 members.
Wentworth Institute of Technology – Wentworth’s College of Professional and Continuing Education offers an accelerated four-semester program for aspiring journeyman electricians. The program, although specific to Massachusetts code and licensure requirements, offers a good overview of what an academic journeyman electrician program looks like.
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