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What Is the Difference Between a Licensed Journeyman Electrician & a Journeyman Electrician?

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Journeyman electricians construct and maintain the electrical functions in both commercial and residential settings. The journeyman phase of an electrician’s career is an essential step to ascending to advanced positions such as the master electrician. There are different levels of certification and this determines the type of electrical work that an electrician may undertake. Different states have different requirements that a person must meet to be eligible for certification or licensure. Licensing is a formal and legal way of ensuring that electricians adhere to public safety standards while performing their tasks.


As the name suggests the licensed journeyman electrician is one who has obtained a license after passing the state board examination for electricians. On the other hand, a journeyman electrician has not yet received his license and may be working as an apprentice before doing so. Apprenticeship is a mandatory phase in obtaining a license to formally work as an unsupervised journeyman electrician. Apprenticeship hours vary from state to state but generally a period of 4,800 hours for residential electricians and 8,000 hours for a general electrician are required.


Overall, a journeyman electrician works under the supervision of a master electrician. This is especially true for a journeyman who has just completed his apprenticeship program and is beginning to perform more tasks than he did under the apprenticeship program. But a licensed journeyman electrician may work without the supervision of a master electrician. This is because a licensed journeyman has requisite work experience before obtaining his license, as required by the state licensing board. In fact the licensed journeyman may supervise others such as apprentices and other unlicensed electrical workers.


A licensed journeyman electrician may perform as many electrical tasks as he is licensed to carry out. A licensed journeyman electrician may work as a maintenance, commercial, industrial or resident electrician. On the other hand, a journeyman without a license performs limited tasks and these tasks usually complement the main tasks undertaken by a master electrician or a licensed journeyman during a work project. By virtue of licensure a licensed journeyman may progress to obtain a master electrician’s license after meeting eligibility requirements for a master electrician’s license.

Residential and General

A licensed journeyman electrician may be licensed as a residential or as a general electrician. A licensed general journeyman has a wider scope of work than the residential manager. The general electrician works in commercial and industrial electrical systems. A residential journeyman works in electrical systems in single and multifamily homes as well as hotels. All states require electricians working in any of these types of settings to be licensed. A journeyman without the requisite licensure may not be legally recognized as fit to work under any of these categories.


Diana Wicks is a Canadian residing in Vancouver. She began writing in 2004 while still a student at Lincoln School of Journalism, in the city of London. She has worked as Chief Editor of Business Chronicle, an online magazine based in London. Wicks holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in journalism and a Master of Business Administration from the London School of Economics.

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