There are varying degrees of electrical qualifications that can be achieved by an electrician throughout their career. Starting from apprentice through to journeyman and finally master electrician, each stage represents an achieved level of knowledge and experience within their chosen field.
Whilst an apprentice is just starting out their career as an electrician, a journeyman and a master electrician are considerably more experienced and educated in additional areas. However, there are also some distinguishing features between a master electrician and a journeyman that are important.
Firstly, a journeyman is a mid-level electrician who, whilst being more experienced than trainees and apprentices, has not yet achieved the same level of experience and education as a master electrician. A master electrician will have spent around 3-6 years as a journeyman beforehand gaining as much experience in the field as possible. A master electrician will also be educated and experienced in fields including; building codes, project management and safety regulations.
In addition, a master electrician is liable for all of the electrical work undertaken on site. The master electrician must obtain all the necessary permits for a project, hold liability insurance and also be responsible for undertaking all checks and tests. If any violations occur or fines are imposed as a result of the electrical work undertaken then the master electrician must accept full responsibility for these.
Whilst still operating as a journeyman, the electrician is capable of working without supervision but must still report to a master electrician. The journeyman can also supervise trainee and apprentice electricians, giving them advice and help as needed. However, a master electrician does not need to work under supervision and is answerable only to the state if any problems should arise. This means that the master electrician must ensure they have all of the necessary qualifications, permits and licences before commencing a project
The master electrician is also responsible for scoping out projects and forming a plan of action to complete the job. This will involve liaising with other contractors such as electrical engineers and builders to determine the specifications needed to complete the work required safely. For this a master electrician must also possess good interpersonal skills and be able to quickly understand the needs of contactors.
There are many differences between a master electrician and a journeyman, however as the name suggests the journeyman is on a career path that eventually leads to becoming a master electrician.