The terms Journeyman Electrician and Master Electrician are essentially progressions on the level of license to be qualified to carry out electrical work in the United States. The distinction is somewhat akin to that between someone with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy, and a Master’s Degree in Accountancy. Both are qualified to be accountants, but the latter has considerably more training and experience.
Specifically, if you look at the electrical licensing codes for different states then the difference is that whilst aJourneyman Electrician would be expected to have the skill necessary to wire up and install electrical equipment and wiring, a Master Electrician would be expected to be able to take that process one step further and actually be able to both plan out and organize how an electrical installation should take place, as well as being able to supervise otherJourneyman Electricians as they completed the work.
So in large part, the designation comes down to experience and being able to manage other people.
If you hire a Master Electrician then this is likely to be someone with ten years plus of experience, and a work record that has exposed them to a number of different challenging electrical environments. And they will also most likely have supervised other electricians and acted as mentors. Whilst a journeyman electrician may have four or five years’ experience, and whilst they can do most electrical jobs that are thrust their way, they don’t have the same breadth of experience, and may still potentially need to ask for advice in tricky situations that they haven’t come across before.
In such circumstances, it would be a Master Electrician that they would be likely to turn to for advice.
In most states in the United States the distinction between the two grades of electricians is carried out by bracketing them into Class A and B licenses, of which there would usually be both for Journeyman Electricians and Master Electricians.
Class A and Class B Master Electricians
These electricians will generally have had to have met the specific requirements for that individual state, which will normally include passing a written exam, possibly appearing in front of a board to answer questions, as well as meeting certain minimum levels of work experience.
Class A and Class B Journeyman Electricians
Again, certain specific state requirements will have had to have been met and exams passed. A journeyman electrician of either class would be expected to have less experience and skills than a master electrician of either class.
The distinction between the classes in both cases is that a “Class A” license carries no restrictions (within the context of the skills that it is licensing), whilst a “Class B” license does come with some restrictions.