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Journeyman vs. Master Electrician: What’s the Difference?


Choosing an electrician to work on your home or business is an important decision—and it’s critical to hire someone who’s qualified for the job at hand. Learning about the different qualifications for electricians in Calgary and what it takes to earn them can help you find the electrical professionals you need and have confidence in their abilities.

Licensed electricians in Calgary are either masters or journeymen, but there are differences between the types of work these professionals are allowed to perform. 4-Star Electric employs a great team of both journeyman and master electricians that can help with all of your electrical needs.

See also:Commercial Electrical Services

What Are the Qualifications for Master vs. Journeyman Electricians?

In Alberta, electricians must be licensed by Alberta Industry Training (AIT). AIT sets the standards for electrical work in the province and administers the licensing process for electricians.

Journeyman Electricians:

Journeyman electricians must successfully complete an apprenticeship program that takes place over four years (or four 12-month periods). The program must include:

  • 1560 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of classroom instruction in each of the first three years
  • 1440 hours of on-the-job training and 12 weeks of classroom instruction in the fourth year

A journeyman electrician in Alberta must also complete a successful theory exam, and may also attempt the Interprovincial Exam in the final year of their program to earn a Red Seal certification that lets them work in any Canadian province or territory.

Master Electricians:

Journeyman electricians with enough experience can eventually become master electricians. In order to do this, they must:

  • Have at least three years of experience as a journeyman electrician within the previous five years
  • Successfully complete and pass the Master Electrician Exam through the Safety Codes Council of Alberta

Master electricians who have been certified or registered with regulatory organizations in other parts of Canada may also be eligible for certification in Alberta under certain circumstances. For this to be possible, they must remain in good standing in their previous jurisdiction, which must have similar responsibilities and requirements to those in Alberta.

Electrician with Electric Cable Preparing For Installation in the Newly Constructed Building.

What Jobs Can a Journeyman Electrician Do?

Journeyman electricians in Alberta are qualified to install, maintain, and repair electrical systems and equipment. They may work in residential, commercial, and industrial settings—either  independently or as part of a team, under the supervision of a master electrician.

Some of the tasks that journeyman electricians commonly perform include:

  • Installing electrical outlets, switches, and fixtures
  • Running electrical wiring
  • Troubleshooting electrical issues
  • Making repairs to electrical systems

Most residential and commercial electrical work can be performed by journeyman electricians. Most electrical contracting companies are run by one or two master electricians with a team of journeymen that work under their supervision and respond to service calls from customers.

Man repairer making electricity project in house.Repairs planning.Drawing,diagrams,plan of electrification of apartment,building.Devices,accessories,voltmeter,wires,screwdriver,pliers and tape measure

What Jobs Can a Master Electrician Do?

While both journeyman and master electricians are licensed to perform electrical installations, maintenance, and repairs, a master electrician has a few extra responsibilities and abilities that set them apart.

In addition to performing all the same tasks as a journeyman a master electrician may also:

  • Design electrical systems
  • Supervise electrical work
  • Sign off on electrical projects

Master electricians may also be responsible for managing electrical projects involving journeymen and apprentices.

Portrait Of A Confused Electrician Looking At Fuse Box

Do I Need a Master or a Journeyman Electrician?

Unless you need a large-scale electrical project designed, you probably don’t need a master electrician. Journeyman electricians are perfectly capable of performing electrical maintenance work in homes or businesses without supervision—you will need a master electrician for projects that involve obtaining specific permits from your local authorities.

Here’s a quick guide to the type of electrician you might hire for different common tasks:

  • Replacing fans or other household electrical fixtures: journeyman
  • Upgrading electrical panels or wiring in homes and businesses: journeyman supervised by master electrician
  • Designing and getting the permits for a new electrical system: master electrician

Trust Your Electrician’s Experience

It’s vital to make sure you hire qualified electricians for your next project, but there’s no need to insist on a master electrician when a journeyman is capable of doing the job correctly. Our team is overseen by master electricians, but we use highly-skilled journeymen to complete most projects unless they require specific permits or oversight.

To hire an electrician qualified to perform electrical work in your home or business, contact 4-Star Electric and talk with an experienced member of our team. We’ll be able to tell you whether you need one of our master or journeyman electricians and provide you with an accurate quote for our services.

Written by 4-Star Electric

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