Once you’ve worked as a journeyman electrician for a few years and gotten some skills under your belt, you may start to consider taking the tests to become a master electrician. The qualifying tests can be extremely difficult; some people take a month or more off work just to study for the tests.
Getting your license can seem like a full time job in itself, but it can definitely pay off in the end. The difference between journeyman and master can be seen on the job site, but the benefits of being a master also show before your first job as a master begins.
If you take pride in a job well done, you’re probably the type of person who constantly tries to learn new and better ways to do your work. Leaning to do your job better can give you more confidence on the job. When you become a master electrician, you know you have the knowledge and experience to take on jobs most journeyman electricians can’t do. You can take pride in the knowledge that you’ve earned a special job designation and all its benefits through your hard work and gained knowledge.
While earning more on the job isn’t the only reason for becoming a master electrician, the typical raise in pay can help almost any budget. On average, journeyman electricians earn a little over $22 an hour as of July 2015. Master electricians, on the other hand, average almost $26 an hour. Masters have more responsibilities and have a more varied work schedule, but the raise in pay can be well worth the time and effort it takes to get the license. Depending on your company and the average pay in your part of the country, your pay can be much higher if your specialties are in high demand.
On most job sites, a person who knows more techniques and can get the job done better is respected by his fellow crew members, especially if he shares this knowledge. Just knowing how hard it is to pass the master electrician’s tests will automatically cause most journeyman to give you some added props on the work site. When it comes to clients or prospective clients, your expert rating will automatically place you higher in their eyes than the average workman. They’ll respect your opinion about the proposed project and will be more willing to go along with suggestions you might make for getting the job done more easily or with a better result.
Apprentice and journeyman electricians do a large variety of jobs, so the job isn’t as dull and boring as some. Eventually, though, you may want to take your work day to the next level. In addition to the basic electrician job duties, a master supervises all the other crew members on the job. He orders supplies, coordinates teams to make sure all parts of the job finish at the same time and ensures that everything and everyone on the job site operates as planned. After you become a master you’ll also acquire the following responsibilities:
• Pulling permits for the job site
• Purchasing and providing supplies, equipment and other inventory for the crew
• Working with the site manager
• Conduct business and consultations with the homeowner or project owner
• Ensure that all safety guidelines are met on the job site
You’ll have less hands-on electrical work to do and more management jobs, but the new challenges will add an additional spice to your work day.
You may be perfectly happy with your current employment, but that may change in the future. Company ownerships change hands, families relocate on a regular basis and the economy rises and falls. Becoming a master electrician is one way of making your job prospects much more secure in the future. Despite the extra cost of hiring a master, companies are almost always more willing to hire someone with more knowledge and experience than less experienced workers, especially in positions of high responsibility. It just makes good business sense.
If you get tired of working for someone else and decide to create your own company, it’s easier to go out on your own if you’re the expert. Every new company needs to have a master electrician to supervise projects from start to finish. As a master, you’ll not only save money you might otherwise have to spend, your increased knowledge of the trade will enhance your crew management skills.