What is a Master Electrician
A Master Electrician is considered to have reached the pinnacle of their profession as a Journeyman electrician. In order to be called a master electrician, a person must have passed the master electrician exam after having either worked for 5 to 9 years as a journeyman or earning a degree in electrical engineering. This combination of education and experienced prepares the master electrician to handle anything they encounter while completing a project.
Master electricians are highly skilled, well-trained, experienced licensed electrician with the ability and certifications to handle almost any project that involves electricity. Note that a journeyman electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, transmission lines, and related electrical equipment. A journeyman electrician is still a qualified electrical professional – it’s just that a master electrician is a level of education and experience beyond this.
How Much Does a Master Electrician Make
A master electrician makes an average salary of around $USD 55,000 a year. This varies quite a lot depending on the industry, state, years experience, and company you work for. Master electricians can work for companies and oversee the work done by journeymen electricians. They can also work for contractors (higher pay, less job security), or they can even run their own electrical companies (potential for even higher pay, but more management and administrative responsibilities).
The mining & oil and gas industry will pay master electricians a lot more than residential projects. In addition, certain states (e.g. Alaska and New York) will pay higher average wages (see the full breakdown of electrician salary by state).
How to Become a Master Electrician
In order to get the designation “master”, an electrician must have formal certification and display extensive knowledge of the electrical safety code. This certification assures customers the state has tested the electrician and found them competent and has given them the highest rating possible. The master status also shows the electrician is skilled enough to handle the installation of complex wiring and circuitry. The master designation also means the electrician has passed the state-administered master exam and completed any additional coursework that is required. If you want a head start on studying, check out our list on the best books for electricians.
The state of Texas has very specific requirements for an electrician to earn the master designation. To get the designation electricians must first get an electrical apprentice and then intermediate level license. They must also complete 12,000 hours of on-the-job training under the direct supervision of a licensed electrician who has master status. This training must be documented and this documentation must be presented along with the master license application. Pay stubs are the preferred documentation. After working under the direct supervision of a master level electrician for 8,000 hours an electrician can apply for their journeyman electrician license (read a full electrician job description here).
Once the electrician has passed the journeyman electrician exam and has worked as a journeyman electrician for at least two years they then qualify to take the examination to become a master electrician. Before taking the exam electricians must familiarize themselves with the National Electrical Code.
Once the exam has been successfully completed the electrician must then take their Experience Verification Form signed by all the master electricians the applicant has worked under and the $50 application fee to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation generally responds to each applicant within 30 days of receiving their license application to let them know if it has been approved.
People interested in becoming master electricians must make up their mind to work hard and study. Being a master electrician is a major responsibility. They are responsible for assessing projects, gathering necessary permits and guiding the apprentice and journeyman electricians working with them. They must also be able to implement any electrical design and oversee the preparation and installation of electrical wiring and lighting fixtures. They are also responsible for ensuring the workers follow all protocols, are safe and don’t damage the property on which they are working.
Any electrician is qualified to repair and maintain cables, dimmers, lighting fixtures, networking, and power distribution (so long as they have the right list of electrician tools). However, an electrician with master status is necessary to plan, implement and supervise all major construction and installation projects. They must get all electrical permits, document and track all circuiting and system configurations and handle all paperwork generated by the project. These experienced, licensed electricians go through extensive training to qualify them to take care of all these responsibilities.