How To Become A Journeyman
Career Video: Journeyman
Do you want to pursue a trade, honing your skills to one day become a master at your craft? Do you like working independently and for a variety of clients? Are you looking to learn through on-the-job experience under the direct supervision from a master in your trade? If you are searching for a career that will allow autonomy while using your skills and knowledge, pursuing an apprenticeship toward becoming a journeyman could be right for you.
Why Become A Journeyman
Journeymen provide a number of services to a variety of clients. A journeyman has completed an apprenticeship and is licensed in whichever trade he or she received training. A journeyman license allows an individual to work in a number of capacities; it ensures that the individual has completed the training requirements and that the journeyman has a wide range of experience. A journeyman can work independently and may also work in some supervisory roles. It is an accomplished step and on the pathway toward becoming a master.
Apprentices can train to become journeymen in a variety of industries, allowing them to work independently as the following (but not limited to):
- HVAC Contractors
- Iron Workers
Services vary, depending on employment and industry, and a journeyman can work solo or with a crew. They may work in private residences or for commercial/industrial customers.
Because of the serious nature of working in many of these trades, a journeyman’s character and skill should meet the following qualifications:
- Good hand-eye coordination
- Manual dexterity
- Clearly distinguish colors
- Physical stamina and fitness
- Aptitude for science and mathematics
- Knowledgeable of applicable safety codes
- Able to prepare and read blueprints
Journeyman Work Environment
Journeymen can work anywhere! Their jobs may take them to private residences to repair a broken pipe, install an HVAC unit, or test an electrical system. Common work for journeymen of all types exists in construction and factories. Skilled tradesmen of all kinds are needed to complete a project or build a product.
This type of work often occurs in awkward and uncomfortable spaces—cramped, elevated, or underground. It can also occur in noisy factories and construction sites, and in areas with extreme temperatures.
Electricity, plumbing, heating/cooling, and other products of these trades are important. Journeymen typically work full time, and they may work evenings, weekends, and holidays. Weather changes, seasonal needs, and construction and maintenance schedules may dictate hours as well.
It is important that all tradesmen, especially those in training, are careful. There is a higher rate of injury among those who work in these trades, from falls, burns, shocks, and other complications. Journeymen should ensure safety at all times, using safety equipment and working within code.
The salary of a journeyman varies widely, depending on the type of work they conduct. The overall median salary for a journeyman is $46,000. Below is a list of average salaries for journeymen in a variety of industries:
- Pipefitter: $48,000
- Welder: $46,000
- Electrician: $43,000
- Plumber: $41.000
- Carpenter: $38,000
- HVAC: $38,000
- Roofer: $36,000
- Painter: $32,000
Journeyman Career Outlook
At present, the outlook for a career as journeyman is good. The job growth for construction trades is projected to be 22 percent over the next decade. New technological capabilities will drive the need for homes and businesses to invest in new systems, and many older systems will need retrofitting. Some fields will see more growth than others, depending on the time of year.
Employment fluctuates mostly with the status of construction. In times of economic prosperity, construction is a booming industry. Unfortunately, during times of slow growth or inclement weather, journeymen may find themselves unemployed. For more consistent work, journeymen should find jobs in factories or obtain extensive experience in a variety of skills for more opportunity.
To become a journeyman, an individual must complete a supervised apprenticeship. Aspiring journeymen must have at least a high school diploma to start an apprenticeship. He or she can gain technical training before applying for an apprenticeship or during.
Step 1: Enroll in an apprenticeship program. Many technical schools offer apprenticeship programs for various trades. These programs take approximately 4 to 5 years to complete and are under the direct supervision of a master in the field. For each year in a typical apprenticeship program, an individual must complete 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-site training. Overall, apprentices will complete about 8,000 hours in the field and 700 in the classroom.
Classroom training typically consists of theory, blueprint reading, code requirements, mathematics, and first-aid and safety protocols. Most programs also offer courses that guide students to a better understanding of business procedures and other analytical skills.
To enter an apprenticeship program, schools typically require the following:
- Minimum age of 18 years
- High school diploma or GED
- At least one year of algebra
- A qualifying examination score
- Pass screenings for illicit substances
Note: When one chooses to enter an apprentice program varies. Some choose to work as a helper on job sites, then become an apprentice through an employer. These individuals gain classroom training through community college or technical schools. Some may choose to enroll in an apprentice program right away, in which they are matched up with a master tradesman. Some may have completed coursework and then decided to pursue on-the-job training. In these instances, they will receive credit for the completed training and continue on in an apprenticeship.
Step 2: Become licensed. Licensure varies by each state, so it is important to check with local and state licensing boards. To become licensed, an individual must pass an examination in the respective field and successfully complete an apprenticeship.