What is a Journeyman Eletrician?

I was wondering if the term "Journeyman Electrician" has a specific meaning, or is used loosely (or is a Union term).
I did a web search and the definition was "works under a master electrician". However, I did find a few states that offered license tests to apparently be an "official" journeyman electrician (but wasn't clear if you could call yourself that without a license).
The reason I ask is I have seen some ads on craigslist in my area that say something like "Journeyman electrician with 15 years experience, work done to meet NEC requirements." And they seem to offer not just "minor" type work.
I have some minor type electrical things like changing switches and I want some receptacles looked at to see if they can be grounded ('60s house with hit and miss grounding). Anyway, I don't feel comfortable with electric work and I don't feel comfortable with the electrical skills of any "handymen" I have met (especially with older houses). Anyway, for simple stuff it is a bit expensive to hire an eletrical contractor so I was thinking about one of these "journeymen." What I want to know is if someone specifically calls themself a "journeyman electrician", do they have to have a certificate or license or is this a vague term? What should I ask them (i.e. do you have a license or certificate to prove you are a "journeyman").
And, in general, if someone says they have 15 years experience and are a journeyman electrician, would you have any reservations about using them for basic type stuff? Would you insist on seeing proof (and what would you ask for?). Again, I just don't know if this term means anything legally, skill-wise, or otherwise. Any comments appreciated.
-- John
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A Master, Journeyman and Apprentice electrician are state licensing categories. Plumbers can have the same categories. Qualifications to achieve each category are specified by the state and include: Length of employment with a qualified employer (Master Electrician) Passing a competency test (re-testing required) Purchasing the license
The employer has to submit paperwork stating that the person has worked for them for the required number of years.
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on 6/4/2007 6:15 AM Tom Kendrick said the following:

In the NY County where I live, electricians (or any other home contractors) do not need a license to work on a house, except for the two cities in my County, where they do have to be licensed. In the previous NY County I lived in, the contracting business has to have a County permit and the permit number must be displayed on their vehicles. Additionally, every worker has to be individually licensed, and any homeowner wanting to do his own home electric work has to apply for a temporary license. In both counties, all finished work has to be approved by an inspector, appointed by the local government, before a Certificate of Occupancy is issued. Curiously, these two counties abut each other. If I had to do it all over again, I would prefer that all workers be licensed. Not that everything isn't working right, but the wiring and plumbing weren't done neatly. The plumbing in the utility room looks like it was done by the designer of the Windows 'pipe' screensaver, and the cabling for the TVs was done in series (one cable through the house and split in each room) rather than parallel (each room having a 'home run'), requiring that I had to have it rewired.

--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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technicly, journeyman refers to a skilled person capable of working independantly from a set of blue prints. He would be a helper up until he received that title.
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As others have said, a journeyman is generally referring to a competent mechanic in whatever field, however you need to check with your local government to see if these folks can legally work for you

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John Ross wrote:

There's the joke about the young man who started a career on a tuna fishing boat. For one year, he was an Apprentice Baiter. For the next five years, he would be a Journeyman Baiter. After that, he was eligible to become a Master.
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John Ross wrote:

There are at least 51 different answers o that question - 50 states licensing requirements, plus DC. (No, not direct current.)
In addition within a state there ay be addioal / different rules for counties and cities.
Rule of thumb, and it will vary by juridiction, a person with 7 or more years experience working under supervision of a verysenio electrician, and who has enough sense and skill so that s/he can work a job on their own, unspervised, but not seasoned enough to teach others.
Master, journeyman and apprentice are concepts with very old roots in the English language, going back to medieval guilds. The application of the words has changed. In some places (east coast US big cites ?)it may now have to do wih status / tenure / time in a unon; other places it has more to do with state licensing, again based on years of exerience and passing various levels of exams.
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Did they have much work for journeymen electricians in the dark age?
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materials were in very short supply.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Good one Ed!
Thanks for the chuckle.
Think wheelwrights, blacksmiths, glass makers, bakers, printers, etc.
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wrote:

It is a specific term, intended to guarantee competence. Most places, trades begin as apprentices under a Master and follow prescribed theoretical and practical training. They write exams to become "journeymen".
The term dates to medieval times. A village Master would take on an apprentice and when the apprentice had learned all the master could teach him, he left the village for a few years, journeying from village to village learning techniques and applications from other Masters. Thus, the term "journey man". As to your question -- can he handle routine household stuff? -- sure. Ask him for his license number. He'll be licensed by the municipality if not the county or state or province or whatever they call it where you live.
Ken
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.tnx wrote:

degree from college, says that the person has been exposed to a certain number of class hours and has taken a certain number of tests, and (in this case) has worked a certain number of hours on the job under the supervision of a journeyman or someone similar. That is a LONG way from guaranteeing competence. MIGHT suggest a certain minimum competance, but that about all.
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But in the real world, a single journeyman electrician has more common sense than an entire class of Liberal Arts majors.
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