What is a journeyman electrician?

February 5, 2014

A journeyman electrician is an independent, certified electrician who differs from a master electrician in that the former cannot set up their own contracting business. In Canada, only after completing an apprenticeship can you become a licensed electrician.

What is a journeyman electrician?

Qualifying as an electrician: a complex process

  • Electrician apprenticeships vary from one place to another across Canada, but in most provinces and territories, the minimum age is 16 and you must have completed grade 12 or the equivalent.
  • Some provinces and territories offer apprenticeship programs in high schools, allowing students to acquire technical knowledge in installing, repairing, modifying, and maintaining all types of electrical systems, as well as related electric and electronic controls.
  • Regardless of where the training takes place in Canada, the first part of the training is usually technical theory. That is followed by about four years of on-the-job training, done under the supervision of a journeyman electrician, for a total of at least 8,000 hours.
  • The last step before obtaining the certificate of qualification is successfully passing a qualification exam. Once the certificate has been earned, you become a qualified journeyman electrician and can work independently and supervise an apprentice.

The Red Seal Program

The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program (also known as the Red Seal Program) was established to provide greater mobility across Canada for skilled workers, including electricians.


Today it represents a standard of excellence for industry. Through the program, tradespersons are able to obtain a Red Seal endorsement on their provincial or territorial certificates by successfully completing an interprovincial Red Seal examination.

It is not mandatory for electricians to be Red Seal certified if they work in the same province where they received their training. However, if they come from elsewhere in Canada, the Red Seal will attest to their excellence no matter where they decide to work.

To qualify as a master electrician

Journeyman electricians who want to obtain a contractor’s license have to become master electricians.

  • The difference between journeyman and master electricians does not lie in their electrical knowledge but rather in their ability to manage a company, submit tenders, and draw up plans.

If the journeyman electrician you hire is accompanied by an apprentice, it’s a good thing. It means that one more new electrician will soon be licensed.

*Not only is it dangerous, it may even be illegal in some provinces, such as Québec, to do your own electrical wiring. The solution: consider hiring a master electrician.

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