1. Get the training you need
There are two ways you can get started on your way to becoming a journeyman electrician. First, you can go to a technical school. Secondly, you can enter into an apprenticeship. For technical school, you will need your high school diploma or GED Equivalent. For some, technical training can even begin in high school if your school offers vocational training.
Apprenticeships can be obtained through the IEBW, the International brotherhood of Electrical Workers. the organization offers on-the-job training, so you start earning from day-1. An apprenticeship is typically four years. If you choose to go the non-union route, find a licensed master electrician in your area and let them know you would like to train to be an electrician. You'll usually find others in the field very helpful.
2. Get started working
After about a year into your training you will be able to get started working as what is known as a "helper." Helpers are usually assigned work at job sites but must be supervised by a licensed journeyman electrician. Helpers are not novices in their field and are expected to have at least a basic working knowledge of the business. remember, the last thing you want is to be a burden to your sponsor, who is at the same time your boss.
If you do decide to get your start as just an apprentice without any schooling beforehand, that's OK too. But be aware that helpers without training are not assigned more advanced tasks. As an untrained helper your duties will be more along the lines of delivering materials and running errands. While not as good as training, again you will be paid while you learn, not the other way around. At the least, you will become knowledgeable of the tools and materials needed for the job.
3. Find out what requirements are needed for licensing
To begin with, remember that licensing requirements will vary from state to state. In most all cases, a license to advance your career will be required. You can either contact your local or state licensing board, or maybe just ask your boss.
Again, in most cases the licensing board will require to see statements for the time you have put in on the job. Anywhere from 6000 to 8000 hours would not be unusual.
Types of documentation accepted by the licensing board can vary, but usually include items such as tax information, (W-4) or pay stubs, and school transcripts, if you are planning to get some schooling before you get started out. Remember, keep your documents in order from the very beginning. A letter from your boss would not hurt either.
4. Study the NEC, the National Electrical Code
The one book you're going to absolutely need is the NEC, or the National Electrical Code. be sure to determine beforehand which version your state uses at the time.
5. Hit the books
Not much more need be said. Study as hard as you can and never underestimate any testing. There are some great books that can help you study for your exam, but again, the one book you're going to need most is the NEC.
In most states the NEC code book is the only book you're allowed to take into the exam, so get to know it like the back of your hand. In many cases as well, the color-coded tabs that go along with it are allowed as well. this will help expedite your search.
Study hard, and good luck!
Here are some of the books we recommend when studying for your journeyman’s exam.