How To Become a Master Electrician (With Job Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 23, 2022

Published August 17, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A master electrician represents the highest level of work or service within the electrical industry. From managing their businesses to supervising other electricians, master electricians play an essential role in providing elite training to new electricians and leading large projects. Understanding how to become a master electrician and their responsibilities can help you determine if it is the right career path for you. In this article, we explore what a master electrician is and the benefits of this career, discuss their core responsibilities, duties, and necessary skills, explore how to become a master electrician, and review their average salary.

What is a master electrician?

A master electrician is a certified professional who is qualified to create electrical blueprints and perform high and low-level electrical works for project systems. Master electricians hold the highest level of licensure within the electrical field and act as team leads on electrical system projects. They rank above both apprentice and journeyperson positions, who are licensed electricians able to work unsupervised for a business or project. Apprentice and journeypersons can also eventually become master electricians.

Being a master electrician is a unique role that requires great proficiency in both technical skills and management knowledge. There are several requirements for becoming a master electrician in Canada. It takes about five years of training to become a master electrician, during which you have to pass several certification exams.

Why become a master electrician?

Here are some reasons why may consider a career in this field:

  • The master electrician certificate expresses your mastery and advanced experience in a wide range of knowledge related to building codes, project management, and wiring.

  • The master electrician is a leader in the electrical field and has the experience and expertise to install, repair, and maintain the most complex electrical systems.

  • The master electrician designation shows customers and recruiters that you can organize, design, and implement complex electrical installation projects.

  • Master electricians earn more than any other licensed professional in the electrical field and are necessary for the execution of major electrical works and projects.

Related: Five Principles for How To Choose a Career

What are the responsibilities of a master electrician?

Master electricians typically act as supervisors, train other electricians, work as licensed contractors, or in some cases, operate their own electrical businesses. An organization, group, or government agency would require the services of a master electrician for projects involving complex mechanical plans and system installation, electrical works that require permits, and large-scale issues such as power outages. Master electricians are also engaged in manufacturing, commercial, and residential projects.

The responsibilities of a designated master electrician include:

  • Understanding and upholding Licence Holder Standards of Conduct

  • Ensuring compliance with the Electrical Safety Code during the electrical installation process

  • Supervising work carried out by the electrical contractor and delegating duties to the journeypersons and apprentices

  • Performing system failure troubleshooting and evaluating energy efficiency

  • Conducting electrical system planning

  • Overseeing that electrical works comply with consumer protection legislation, employment standards and business laws

The job duties of a master electrician

Although journeypersons are licensed electricians capable of performing electrical works while unsupervised, they have other duties, include:

  • Providing training and evaluation of other employees

  • Overseeing the development of wire system installation and designing the routing of circuits for the system installation

  • Acquiring permits, acting as team leaders, and providing supervisory and consultative services to others on the job site

  • Counselling and acting as supervisors to the journeypersons or apprentices

  • Evaluating the project productivity ratio

  • Ensuring compliance with laws relating to health and safety

  • Acting as the technical point of contact between other contractors and vendors or clients

  • Determining the source of power system failures and developing counter corrective actions

  • Monitoring changes in the National Electrical Code and implementing changes in projects accordingly

  • Coordinating and monitoring collaborations with other trades to ensure seamless system installation and understanding of future needs

What skills does a master electrician require?

Developing soft skills, along with technical skills, is important to career success, including:

Leadership skills

Leadership skills are required to lead and organize a team towards a common goal. Master electricians often act as the team leads in most electrical projects. They typically ensure that a project meets its objectives within the required time frame.

Excellent communication skills

As the team leader of an electrical project, master electricians need to communicate effectively with team members and clients. They need to describe the scope of the process to the journeypersons, apprentices, and other members of the team. To do this, they need to possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Delegation

A major part of a master electrician's duties involves supervising journeypersons and apprentices as they perform their tasks. Supervision entails knowing how to delegate tasks properly and to whom they need to be delegated. Proper delegation is important to the success of the entire project.

Problem-solving skills

Master electricians often take part in high-level electrical projects involving. These projects can involve multiple teams and complex electrical installations. They need to possess excellent problem-solving skills to manage and maintain a seamless work environment for optimal performance.

Master electricians also possess a unique set of technical skills that help them perform in a supervisory role. These skills include:

  • Proficiency in using electrical motors and controls

  • Interpretation of electrical blueprints, diagrams and schematics

  • Knowledge of national electrical safety codes, regulations, and procedures

  • Experience with standard practices, tools, and equipment of the electrical trade

Related: Hard Skills vs Soft Skills

How to become a master electrician

The following steps are a guide on how to become a master electrician:

1. Be at least 18 years

If you are interested in becoming a certified master electrician, the first step to achieving this is ensuring you are at least 18 years of age. Having a high school diploma or a GED is helpful. Such certifications can make you more competitive among other candidates.

2. Consider enrolling in a trade or technical school

Apply to a trade school as one of the first steps to becoming a master electrician. If you choose to enrol in a technical school, you can receive first-hand knowledge of job safety and electrical basics from qualified instructors. There are also several pre-apprenticeship programs you can consider to get more hands-on learning experience with practising professionals.

3. Apply for an apprenticeship

An apprenticeship program is the first stage of an electrician's learning process. Qualified electricians, who instruct and monitor the entire program, supervise apprentices. The program typically involves classroom-style training on basic electrical processes and procedures. Electrical contractors are a great source of apprenticeship programs as they often have licensed journeypersons and master electricians to guide prospective electricians in the trade.

Related: What is an Apprenticeship?

4. Possess at least three years of experience in the electrical trade

To qualify to be a master electrician, you need to possess a minimum of three years of experience within the electrical industry as:

  • A journeyperson electrician performing electrical work under a valid certificate of qualification

  • A practising electrician either in construction and maintenance or domestic and industrial electrical work under a valid certificate of qualification

  • A P.Eng. registered with a relevant provincial or territorial engineering regulator affiliated with Engineers Canada, working for an electrical contractor

  • A Certified Engineering Technologist working for an electrical contractor and registered with a relevant provincial or territorial member association of either the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists or Technology Professionals Canada

5. Get licensure as a master electrician

To become a licensed master electrician, you must pass the written and practical electrical examination. The exam assesses your understanding, skill, and knowledge of electrical system design, repair, installation, alteration, construction, blueprint creation, and mastery of complex electrical systems. It also measures your ability to direct and supervise others engaged in similar tasks.

You can take the following steps to get the master electrician licence:

  • Register for the exam

  • Pass the master electrician exam

  • Apply for the master electrician licence

  • Once you meet the conditions, you receive your master electrician licence within four weeks of submission

  • Once they issue your license, keep it valid by submitting your full licence documents every five years. In the years between submissions, licensees need to self-declare that licensing documents are up-to-date.

Average salary of a master electrician in Canada

The national average salary for a master electrician is $85,127 per year. Additional benefits include health insurance, disability coverage, paid time off, and professional development contributions. These benefits could differ based on your location and employer.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organization‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌, ‌and‌ ‌location.‌ Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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