A journeyman is a skilled worker who has successfully completed an
official apprenticeship qualification in a building trade or craft.
They are considered competent and authorized to work in that field as
a fully qualified employee. A journeyman earns their license by
education, supervised experience, and examination. Although a
journeyman has completed a trade certificate and is able to work as an
employee, they are not yet able to work as a self-employed master
The term journeyman was originally used in the medieval trade guilds.
Journeymen were paid each day. The word "journey" is derived from
journée—"day" in French. Each individual guild generally recognised
three ranks of workers: apprentices, journeymen, and masters. A
journeyman, as a qualified tradesman could become a master and run
their own business, but most continued working as employees.
Guidelines were put in place to promote responsible tradesmen, who
were held accountable for their own work, and to protect the
individual trade and the general public from unskilled workers. To
become a master, a journeyman has to submit a master piece of work to
a guild for evaluation. Only after evaluation can a journeyman be
admitted to the guild as a master. Sometimes, a journeyman is
required to accomplish a three-year working trip, which may be called
the journeyman years.
2 Modern era
3.1 United States
4 Modern journeyman
5 See also
6 Further reading
8 External links
German journeymen in traditional uniform during journeyman years
The word journeyman comes from the French word journée, which comes
from Vulgar Latin, "diurnum" and then
Classical Latin "dierum", all of
which mean "day". The title refers to the journeyman's right to charge
a fee for each day's work. A journeyman has completed an
apprenticeship but is employed by another such as a master
craftsman, but they would live apart and might have a family of their
own. A journeyman could not employ others. In contrast, an apprentice
would be bound to a master, usually for a fixed term of seven years,
and lived with the master as a member of the household, receiving most
or all compensation in the form of food, lodging, and training.
In parts of Europe, as in Late Medieval Germany, spending time as a
wandering journeyman (Wandergeselle), moving from one town to
another to gain experience of different workshops, was an important
part of the training of an aspirant master. Carpenters and other
artisans in German speaking countries have retained the tradition of
traveling journeymen even today, but only a few still practice it.
In France, wandering journeymen were known as compagnons.
In modern apprenticeship systems, a journeyman has a trades
certificate to show the required completion of an apprenticeship. In
many countries, it is the highest formal rank, as that of master has
been eliminated, and they may perform all tasks of the trade in the
area certified as well as supervise apprentices and become
The modern apprenticeship system aims to build skills by on-the-job
training. An apprentice is able to earn a living while learning new
skills. The working environment is closely linked to the employer
giving the individual company the opportunity to shape the apprentice,
within the guidelines, to suit particular requirements. Quite often, a
strong working relationship is built between employee and employer.
In Germany, however, master craftsmen, after they complete their
apprenticeships, are required to take part-time courses that last
three to four years or full-time courses that last one year.
A person who has completed the traditional live-in apprenticeship can
be considered a journeyman, just like someone who is educated in the
field and passed a board-certified test.
In the United States, employment in some building trades, such as an
electrician, carpenter, plumber, machinist, and HVAC contractor
usually requires holding state or local (city or county) license as a
journeyman or master. The license certifies that the craftsman has met
the requirements of time in the field (usually a minimum of 8000
hours) and time in an approved classroom setting (usually 700 hours).
A journeyman has the responsibility of supervising workers of lesser
experience and training them and has the qualifications (knowledge and
skills) to work unsupervised himself. A journeyman is commonly
expected to have a wide range of experience, covering most fields of
their trade. For example, a non-journeyman worker of some 20 or 30
years' experience may have most or all of their experience in only
residential, commercial, or industrial applications. A journeyman,
however, has a broad field of experience in residential, commercial,
and industrial applications.
In Australia, a journeyman registration allows the permit holder to
work under the general direction of an advanced tradesman. A
journeyman may oversee the work of apprentices and trades assistants
but may not contract for work using that particular registration. A
journeyman level qualification is obtained by completing a formal
apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is learning a skilled trade under
the supervision of an advanced tradesperson. An apprentice is a
trainee who is becoming formally trained and qualified in a particular
type of trade. The duration of an apprenticeship is usually three to
four years, depending on the individual trade. On completion of the
training the apprentice will receive a nationally-recognised
Trade Certificate. Practical on-the-job learning
makes up the majority of an apprenticeship, but it also incorporates
some classroom learning. Apprenticeships offer real-life experience in
the workplace, a regular income and new skills. Examples of
licensed trades are plumbers and gas-fitters, electricians,
air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and carpenters and
The modern journeyman is a term for the many paths of adult education
and can be used to describe life's process of continual learning.
Although the term journeyman is typically traditional, modern
journeyman is used to refer to current concepts of adult education:
life-long learning, up-skilling, the knowledge wave and modern
Air Force Occupational Badge
Compagnons du Tour de France
Journeyman years (Waltz)
George Sand: The journeyman joiner or The Compagnon of the tour de
France. 1847 (in French: Le Compagnon du tour de France, 1840)
^ Journeyman. (2006). In C. Harris (Ed.), Dictionary of architecture
and construction. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Retrieved from
^ Journeyman. (2013). In G. Kurian, The AMA Dictionary of business and
management. New York, NY: AMACOM, Publishing Division of the American
Management Association. Retrieved from
^ Journeyman. (2015). In The Hutchinson unabridged encyclopedia with
atlas and weather guide. Abington, United Kingdom: Helicon. Retrieved
^ Salt, L. E., & Sinclair, R. (Eds.). (1957). Oxford junior
encyclodaedia: Industry and commerce (Vol. VII). London: Oxford
^ "Journeyman" def. 1. Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on
CD-ROM (v. 4.0), Oxford University Press, 2009
^ Dicke, Hugo, and Hans H. Glismann. Vocational Training in Germany.
Kiel: Institut für Weltwirtschaft, 1994. page 34. Print.
^ Europe journeymen NYTimes, August 8, 2017
^ Cassels, J. (2001). Modern Apprenticeships: the way to work, The
Report of the Modern
Apprenticeship Advisory Committee. Retrieved from
^ Northern Territory Government. (2016).
^ Work Ready. (2016). What is an apprenticeship or traineeship?
^ Commonwealth of Australia. (2016). Licence recognition. Retrieved
^ Emms, M. (2005). The modern journeyman: Influences and controls of
apprentice-style learning in culinary education. Retrieved from
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Journeymen.
The modern Journeymen
Taking it to the streets