How do I Prepare for a Journeyman Exam?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2019
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A journeyman exam is a general description of the written examination required to become a certified trade professional. The term journeyman is not discriminatory, but historical, referring to someone who had gained a specific level of expertise in his or her trade. The name of the exact trade is always provide after the ranking. For example, a journeyman plumber is a licensed plumber, as is a journeyman electrician.

The tradition in the skilled trades is to allow candidates to leave traditional high school early and work directly in their trade of choice. Courses are offered over a series of years and are combined with working experience to develop the necessary skills in the trade. In preparation for the journeyman exam, candidates should study theoretical knowledge, state and federal laws, and trade-specific techniques.

Theoretical knowledge is a very broad term, but when applied to a journeyman exam can be defined as a firm understanding of the principles of electricity, gravity, torque, motion physics, and leverage. In addition to these core functions, the reasoning behind certain procedures, the impact of safety in the workplace, and how to avoid injury are all critical to this process.


Every trade is performed within the framework of state and federal laws. These laws are typically safety focused, designed to reduce the chance of injury or death to both the tradespersons and the client. For example, electrical building code or bylaws dictate the amount of power that can run on a household current, and the requirement for a circuit breaker. As part of the journeyman exam, a thorough knowledge and understanding of these laws is required.

Trade specific techniques required for a journeyman exam may include the correct procedure when changing an electrical circuit, procedure when accessing a water main, or when to use different types of shop equipment. All this information is used on a daily basis to perform the tasks of the trade.

Preparation for the journeyman exam should include the memorization of the bylaws and laws, the ability to explain the theoretical concepts in a written essay format, and the skills required to physically demonstrate the correct procedures. Memorization of a large amount of information requires time and repetition. Plan ahead and devote enough time to memorization to allow at least 10 repetitions of all the information.

Practice your skills under the supervision of a journeyman and incorporate their comments into your skills to improve your technique. Hold study sessions with friends and family, where they ask a test question and compare your answer to the study guide. Use interactive learning methods to keep the brain engaged and actively involved in the process.


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Where can I take my journeyman test for an outside machinist if i have all the requirements?

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