What good is a german journeyman certificate?

Christoph

Member
Location
Reading, PA
Hello everyone,

first of all thank you very much for welcoming me to the forum.

A little background first of all to set the scene:

I was born and raised in germany. I did a full 3.5 year apprenticeship in germany from 2006 to 2010. In 2015 I came to the US and worked here, first on the Philadelphia Shipyard in the new construction of oil tankers and then for a german company installing and relocating industrial machinery.

After some other odds and ends electrical jobs I just got offered a Project Manager / Estimator Job that I couldnt say no to so here I sit in my own office plus truck etc.

The original question is, with a german journeyman certificate, does anyone know of anything I can do with it as far as certifications in the US go? I know about all the waiting periods and such to apply for licenses and sit for tests.

On one hand I understand the differences in the NEC vs. the VDE in germany and the shortcomings I have regarding the NEC but on the other hand it doesnt seem right to me to do yet another 4 year apprenticeship, especially considering my position in the company.

I am in PA, Reading or Philadelphia (cities havent been any helpful with information, I guess they dont know what to do with it, please dont get me started with the Union, I already had my fare share of giref with them).

I am thankful for any input. Maybe an outline on how to obtain a master license the quickest way.

Thank you very much
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Hey, welcome to the forum

I would advise you to call Pa licensing board. I realize there is no state license in Pa ( or I think that is so) but I am guessing there is local licensing boards. I doubt past experience in germany will do you much good.

Hopefully someone from Pa will chime in
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I'd say as a general rule it won't automatically give you credentials for licensing requirements, but if you have any verifiable documentation to your experiences many licensing authorities will consider that experience and make some exceptions in your circumstances, some however may not. You are likely still going to have to pass any exams they have to acquire a license - all your experience does for you is make you eligible to take those exams and bypass apprentice stages or put you further into those stages necessary to be able to take license exams.
 

Christoph

Member
Location
Reading, PA
UPDATE:

Just called the city of Reading to ask for a waiver of the conditions (which are to have been a journeyman for 2 years). The electrical inspector is going to get back to me later. Left voicemail.

Thanks for the direction so far, ill keep you updated.
 

Sahib

Senior Member
Location
India
There is no way to bypass apprenticeship completely to become a master electrician.
So why not become a PE?
 

jksmith82

Senior Member
Location
PA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I live outside of Phila. My license is from Norristown, Pa. and all other municipalities I work in, except Phila. Recognize it. I don’t work in Phila. I took a very lengthy test back in 1994. Unfortunately today many municipalities only require that you have a HIC license through the attorney generals office, that is easy to get with $50 and liability insurance. Do a search on PA HIC. I say unfortunately because many contractors are doing electrical work and really should not be. I am all for a state wide license, but I doubt this will happen anytime soon. As a side note, Mike Holt gave a rating to Pa of a “C”. For licensing. And the grade was kind.

Jim
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Thats not what im trying to do. I have an apprenticeship, just in another "jurisdiction".
Kind of no different if your apprenticeship were in another city, state, etc. Apprenticeship done in same jurisdiction you are wanting to obtain a license may go simpler as they already have documentation on your experience. If experience is obtained elsewhere they may still honor it, but will likely want some verification of what that experience is and probably will involve some additional steps just to do that verification vs if you had apprenticed in their jurisdiction.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
I was born and raised in germany. I did a full 3.5 year apprenticeship in germany from 2006 to 2010. In 2015 I came to the US and worked here, first on the Philadelphia Shipyard in the new construction of oil tankers and then for a german company installing and relocating industrial machinery.

After some other odds and ends electrical jobs I just got offered a Project Manager / Estimator Job that I couldn't say no to so here I sit in my own office plus truck etc.

On one hand I understand the differences in the NEC vs. the VDE in germany and the shortcomings I have regarding the NEC but on the other hand it doesnt seem right to me to do yet another 4 year apprenticeship, especially considering my position in the company.

I am thankful for any input. Maybe an outline on how to obtain a master license the quickest way.
The experience required by most states or even cities is a certain amount of time working under someone that holds a master's license.

If you have time working under a master electrician ( licensed master) in the shipyard or relocating industrial equipment then you should contact them and get some documentation as to the number of hours.

If you do any actual hands on electrical work now you can get the master for the company to document your hours.

The problem is that project manager and estimator would normally be office or management type work and not hands on electrical.

It's normally not all that easy to even transfer a license from on state to another unless they have some sort of reciprocal agreement.

You first have to figure out what the authority that grants the license requires and then see if you can supply that requirement in training hours for the license you wish to obtain.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
It all comes down to what the jurisdiction in question will accept for experience, especially experience that wasn't somehow documented within the jurisdiction.

Some places you may have no choice but to start out at their apprentice level and as far as they are concerned with zero experience, which is too bad, nobody knows what motivation they have for being that way.

Other places will consider experience elsewhere - they just want some kind of proof you actually say you did what you did. You still are likely to need to pass their license exam before they will issue you the license - or will reciprocate licenses from certain other jurisdictions.
 

myspark

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
:rant:
I already have a HIC license, so does the company I work for.
Interesting.
It's good to know someone from different sphere who may have different way of doing things. . .and probably even better.:cool:

I had a 6hr layover at the Munich Airport last year and the section where passengers were waiting had the ceiling being worked on.
I noticed that ninety nine percent of power and lighting wiring were done with non-metallic sheathed cables and color coded. This resembles those residential NMC cables here in US.

We don't do NMC cables for commercial installs here in LA--let alone industrial installations.

The only metallic conduits that I saw there were the stem that hold those pendant light fixtures.

Makes me wonder if it is the general practice in all Germany. I had pictures also of underground wire runs in Vienna popping out of the ground in about 6 inch diameter plastic raceways.
Seems like you use a lot of plastic.
If the above is what you are familiar with ..it would be a radical departure from how it's done here.

Having said that. . .it makes it even more important to acquire the actual field experience.

I love those lighting rods on roof of houses in the countryside.:cool:

BTW: There is book titled: American Electrician's Handbook. Electricians call it their bible. It has 2000 pages.
I am Electrical Engineer and I found it useful during my contracting work.
 

Chamuit

Senior Member
Location
Texas
Is there a nearby jurisdiction (state) that you could obtain a license through?

I recently helped an old employee get his from the state of Texas. He lives in Arizona and they do not license there. There was a testing center in Phoenix that could administer the Texas exam.
 

myspark

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
:rant:

Interesting.
It's good to know someone from different sphere who may have different way of doing things. . .and probably even better.:cool:

I had a 6hr layover at the Munich Airport last year and the section where passengers were waiting had the ceiling being worked on.
I noticed that ninety nine percent of power and lighting wiring were done with non-metallic sheathed cables and color coded. This resembles those residential NMC cables here in US.

We don't do NMC cables for commercial installs here in LA--let alone industrial installations.

The only metallic conduits that I saw there were the stem that hold those pendant light fixtures.

Makes me wonder if it is the general practice in all Germany. I had pictures also of underground wire runs in Vienna popping out of the ground in about 6 inch diameter plastic raceways.
Seems like you use a lot of plastic.
If the above is what you are familiar with ..it would be a radical departure from how it's done here.

Having said that. . .it makes it even more important to acquire the actual field experience.

I love those lighting rods on roof of houses in the countryside.:cool:

BTW: There is book titled: American Electrician's Handbook. Electricians call it their bible. It has 2000 pages.
I am Electrical Engineer and I found it useful during my contracting work.

Should read:
Lightning Rods

 

Christoph

Member
Location
Reading, PA
Update:

I have had the electrical inspector on the phone today and he told me I should present my case plus documentation in front of the Electrical Board. He said if my apprenticeship in germany was equivalent to the one here and I have had an exam and such they will decide on requirements on obtaining the journeyman or master license.

Ill let you guys know what happens, thanks for the good input so far.
 
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