AskDefine | Define journeyman

Dictionary Definition

journeyman n : a skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft [syn: craftsman, artisan, artificer]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. a tradesman who has served an apprenticeship and is employed by a master tradesman
  2. a competent but undistinguished tradesman


tradesman who has served an apprenticeship
  • Czech: tovaryš
  • Russian: подмастерье

Extensive Definition

A journeyman is a tradesman or craftsman who has completed an apprenticeship.

Origin of the title "journeyman"

The word 'journeyman' comes from the French word journée, meaning the period of one day; this refers to his right to charge a fee for each day's work. He would normally be employed by a master craftsman, but would live apart and might have a family of his 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 of his compensation in terms of room and board.
In parts of Europe, as in later medieval Germany, spending time as a journeyman (Geselle), moving from one town to another to gain experience of different workshops, was an important part of the training of an aspirant master. Carpenters in Germany have retained the tradition of traveling journeymen until today, although only a small minority still practice it. In later medieval England, however, most journeymen remained as employees throughout their careers, lacking the financial resources to set up their own workshops. In France, they were known as Compagnons.
The terms jack and knave are sometimes used as informal words for journeyman. Hence 'jack of all trades, master of none' — someone who is educated in several fields of trade, but is not yet skilled enough in any to set up their own workshop as a master.



Apprenticeships usually last from three to four years. In the U.S. apprenticeships in metalworking include Tool & Die Maker, Machinist, Model-Maker, Sheet-Metal, Foundry and Gear-cutting. Other related fields include Electrician, Plumber, and Drafting. The peak years for American apprenticeships were 1930-1981, during which time companies found it useful to employ the maximum-allowed apprentices, one for every six or eight journeymen (depending upon the State). In the early 1980s recession, most companies cut their apprenticeship programs and did not restore them when conditions improved.

Modern apprenticeships

Currently, the concept of apprenticeship varies by country. Apprenticeships can be found online through labor unions, job search engines, government job websites, or through technical schools with an apprenticeship work- study program. Also, technical schools and high school that have career education classes can place a student in an apprenticeship. Traditionally, an apprentice will work under the guidance of a person who has earned the title of "master" in their field, and under the guidance of other journeymen. This apprenticeship is a combination of working and learning. Apprenticeship lasts usually three to five years, ending upon exams (written and hands on) and other requirements (classroom hours plus hours in the field) by the certifying agency having been met. Institutions providing exams and approval also vary widely by location, given by governments, unions, or educational institutions. Once the apprenticeship is completed, the individual is granted Journeyman status, and issued documents (diplomas, certificates of achievement, licenses from state or local jurisdictions) that certify him as a journeyman.


A man or woman who has completed the traditional live-in apprenticeship could consider him/herself a journeyman, as could a man or woman who is educated in his field and passed a board certified test. In the United States, the requirements for a journeyman's license are set by each state. In the United States, employment as an electrician usually requires that a person holds a state license as a master or journeyman. However, other professions where journeymen status is applicable such as contracting or plumbing, an equivalent amount of work and scholarly experience are just as desirable to an employer.

Other definitions:

A program for career missionaries


Professional sportsmen are sometimes called journeymen. It is not a technical or well-defined designation, instead it is generally given to players who are skilled enough to remain in pro sports but not skilled enough to earn themselves a permanent position on a team. Players given this moniker tend to be adept at a particular aspect of their sport, but do not possess well-rounded talent comparable to their more-successful peers. They are traded between or signed by several different teams over their career, sometimes even over the course of a single season, based on the teams' need for a player with a specific talent.
Examples of journeymen include: Kenny Lofton (11 MLB teams), Kurt Warner (3 NFL teams + NFL Europe and Arena League), Gus Frerotte (7 NFL teams), Mike Sillinger (12 NHL teams), Tony Massenburg (12 NBA teams), and Trevor Benjamin (16 English Soccer teams),

United States Air Force

In the United States Air Force, "Journeyman" denotes the five skill level.
Skill levels are as follows: 1-Student, 3-Apprentice, 5-Journeyman, 7-Craftsman, and 9-Superintendent.

External links

journeyman in Czech: Tovaryš
journeyman in German: Geselle
journeyman in Latvian: Zellis
journeyman in Dutch: Gezel
journeyman in Russian: Подмастерье
journeyman in Swedish: Gesäll

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1