The way I would answer your question is this. In most cases the actual term Master Electrician comes in the way of a certificate of competency and license from the authority having jurisdiction. Just as in any other profession someone goes through the schooling and field experience and achieves a level of expertise. But as in any profession there is good, bad and mediocre. I think your right that in todays world there is so much to know none of us can be an all around "master" of our field. We all have our strong points which mostly comes from what our own experience has taught us and what kind of mentors we have had. All that said I think that I like the title Master electrician as achieving the license and what our job involves is no easy task.
Good points brought out. One thing that I think is important is recognizing what you are and are not qualified to do. Some guys can not accept this way of thinking. " I am a master electrician I can work on anything". This can be very dangerous. It is also difficult to make customers understand this as well. Most think wires are wires and electrcians are electricians. Know your limits.
I'm also a class 2 GA contractor. How long have you had your license? The reason I ask is that I have an employee that just took the exam and passed with a 92 (I got a 91) and when I asked him about what was on the test he didn't have to do much of the same stuff I had several years ago. It seems like they dumbed down the test. Have you heard anything like this.
Here in Minnesota the licenses are actually titled Class "A" Master or Class "A" Journeyman. Class "B" licenses are much more restricted. The state of Minnesota stopped issuing new class "B" licenses a few years back.
The state exams (including the masters) are for the most part purely competancy tests (no business related questions). In order to be in business, you must purchase a contractors license, and either hold a masters license yourself or employ someone who does. In order to purchase a contractor's license you must first provide proof of insurance and hold a $5000.00 bond payable to the state of Minnesota.
I hold both a class "A" master's and a class "A" journeyman's license. Even though I am legally qualified to work on anything, I am by no means a master at everything. Matt