Become an Apprentice
What is an Apprenticeship?
The Different Types of Apprenticeships
An Apprenticeship is job that pays you while you learn a trade or career skills. Only apprenticeships that are evaluated and approved by a state or federal Department of Labor can be called a Registered Apprenticeship. Registered Apprenticeships last anywhere from 1 to 6 years. They provide paid on-the-job training combined with related classroom instruction. Registered Apprenticeships offer career paths with advancement potential. Some apprenticeships earn college credit at the same time.
A Pre-Apprenticeship is a program that prepares an individual to succeed in a registered apprenticeship. These programs have a partnership with an apprenticeship employer. A pre-apprenticeship provides the necessary foundation skills in math, English, and work readiness, basic job training, and exposure to the industry. They are sometimes paid, but rarely charge tuition or fees.
Youth Apprentices split time between school and paid career training. Youth Apprenticeships, sometimes called High School Apprenticeships, are designed for 16 to 24 year-old students, currently enrolled in secondary education or pursuing a high school equivalency. Youth apprenticeships combine technical classroom instruction with work experience. They provide the foundation to choose multiple career pathways: enroll in college, begin employment, or a combination.
Where To Find Apprenticeships
Start by exploring apprenticeship opportunities in fields that interest you. Search job sites including Apprenticeship.com. Visit a local American Job Center. If you are in high school, consult with your guidance counselor.
Industry Associations and Unions
Many industries have their own websites that advertise available apprenticeships. For example, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers offers electrical apprenticeships, while the National Association of Home Builders has apprenticeship programs for carpentry, masonry, and plumbing. The National Institute of Standards and Technology offers the NICE Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program Finder.
The U.S. Department of Labor provides information on registered apprenticeships and apprenticeship sponsors across the country. You can also visit state government websites for information on available apprenticeships.
When searching for apprenticeship opportunities, be sure to research the specific requirements and timelines of each program, also check for application deadlines and prerequisites.
Apprenticeship Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Apprenticeships vs. Internships
There are some big differences between apprenticeships and internships.
An apprenticeship is a job that combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction or online learning. Apprenticeships typically involve a longer duration of training and a more structured career development track, compared to internships.
An internship is a temporary work experience that provides an opportunity to gain practical experience in a particular industry or field, typically related to their career interests. Interns are usually not considered full-time employees and may receive academic credit if they are paid for their work. Internships are often shorter in duration and may not offer the same level of training and mentorship as apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships focus on teaching specific job skills, while internships offer an overview of a profession.
Apprenticeship vs. College Degree
When considering whether to pursue an apprenticeship or attend college, it's important to assess your career objectives, and interests. Some apprentices go on to obtain a college degree after they complete their training. Here are some factors to consider:
Practical Experience: Apprenticeships provide hands-on, practical training in a specific trade or profession, allowing individuals to directly apply their skills in an actual job. In contrast, college education often focuses on theoretical knowledge and often does not offer the same level of practical experience.
Career Readiness: Apprenticeships are designed to equip individuals with job-specific skills and lead to immediate employment opportunities. By completing an apprenticeship, individuals can potentially secure a stable job and earn a livable wage sooner than their college-educated counterparts. However, it's important to note that certain professions may require a college degree for advanced roles or higher salaries.
Education and Credentialing: A college education offers the opportunity to develop critical thinking, research, and communication skills, along with a broader knowledge base that can be transferred across various industries. A college degree may be required if graduate school is necessary to obtain an industry credential.
Time and Cost: Apprenticeships are sometimes shorter in duration compared to traditional college programs. They are jobs that allow individuals to enter the workforce and start earning sooner without large amounts of debt. College education often requires a longer time commitment, typically spanning multiple years. Additionally, the cost of college tuition should be considered.
Personal Learning Style: Some individuals thrive in a hands-on learning environment, while others prefer a more theoretical and academic setting. Assessing your learning preferences can help determine whether an apprenticeship or college education aligns better with your preferred learning style.
Apprenticeship vs. Trade School
Apprenticeships and trade schools offer paths to a career. A big difference is that apprenticeships pay you to learn on-the-job, and Trade schools charge you tuition for the instruction. The other significant difference is that apprenticeships are actual jobs, where trade schools offer are training that could lead to employment. Here are some factors to consider when deciding between the two:
Cost and Time: Apprenticeships mean you incur less debt, since apprentices pay a wage and you do not have to pay for tuition. The length of apprenticeships can vary but is sometimes longer than the time required to complete a trade school program.
Practical Experience: Apprenticeships offer individuals the opportunity to learn on the job while getting paid, providing valuable work experience that can be immediately applied while being learned. In contrast, trade school programs may not provide the same degree of actual experience in a workplace.
Certification and Licensing: Both apprenticeships and trade schools can lead to the necessary certifications, licenses, or other credentials required for jobs, however, only a Registered Apprenticeship can award an apprenticeship credential recognized by the industry.
Career Readiness: Apprenticeships may offer a smoother transition to a career since they are already employed in an actual job when learning skills and gaining experience. In contrast, trade school graduates need to seek out employment after completing their program.