What is Apprenticeship?

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a paid job where an individual, called an apprentice, works alongside a skilled professional to learn the technical and academic aspects of a trade or skill.  Apprenticeship is an “earn and learn” model that provides workers with income while they learn on the job.  Apprenticeships are a combination of paid training and formal instruction that provide a pathway to skilled jobs, combining hands-on experience, formal learning, and mentorship.

Apprentices earn a paycheck as soon as they begin an apprenticeship, so they are earning while they build their skills and knowledge. Apprentices also earn progressively higher wages as their skills develop. The apprenticeship training model works for a broad variety of industries and there are apprenticeship programs in over 1,000 occupations, and growing. Programs vary in length and may be as short as one year or as long as six years.

Apprenticeship programs are increasingly found not only in the Skilled Trades, but also in Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, Information Technology and additional fields with career opportunities that provide wages that allow people to be self-sufficient.

All across America, employers and community leaders are coming together to expand apprenticeship training.  A significant element of this focus on expanding apprenticeship is to increase the diversity of apprentices. For example, apprenticeship programs can increase opportunities for better-paying jobs for women, the disadvantaged, those in low-wage jobs, or those interested in a career change – these strategies can also be applied to other groups seeking quality jobs.


What is a Registered Apprenticeship?

Registered Apprenticeship is the term used for apprenticeship programs that have a formal structure, in which employers have established learning standards that meet national and state quality expectations. When individuals successfully complete a Registered Apprenticeship program, they receive a national credential that is recognized anywhere in the industry.

Registered Apprenticeship employers or sponsors have registered their apprenticeship programs with the Federal or State Apprenticeship Agency. Registration shows the program has met national standards for quality.



A Pre-apprenticeship is a program designed to introduce an invidual to a specific occupation, and to prepare them to enter and succeed in a Registered Apprenticeship program in that career area.

Pre-apprenticeships help individuals meet the entry requirements for apprenticeship programs and ensure they are prepared to be successful in their apprenticeship with services such as career counseling, remedial math and language skills, and other job readiness skills

Some pre-apprenticeship programs assist participants by helping them to apply for Registered Apprenticeship programs, and to access support services that help them remain in the program (such as child care, transportation, counseling and ongoing career services).

Pre-apprenticeship programs can be a starting point toward a successful career path for under-represented job seekers (such as disadvantaged women and men, under-represented populations, individuals with disabilities and others) who may not be aware of this approach to obtain good jobs with opportunities for advancement, and to enter fields that provide quality benefits and high, family-sustaining rates of pay.


Youth Apprenticeship

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 paid work experience. They provide the foundation to choose multiple career pathways: enroll in college, begin employment, or a combination.