What Are Apprenticeship Programs?

Apprenticeship programs teach a worker the skills and knowledge needed to perform duties in a chosen occupation through on-the-job and classroom training. Read on to learn more about what an apprenticeship entails.

Apprenticeship Programs

An apprenticeship program provides inexperienced workers with on-the-job training as well as classroom instruction so they learn the theory and practice of an occupation, according to the United States Department of Labor. Such a program is often sponsored by a group of employers or employer associations. Most apprenticeship programs are overseen by the Office of Apprenticeship (OA) to ensure both the quality of the program and worker welfare. The Office of Apprenticeship often provides training information to employers and sponsors.

Important Facts about This Area of Study

Common Apprenticeships Barbering, cosmetology, carpentry, electronics, HVAC, plumbing, facilities management, manufacturing
Prerequisites A high school diploma will usually suffice, but, depending on the field, some technical education may be required.
WagesApprenticeships are paid positions, but typically earn less than experienced workers.
College Credit AvailableCoursework and on-the-job training often awards college credit.

Apprenticeship Program Options

The first step in entering an apprenticeship program is determining the occupation to be pursued. While apprenticeships are most often associated with construction and manufacturing, more than 1,000 occupations have apprenticeship programs, including some in industries such as energy, health care and telecommunications, according to the Department of Labor. Pre-apprenticeship training is available through many different programs, according to the Washington State Department of Labor and industries. Potential apprentices can find training opportunities through high school programs and technical school training to help them determine if an apprenticeship program is in their best interests.

Finding an Apprenticeship Program

Potential apprentices can find apprenticeship programs through many state government websites. For example, the California Department of Industrial Relations lists apprenticeship programs by county and occupation. The U.S. Department of Labor also provides an online database of registered apprenticeship sponsors in each state and county.

Creating Apprenticeship Programs

Employers interested in establishing an apprenticeship program work with the Office of Apprenticeship to develop standards and training strategies that include both an on-the-job training outline and curriculum for classroom instruction. Apprenticeship programs that meet federal guidelines are registered, according to the Department of Labor.

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