Why you should consider an apprenticeship

An apprenticeship combines a full-time job with training—and can prepare you to enter a specialized career field.

Apprenticeships are a great way for entry-level workers to get started in a number of well-paying occupations in industries like manufacturing, construction, health care, transportation, and many others. They are also an excellent opportunity for those considering a mid-career switch.

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by employers, labor unions, and associations to develop a skilled workforce. Programs can be set up in different ways, but most:

  • Last between one and six years
  • Provide wage increases as you gain work experience
  • Have qualification requirements (see “how can I qualify” below)
  • Result in an industry-recognized credential that you can use on the job, or take with you to your next opportunity.

While employers may develop their own unique apprenticeship programs, the U.S. Department of Labor oversees an official Registered Apprenticeship program with specific standards and requirements. Learn more about the Registered Apprenticeship program.

What career fields offer apprenticeships?

A variety of types and sizes of companies have apprenticeship programs, for a wide variety of careers. Construction, manufacturing, energy, transportation, health care, telecommunications, hospitality, and IT are some of the industries that offer the largest number of Registered Apprenticeship programs. However, many new industries are developing apprenticeship programs. For instance, there are some apprenticeship programs for child care development specialists, administrative support services, accounting clerks, and insurance underwriters, to name a few.

What are the major benefits of an apprenticeship?

Benefits to participating in an apprenticeship program include:

  • A paycheck from day one, guaranteed to increase as you learn skills
  • Hands-on career training in a field you choose
  • An entry into a long-lasting career with a competitive salary and little or no student debt
  • National industry certification on graduation, recognized by your industry anywhere in the U.S.

How can I qualify for an apprenticeship?

Most apprenticeships require that you:

  • Are at least 18 years old (some accept 16 year olds)
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Meet the physical requirements for the field
  • Speak English proficiently
  • Have a birth certificate and / or social security card

Some employers also sponsor Pre-Apprenticeship programs to prepare candidates who do not yet qualify for a Registered Apprenticeship, due to age or skill level. If you think you might qualify, you can ask apprenticeship sponsors if they offer any pre-apprenticeship programs.

How can I find an apprenticeship?

There isn’t any one way to find and apply for an apprenticeship. It’s best to try several of the options below to find apprenticeship openings:

  • Visit the Apprenticeship Finder. You can search by career field or keyword for apprenticeship opportunities in any city, state, or ZIP code.
  • Visit the Job Finder. Try searching for postings in your area using the keywords “apprentice” or “apprenticeship”. Please note that not all job posting you find will be Registered Apprenticeship opportunities.
  • Search for opportunities that unions or apprenticeship training committees may have posted on their websites by doing a web search including the words “union” or “apprenticeship” – for example, “Electricians union in Indianapolis IN”.
  • Contact your local American Job Center to ask about apprenticeship opportunities.
  • Contact a local community or technical college to ask about opportunities. Find contact information using the Local Training Finder. You might also try contacting community based organizations that provide technical training in an apprenticeable field.

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