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Apprenticeships as explained below are registered apprenticeships in the USA.

Apprenticeship Definition

Registered apprenticeships are free job-training programs sponsored by individual employers or employer associations, or jointly by employers and unions.

Registered means that the U.S. Department of Labor or state apprenticeship agencies have certified the apprenticeship programs to meet certain labor, training and safety standards. Workers who join these programs are called apprentices.

If you are accepted into a registered apprenticeship program, then you will learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a skilled trade or other occupation through on-the-job training, classroom instruction or both. Apprenticeship training generally ranges from one to six years, averaging four.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship oversees the National Apprenticeship System in cooperation with state apprenticeship agencies, as authorized by The National Apprenticeship Act of 1937 (also referred to as the Fitzgerald Act).

Apprenticeship Benefits

Not only will you learn new skills for free, but you will also get paid to do it from day one. Under the federal guidelines for registered apprenticeships, apprentices are employees who earn as they learn. You might even earn credits toward an Associate Degree, depending on the apprenticeship program you join.

Your pay will be on an increasing scale, based on the local hourly wage for the occupation you chose to enter. In other words, you will receive "raises" as you satisfactorily progress through apprenticeship training, until your pay reaches 85 to 90 percent of the local rate for your occupation.

After successful completion of a registered apprenticeship program, you will receive an Apprenticeship Completion Certificate that grants you nationwide recognition as a qualified worker. It is one of the oldest and most-portable industry credentials, which makes you eligible to work anywhere you can land a job.

Apprenticeship Occupations

Registered apprenticeship programs are often for learning journeywork in unionized skilled trades, but not limited to same. Traditionally, most apprenticeships were in construction and manufacturing, but many are now emerging in other sectors such as health care, information technology (computers), biotechnology, energy, telecommunications and government (including homeland security).

At this writing there are over 1,000 occupations from which to choose in about 28,000 registered apprenticeship programs. Additionally, many colleges and universities now offer two- and four-year degrees in conjunction with apprenticeship certificates. The 25 most popular apprenticeship programs are listed below by occupation and rank.

  1. Electrician
  2. Heavy Truck Driver
  3. Carpenter
  4. Plumber
  5. Construction Craft Laborers
  6. Pipe Fitter, Construction
  7. Sheet Metal Worker
  8. Structural-Steel Worker
  9. Roofer
  10. Elevator Constructor
  11. Drywall Installer
  12. Sprinkler Fitter
  13. Operating Engineer
  1. Painter, Construction
  2. Boilermaker
  3. Bricklayer, Construction
  4. Millwright
  5. Heating/Air Conditioner Installer
  6. Power Line Maintainer
  7. Power Line Installer & Repairer
  8. Insulation Worker
  9. Correction Officer
  10. Child Care Development Specialist
  11. Cook, Hospitality & Cruise Ship
  12. Cement Mason

The list is the most recent available at this writing, but it is ever evolving. For updates or to look up the most popular in past years, refer to Top 25 Apprenticeship Occupations at the Office of Apprenticeship Training.

Next Page > Apprentice Eligibility and Applying
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