What is an apprenticeship?

A Registered Apprenticeship is a formalized, structured training program. It combines on-the-job training (OJT) and related technical instruction in which you receive practical and technical training. Industry determines the essential skills, because apprenticeship is industry-driven career training. Each apprenticeship requires from 2,000 to 8,000 work hours to complete. The apprenticeship is broken down into skill areas with a set number of hours for each skill area. An apprenticeship also has structured formal training. Each year of apprenticeship (2,000 hours), requires 144 hours of apprenticeship-related training. Apprentices earn a living wage throughout the education process, with periodic raises to reflect increased experience and commitment. Once the apprenticeship is completed they will possess a trade certification that is recognized internationally.
Most apprenticeships are set up where you join the training program first and then the training program helps place you into a job. Employer first apprenticeships are the other way around. You are responsible to find a job and then you will be placed in the apprenticeship. An example of this is Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) or the Stationary Engineers. Make sure you understand how the apprenticeship program you are interested in works.
You can use your GI Bill® for an apprenticeship. It does work differently than for traditional four year degrees. You will be allocated the full amount you earned while on active duty during the first 6 months of your program, or the first 1000 hours of on the job training (OJT). After you complete the first six months your GI Bill® amount will decrease to 80% of the total you were allocated. The GI Bill® continues to decrease every 6 months or 1000 hours until you are at 20%. You will be allocated 20% for the remainder of your program or until your benefits run out. The reasoning for this is apprentices receive an increase from their apprenticeship program around the same timeframe so as your pay increases your GI Bill® decrease. The GI Bill® amount is based on the zip code of the training location or your program. You can find out more with the GI Bill® comparison tool at https://www.vets.gov/gi-bill-comparison-tool/ or at the GI Bill DOL website https://www.vets.gov/education/gi-bill/.
  • Depends. Unfortunately for military service members, many of the trainings and credentials that are received in the military do not always transfer to state or federal credentialing. There are some programs and websites you can research to find out more.
  • One option is the credentialing opportunities on-line system. It helps service members find information on certifications and licenses related to their military specialties. COOL explains how service members can meet civilian certification and license requirements and provides links to numerous resources to help get them started.
    1. Army COOL – https://www.cool.army.mil/
    2. Navy COOL – https://www.cool.navy.mil/
    3. Air Force COOL – https://www.cool.airforce.mil/
    4. Marine – COOL – https://www.cool.navy.mil/usmc/
  • The Navy also has a program called USMAP, https://usmap.netc.navy.mil/usmapss/static/index.htm or https://usmap.cnet.navy.mil/usmapss/static/usmap.jsp. The United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) is a formal military training program executed by the Center for Personal and Professional Development that provides active duty Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy service members the opportunity to improve their job skills and to complete their civilian apprenticeship requirements while they are on active duty. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provides the nationally recognized “Certificate of Completion” upon program completion. USMAP allows active duty members to complete a DOL apprenticeship program while serving their country.
  • If you have several years’ experience in a particular, field most apprenticeship coordinators and training directors will work with you to give you credit towards their program. This will vary depending on the program and local as there is no federal dictation on this topic. Make sure you let the program you are interested in know about your experience and background.
Related Supplemental Instruction, or RSI, refers to the classroom instruction portion of your apprenticeship. Apprenticeship is a combination of instructional learning in a classroom environment and on the job training. Every state approved apprenticeship has to have at a minimum of 144 hours of classroom training per year. Different programs implement this different ways for their program. Some programs have you take night courses 2-3 times during the week so they don’t interfere with your OJT. Other programs have you take two weeks off of your OJT during the year and have you focus on only classroom training. Ask the program you’re interested in how this will work for you.
Most apprentices will receive health care benefits through the contractor or organization that employs them. Most unions will provide up to 3 months of health care benefits while you are in between employers. Unions are able to do this because of the fees union employees provide.


There are four main entry ways for a veteran to get into an apprenticeship

  1. Pre-Apprenticeship – Pre-Apprenticeships are typically 12-16 week programs which give you the basics of a variety of different apprenticeship programs. A pre-apprenticeship is a preparatory program that grooms individuals who want to begin an apprenticeship for certain industry’s and trade’s. Once you complete a pre-apprenticeship you then move into an apprenticeship program. These programs are good for people who are interested in pursuing a trade but may not know which one is the best fit. A few pre-apprenticeship programs here in WA include CSP, ANEW, PACT, PACE, and STP.
  2. Helmet2Hardhats – Helmets to Hardhats is a national program that connects National Guard, Reserve, retired and transitioning active-duty military service members with training in the construction industry. By signing up for this program you will more than likely get direct entry into a trades apprenticeship and not have to worry about competing with other applicants for a slot. Most career opportunities offered by the program are connected to federally-approved apprenticeship training programs. Training is provided by the trade organizations at no cost to the veteran.  No prior experience is needed. All participating trade organizations conduct three to five year earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship training programs that teach service members everything they need to know to become a construction industry professional with a specialization in a particular craft.
  3. Apply directly – You can also contact a program directly and fill out an application. Some programs only take applicants on certain days or during certain seasons. Not all apprenticeships are construction apprenticeships. There are other fields which utilize this training model that hire all year around such as IT and maritime.
  4. Certificates – If you would like to get more experience prior to joining an apprenticeship or have more understanding of certain trades, many technical colleges provide opportunities to obtain certificates in different areas. Certificates and experience will give you more points on the application processes and make you more competitive for apprenticeships that do not already give you direct entry or veterans preference.
There are a variety of industries that utilize the apprenticeship training model. The majority of apprenticeships, around 80%, are in the construction trades. Other industries include manufacturing, IT, safety, and a medical apprenticeship. The main aerospace manufacturing apprenticeship is called Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee, AJAC and the only IT apprenticeship is Apprenti. Other industries starting to look into apprenticeship as a training model include but are not limited to human resources, healthcare, clean energy, banking, insurance and others.
Most apprenticeship pay works the same way. You start off at a certain percentage of a journeypersons pay, typically 50%-70%, and every 1000 hours, or 6 months, you get an increase in your wages, typically 5%-10%. You will continue to get an increase until the completion of your program, at which time you will be at a journeypersons pay. Most apprenticeships are 2-5 years long and you can continue to increase your pay throughout your career.
Yes! Many of the technical colleges give college credit for apprenticeship programs. These college credits can easily lead to an associate’s degree which can give you a leg up in attending a four year college if you choose to do so later in your career. Ask the program you are interested in attending if they are able to provide you college credit.
Yes! Although this is apprenticeship dependent. With today’s technology and advancements in materials and manufacturing organizations have drastically changed their requirements for physical labor. For example, aerospace manufacturing has several companies who specifically hire individuals with disabilities and utilize apprentices through AJAC. Many apprenticeships take individuals with disabilities so don’t let that deter you from pursuing an apprenticeship.
Yes! The military sees the value in supporting service members in obtaining valuable skillsets that directly translate into civilian careers. The Navy has created an apprenticeship program you can complete while serving called USMAP. USMAP allows active duty members to complete a DOL apprenticeship program while serving their country. The Army has created programs called Career Skills Programs (CSPs) based on Army Regulation AR 600-81, Chapter 8. This program is designed to provide credentialing, training, and apprenticeships to active duty service members who will soon be leaving the service with the intent that the training results in job offers. Many of these programs are pre-apprenticeship programs from the construction trades. The program is open to all service members, but Soldiers have priority. Service members can access them within their 180 window prior to their ETS.
It depends. Most construction apprenticeships will take veterans discharged under any status. Some will take any discharge status but will vary based on the reason for discharge. Many times it is not the apprenticeship program that will limit service members based on discharge but type of discharge may limit you on the project you can work on. Do not let your discharge status stop you from pursuing an apprenticeship as many of them will support you through the program as long as you are dedicated and hard working.

WorkSource is a statewide partnership of state, local and nonprofit agencies that provides an array of employment and training services to job seekers and employers in Washington.

  • WorkSource has designated positions who work solely with veterans and their families to obtain employment called Local Veteran Employee Representatives, LVER. They’re veterans too and have immediate access to highly qualified veterans seeking employment. Their goal is to create partnerships between public and private organizations that help veterans successfully transition into civilian employment in Washington.
  • Disabled Veterans Outreach Program, DVOP, specialists are veterans themselves and are uniquely equipped to provide intensive services to veterans with special employment and training needs. Staff target services to “Special Disabled” veterans (veterans with a 30 percent rated disability by the Veterans Administration), disabled veterans, economically or educationally disadvantaged veterans, and veterans with other barriers to employment, especially homeless veterans. As an integral program partner with the state’s workforce development system, DVOPs provide a full range of employment and training services to veterans with barriers to employment.To find out more and find your local DVOP/LVER go to https://www.worksourcewa.com/.
Apprenticeship & Non-traditional Employment for Women, ANEW, provides training, employment navigation and supportive services based on financial qualifications and restrictions of grant resource. ANEW provides pre-apprenticeship training in multiple trades and is networked into multiple apprenticeship programs where, if you are a graduate of their program, they can help place you directly into an apprenticeship. ANEW is also a service support program that can help any individual going through any apprenticeship program with services to include help with food, tools, and any number of barriers inhibiting people from work. They are networked into multiple funding sources and can help people with a variety of needs. Check out their website at http://anewaop.org/ or visit them at 550 SW 7th St. Suite B305, Renton, WA 98057.
Camo2Commerce, C2C, provides opportunities for career development and jobs to service members transitioning out of JBLM into civilian life to include the CSP programs. They offer a number of customized services to transitioning service members, including one-on-one career coaching, job placement services, short-term training, hiring fairs and more. Camo2Commerce works to fully integrate the public workforce system into the transition services provided on military installations. Camo2Commerce is a project of Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council and Workforce Central. C2C also has financial support for help transitioning service members overcome barriers to employment to include support such as gas money, tools, etc. Check out their website at http://camo2commerce.com/.
AOP helps people prepare for, apply to and complete construction apprenticeship. AOP services include resume building, interview skills, application completion, counseling, mentorship and financial support. Financial support is for items such as gas, tuition, work clothes, tools, initiation fees and union dues. Pre-apprentices and apprentices are eligible if they are:

  • A King County resident
  • Low-income
  • Drug free
  • Able to obtain a Washington state driver’s license

To Apply Attend an informational session, schedule an intake meeting, and complete an application and submit required documents. Contact them at Vernel Nicholas at 206-381-1384 or info@anewaop.org. Location is 550 SW 7th St., B305, Renton, WA 98057 www.anewaop.org

Through the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) there are new grants, programs and services available to pre-apprentices and apprentices to ensure they have a successful and sustainable construction career. Alternative Solutions includes a comprehensive, user-friendly database with over 3,300 statewide community-based organizations providing barrier removal services.

DSHS created this database to ensure that people of color, women, people living in economically distressed communities and people transitioning away from the justice system or military service have the support they need to succeed. Contact them at 360-664-5028 or AlternativeSolutions@dshs.wa.gov or check out their website at www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/division-child-support/alternative-solutions.

Western Resources Center – http://womeninapprenticeship.org/
Apprenticeship & Non-Traditional Employment for Women (ANEW) – http://anewaop.org/
Washington Women in the Trades – http://www.wawomenintrades.com/

  • Construction

Center of Excellence – https://www.constructioncenterofexcellence.com/apprenticeship/
Washington Building Trades – http://www.wabuildingtrades.org/

CITC – http://www.citcwa.com/

WASC – http://www.wsac.wa.gov/veterans
GI Bill Comparison Tool – https://www.vets.gov/gi-bill-comparison-tool/
DOL – https://doleta.gov/oa/veterans.cfm

Apprenticeships by Trade