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Apprenticeship Programs


An apprenticeship is a formal method of training in a skilled occupation, craft, or trade.

Apprentices learn occupations through a structured program of on-the-job training with related classroom technical instruction.

The United States Department of Labor recognizes more than 1,000 apprenticeable occupations. Many apprenticeships are in construction, manufacturing, transportation, and services. More recently programs for information technology, health care, and other non-traditional apprenticeships have been developed. For other occupations, such as carpenters, bakers, and machinists, apprenticeship is one of several options for training.

For some skilled-trade occupations, such as plumbers and electricians, apprenticeship programs are the primary way to get training. See Occupations linked in the Related Information area for a list of these occupations.

For more information, visit:
Apprenticeship.gov (external link)

See schools that offer this program.

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

Classroom instruction is designed to provide apprentices with knowledge in technical subjects related to their trade. For example, construction apprenticeships may include course work in blueprint reading, carpentry, iron work, and concrete work. At least 144 hours of related classroom instruction are required during each year of apprenticeship training. Classes are taught by journeyworker instructors and are usually held at night through public educational facilities such as community colleges or vocational-technical schools.

The apprentice must show satisfactory progress on the job and in related classroom instruction. To master a particular trade, an apprentice must learn and perfect each skill and bring those skills up to the speed and accuracy required of the job. A good attendance record is also important.

Things to Know

There is often a long wait between selection as an apprentice and assignment to a job. In some trades, apprentices are responsible for finding their own jobs.

College credit

Some two-year colleges offer credit for previous work experience in an apprenticeable occupation.

Program Information

Programs vary in length from one to six years; four years is the average. A few programs last less than one year.

Training takes from 2,000 to 8,000 hours of working on the job. Also, for each 2,000 hours of training on the job, 144 hours of classroom instruction are required.

Applicants must usually be 18 years of age or older and have a high school diploma or equivalent. It is helpful to have taken some vocational courses. Some programs also require specific course work, the physical ability to work in the trade, and a passing score on an aptitude test.

Apprenticeship pay usually begins at nearly one-half the pay rate for journey-level workers. After six months, the pay rate begins to move up periodically until the apprentice reaches the journey level. Wages are never less than the federal minimum wage.

Apprenticeship programs are developed with the cooperation of area joint apprenticeship councils.

Applicants are expected to complete an application form and submit it with a birth certificate, school transcripts, and letters of recommendation. In the selection process, the top candidates will be interviewed and those selected will be placed on a waiting list (which is active for two years).

Apprenticeship committees give points for experience in the trade, knowledge of the trade, and grades in trade-related courses. Applicants with the highest number of points are selected for the program. There are many more applicants than apprenticeship openings in some trades and locations. Those selected often have more trade-related experience, more education, and higher grades than the minimum requirements described for the apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by labor unions, employers, or a combination of the two. The sponsor plans, administers, and pays for the program. The worker (apprentice) signs a written employment agreement and is a full-time, paid employee of the company where he or she is apprenticed. When apprentices finish their training, they receive a certificate of completion issued by the State Apprenticeship Agency or by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training.

Program Contact Information

For more information about apprenticeships, you may contact a union office, the State Bureau of Employment Services, or any apprenticeship office in the state. To request an apprenticeship application form, you may contact a state office or an office in your area.

Selection Committee Concerns

In most apprenticeable trades, a local committee interviews and selects apprentices. Committee members represent both management and labor. Below are some general concerns of selection committee members, along with suggestions on how to deal with their concerns. In the next section are examples of questions they may ask during the interview.

Specific questions vary with the trade and the committee. To meet federal Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action requirements, committee members will ask each applicant the same questions.

Committee members are especially interested in:





Sample Interview Questions

Following are sample questions that may be asked by selection committee members during the interview. You should answer as completely as possible and tell the committee ALL of your trade-related interests, activities, awards, and experiences.

State Specific Resources

The best source of additional apprenticeship information is the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Contact the office nearest you or visit their apprenticeship website (external link).

The department also has an educational website (external link) for K-12 students interested in learning more about apprenticeships.

Training for apprenticeships is offered at sites in the areas below. Contact the Joint Apprenticeship Training Council consultant of the apprenticeship program in which you are interested.

Department of Labor and Industries, Apprenticeship Section, Northwest Washington
1720 Elllis Street, Suite 200
Bellingham, WA 98225-4647
Gary Peterson, Apprenticeship Consultant
360.416.3081 or Gary.Peterson@Lni.wa.gov

Department of Labor and Industries, Apprenticeship Section, King County
Sandra Husband (south county) or Andrea Anderson, (north county) Apprenticeship Consultants
206.835.1028 (Sandra) or 206.835.1027 (Andrea); Sandra.Husband@lni.wa.gov or Andrea.Anderson@lni.wa.gov

Department of Labor and Industries, Apprenticeship Section, Western Washington
Patrick Martin, Apprenticeship Consultant
950 Broadway, Suite 200
Tacoma, WA 98402
360.485.3313 or Patrick.Martin@lni.wa.gov

Department of Labor and Industries, Apprenticeship Section, Southwest Washington
Evan Hamilton, Apprenticeship Consultant
360.902.6781 or Evan.Hamilton@Lni.wa.gov
Brittany Craighead, Apprenticeship Consultant
360.902.5565 or Brittany.Craighead@Lni.wa.gov

Department of Labor and Industries, Apprenticeship Section, Central Washington
AhShalla Harris, Apprenticeship Consultant
4310 West 24th Avenue
Kennewick, WA 99338
509.735.0119 or AhShalla.Harris@Lni.wa.gov

Department of Labor and Industries, Apprenticeship Section, Eastern Washington
Evie Lawry
901 North Monroe, Suite 100
Spokane, WA 99201
509.324.2590 or Evelyn.Lawry@lni.wa.gov

The Puget Sound Industrial Excellence Center/Apprenticeship and Education Center (external link), which is part of South Seattle Community College, provides training for apprentices and journey-level workers in over 25 different trades. The Center cooperates with several Joint Apprenticeship Committees to offer these courses. Students who wish to attend the Center must be enrolled in an apprenticeship program. For more information, contact the Center at the following address:

Puget Sound Industrial Excellence Center/Apprenticeship and Education Center
6737 Corson Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98108

The Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO (external link), is a voluntary coalition of over 60 construction-related organizations. The Council also provides information on building trades apprenticeship programs in Washington. For more information, contact the Council at the following address:

Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council
906 Columbia Street SW, Suite 107
Olympia, WA 98501


East Side Area

Job Corps - Columbia Basin

Job Corps - Curlew

Operating Engineers Regional Training Program

Walla Walla Community College

Wenatchee Valley College

King-Snohomish Area

Construction Industry Training Council (CITC)

Everett Community College

Highline College

Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS)

Pacific Northwest Ironworkers Apprenticeship Committee - Tukwila

Seattle Area Pipe Trades Education Center

Seattle Central College

Seattle Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee

South Seattle College

Washington Cement Masons and Plasterers Apprenticeship

Western Washington Masonry Trades Apprenticeship Committee

Western Washington Sheet Metal Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee

Kitsap Area

Northwest Laborers-Employers Training Trust Fund

Olympic College

West Sound Pipe Trades Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee

Spokane Area

Inland Empire Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry Apprenticeship Training Committee

Inland Northwest AGC Apprenticeship Programs

NE WA-N ID Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Training Program

Pacific Northwest Ironworkers Apprenticeship Committee - Spokane

Spokane Community College

Wellness Education Center

Western States Operating Engineers Institute of Training

Statewide and Distance Learning

Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee

Tacoma Area

Bates Technical College

Bates Technical College (South Campus)

Clover Park Technical College

Tri-Cities Area

Columbia Basin College

Local Union 112 NECA Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee

Teamsters/AGC Training Center

West Side Area

Northwest Washington Pipe Trades Apprenticeship Committee

Yakima Area

Job Corps - Fort Simcoe