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What is Registered Apprenticeship?

Registered Apprenticeship programs meet the skilled workforce needs of American industry, training millions of qualified individuals for lifelong careers since 1937. Registered Apprenticeship helps mobilize America's workforce with structured, on-the-job learning in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, as well as new emerging industries such as health care, information technology, energy, telecommunications and more. Registered Apprenticeship connects job seekers looking to learn new skills with employers looking for qualified workers, resulting in a workforce with industry-driven training and employers with a competitive edge.

What types of jobs are available through Registered Apprenticeship?

The Registered Apprenticeship program offers access to 1,000 career areas, including the following top occupations:

  • Able seaman
  • Carpenter
  • Chef
  • Child care development specialist
  • Construction craft laborer
  • Dental assistant
  • Electrician
  • Elevator constructor
  • Fire medic
  • Law enforcement agent
  • Over-the-road truck driver
  • Pipefitter

Who are our partners?

Through a proven system of public-private partnerships, Registered Apprenticeship partners with a wide range of organizations including (but not limited to):

  • Businesses, employer and industry associations
  • Labor management organizations
  • State and local workforce development agencies and programs
  • Two- and four-year colleges that offer associate and bachelor's degrees in conjunction with apprenticeship certificates
  • U.S. military
  • Community leaders and economic development organizations

Who operates Registered Apprenticeship programs?

Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors (employers, employer associations and labor management organizations) vary from small, privately owned businesses to national employer and industry associations. Today, we have nearly 29,000 sponsors representing more than 250,000 employers, including UPS, the United States Military Apprenticeship Program, Werner Enterprises, CVS/pharmacy and many others.

How does Registered Apprenticeship benefit employers?

In addition to available tax benefits and workforce development grants in some states, Registered Apprenticeship benefits employers by providing them with a pipeline of skilled workers with industry-specific training and hands-on experience. Registered Apprenticeship programs are customizable to match employers' needs, and highly flexible to always to meet employers' changing requirements.

How does Registered Apprenticeship benefit individuals?

From day one, apprentices receive a paycheck that is guaranteed to increase as their training progresses. Apprentices also complete a combination of industry-specific classroom education and hands-on career training leading to nationally recognized certifications.

How does Registered Apprenticeship benefit states, regions and communities?

Registered Apprenticeship programs mean a more highly skilled workforce. Nationally certified employees give your state, region or community a competitive edge, attract companies, increase wages and ultimately increase tax revenue. Because apprentices pay income taxes on their wages, it is estimated that every dollar the federal government invests yields more than $50 in revenues.

What are the minimum requirements for becoming a Registered Apprentice?

Registered apprenticeship program sponsors identify the minimum qualifications to apply into their apprenticeship program. The eligible starting age can be no less than 16 years of age; however, individuals must usually be 18 to be an apprentice in hazardous occupations. Program sponsors may also identify additional minimum qualifications and credentials to apply, e.g., education, ability to physically perform the essential functions of the occupation, proof of age. All applicants are required to meet the minimum qualifications. Based on the selection method utilized by the sponsor, additional qualification standards, such as fair aptitude tests and interviews, school grades, and previous work experience may be identified.

What is the average income associated with the Registered Apprentice program?

Apprentices earn competitive wages, a paycheck from day one and incremental raises as skill levels increase. In fiscal year 2008, the average hourly wage for a journeyperson who completed an apprenticeship was $23.94, which translates to $49,795 annually.

Graphic of Hourly Wage of Completers by Fiscal Year Graphic of Average Yearly Salary of Completers by Fiscal Year

What is the link between RA and the Workforce Development System?

The 21st century economy demands a workforce with postsecondary education credentials, and the adaptability to respond immediately to changing economic and business needs. The public workforce system is playing a leadership role in meeting these demands by catalyzing the implementation of innovative talent development and lifelong learning strategies that will enable American workers to advance their skills and remain competitive in the global economy. Registered Apprenticeship, a critical postsecondary education, training, and employment option available in every state in the country, is an important component of these talent development strategies. Registered Apprenticeship is business- and industry-driven, with more than 29,000 programs impacting 250,000 employers and almost 450,000 apprentices -predominantly in high-growth industries that face critical skilled worker shortages now and in the foreseeable future. Full collaboration between the publicly funded workforce investment system and Registered Apprenticeship leverages each system's strengths to maximize the benefits in the context of regional talent development strategies.

For more detailed information, this Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) provides information, examples, and policy guidance to support the full integration of Registered Apprenticeship into workforce system activities. The document is one of a number of products that the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is releasing to assist regions in developing Workforce Investment Act and apprenticeship efforts that are mutually supportive.

Where is Registered Apprenticeship?

The Registered Apprenticeship program's national office is located in Washington, D.C. However, the program has a presence in all of the 50 states and some territories, in the form of federal staff and/or state and employer partners.

How Many Occupations are Apprenticeable?

Nationwide, there are registered apprenticeship programs for over 1000 occupations and that number continually grows. A few of the traditional skilled occupations in which apprentices are being trained are: automotive technician, baker, bricklayer, carpenter, electrician, machinist, maintenance mechanic, operating engineer, painter, roofer, sheet metal worker, structural steel worker, and tool and die maker. However, there are many other occupations that have apprenticeship programs. Examples of these occupations are computer programmer, computer service mechanic, dairy technologist, dental assistant, electronics technician, environment analyst, fire fighter, horticulturist, insurance claims adjuster, laboratory technician, optical technician, wastewater treatment plant operator, chef, and many others.

The Office of Apprenticeship provides a list of the officially recognized apprenticeable occupations.

How long are Apprenticeship programs?

The length of an apprenticeship program depends on the complexity of the occupation and the type of program (Time Based, Competency Based, or a Hybrid). Apprenticeship programs range from 1 year to 6 years, but the majority are 4 years in length. During the program, the apprentice receives both structured, on-the-job learning (OJL) and related classroom instruction (RTI). For each year of the apprenticeship, the apprentice will receive normally 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a recommended minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction.

What are the different designs of Registered Apprenticeship programs?

Time-Based Requirements
A time-based occupation requires a minimum of 2,000 hours, which includes an outline of the specific work processes and the approximate time requirement for each individual work process under that occupation.

Competency/Performance Program Requirements
Competency/performance based apprenticeship programs are premised on attainment of demonstrated, observable and measurable competencies in lieu of meeting time based work experience and on-the-job learning. However, these programs still have to comply with the requirement for the allocation of the approximate time to be spent in each major process. Therefore, work experience process schedules and related instruction outlines must specify approximate time of completion or attainment of each competency, which can be applied toward the 2,000-hour requirement (competencies demonstrated not withstanding and assuming no credit for previous experience). In competency/performance based programs apprentices may accelerate the rate of competency achievement or take additional time beyond the approximate time of completion or attainment due the open entry and exit design. Competency is defined as, "An observable, measurable pattern of skills, knowledge, abilities, behaviors and other characteristics that an individual needs to perform work roles or occupational functions successfully."

Competency/performance based training programs have the following characteristics:

  • Competencies should be identified and defined through a job/task analysis and directly related to the job/role.
  • Organized learning activities should be structured and wherever possible, self-paced with open entry and open exit.
  • Measures or tests of competency attainment should be observable, repeatable and agreed to in advance.
  • Work experience process schedules and related instruction outlines should include the approximate time/hours or minimum - maximum times/hours for each competency attained in order to document successful completion.

Hybrid Program Requirements

In addition to time-based programs which have a fixed set time for completion (i.e., 2,000, 4,000, 6,000 hours) and competency/performance based programs, a third alternative has evolved which, in effect, is a "hybrid" of the two types of programs previously mentioned. This third type of program is basically a combination of time and performance considerations whereby work processes are developed with a minimum - maximum time/hours for each task or job requirement (i.e., minimum 200 hours maximum 400 hours).