The term apprenticeship refers to a program offered to students that combine on-the-job training with classroom work.  A number of trades rely on apprenticeships to provide their next generation of practitioners.


Apprenticeship programs offer students the ability to learn a skill through a combination of paid on-the-job training along with classroom study.  Apprentices are paid to learn under the guidance of a skilled worker, also referred to as a journey worker.

Most programs will require applicants to be at least 18 years of age, or 16 with the permission of their parents.  Typical requirements include a high school diploma, or equivalent.  Some employers may require applicants to complete specific high school coursework.

Once accepted into an apprenticeship program, the individual becomes a paid member of their employer's workforce.  The total length of training will depend on the trade, with some programs lasting as long as six years.  While working under the guidance of their journey worker, the apprentice may be required to attend classes, usually offered in the evening.

Examples of trades typically offering apprenticeship programs include:  painters, roofers, glaziers, ironworkers, masons, bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, electricians, sheet metal workers, pipefitters, plumbers, boilermakers, and steamfitters.  Programs oftentimes afford practitioners the opportunity to gain a license to practice their profession too.

Related Terms

entrance counseling, adult education program, Career and Technical Education, advanced placement, College-Level Examination Programdeferred admission, child labor laws, collective bargaining,  entry level job, equivalent work experience, returnship