"the other four year degree", apprenticeship is an opportunity to become a highly skilled worker with a combination of worksite and classroom learning. During this period of learning a career, the apprentice is not only trained, but paid, thus being assured of a salary with regular increases while learning.
What kinds of occupations are available for Apprenticeships?
There are over 800 occupations, nationwide which include, but are not limited to, the following fields: Automotive, Avionics Technology, Biotechnology, Construction, Energy, Financial Services, Health Care, Hospitality, Information Technology/Networking, Manufacturing, Public Sector, Retail and Service Industries, Telecommunications, and Transportation.
Where do I work and learn?
The apprentice is taught and supervised by experienced professionals and acquires skills, habits, strategies, and inside information that may not be learned elsewhere. The apprentice rotates through all aspects of the profession, in addition to the area (s)he wants to learn to acquire additional skills and see the total picture.
While learning the skills at the worksite, the trainee must also learn theory, as well as other subjects that are hard to teach at the worksite. These might include technical math, mechanics, electronic circuits, anatomy, business law. Related classroom instruction is usually more than 144 hours per year. Classes are held after work hours at community colleges or technical schools, or sometimes on the work premises (vestibule training).
What are the entry requirements?
In most states, you must be at least 16 with no maximum age limit. Usually applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. Sometimes specific classes are needed on your transcript. In some cases you may be required to pass an aptitude and/or physical exam. You must be able to get back and forth to the worksite.
How do I find an Apprenticeship?
The Virginia Employment Commission has field offices with apprenticeship specialists who can refer you to employers:
Fairfax County Public Schools
Adult and Community Education
6815 Edsall Road
Springfield, Virginia 21151
Telephone: (703) 658-2700
Region Four includes Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
Other sources for apprenticeships are local unions, a medium to large sized business, America's Job Bank, and searchable databases, including several listed below. Below are resources to assist students with finding information about apprenticeship programs. Students should also check out the book, 250 Best Jobs Through Apprenticeships (Farr, Michael and Shatkin, Lawrence, Indianapolis, JIST, 2005)
Career Connections Specialist
January 4, 2012