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Frequently Asked Questions About Apprenticeship

Q: What is apprenticeship?

A: Apprenticeship is an arrangement that includes a paid-work component and an educational or instructional component, where individuals obtains workplace-relevant knowledge and skills.

Q: What is registered apprenticeship?

A: Registered apprenticeships are high-quality, work-based learning, and post-secondary, earn-and-learn models that meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor (or federally-recognized State Apprenticeship Agencies).

Q: How is registered apprenticeship different from other types of work-based training models?

A: Registered apprenticeship training is distinguished from other types of workplace training by several factors: (1) participants who are newly hired (or already employed) earn wages from employers during training; (2) programs must meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor (or federally-recognized State Apprenticeship Agencies); (3) programs provide on-the-job learning and job-related technical instruction; (4) on-the-job learning is conducted in the work setting under the direction of one or more of the employer’s personnel; and (5) training results in an industry-recognized credential.


Q: Who oversees or “runs” the registered apprenticeship system?

A: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship, works in conjunction with State Apprenticeship Agencies to administer the program nationally. These agencies are responsible for registering apprenticeship programs that meet federal and state standards; protecting the safety and welfare of apprentices; issuing nationally-recognized and portable Certificates of Completion of Apprenticeship to apprentices; promoting the development of new programs through marketing and technical assistance; assuring that all programs provide high-quality training; and assuring that all programs produce skilled and competent workers. In addition, a wide variety of stakeholders exist, including state organizations, industry associations, educational organizations (both secondary and post-secondary), workforce development organizations, economic development organizations, community-based organizations, and others. These stakeholders have a substantial interest in its success of registered apprenticeship.


Q: How long are registered apprenticeship programs?

A: The length of an apprenticeship program can vary depending on the employer, the complexity of the occupation, and the type of program. Registered apprenticeship programs typically range from one year to six years. During the program, the apprentice receives both structured, on-the-job training and job-related education. For each year of the apprenticeship, the apprentice will normally receive 2,000 hours of on-the-job training, and a recommended minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction.


Q: I want to meet with the U.S. Department of Labor about apprenticeship, how can I schedule a meeting?

A: If you would like to meet with someone from the Office of Apprenticeship, please submit your proposal in writing to our office for further review and consideration. Requests can be mailed to Office of Apprenticeship, 200 Constitution Ave NW, Room C5521, Washington, DC, 20210, or emailed to with the subject line “OA Meeting Request”.


Q: Where can I find the Presidential Executive Order about apprenticeships?

A: The Presidential Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships in America is available on the White House website.


Q: Where can I find information about the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion?

A: You can find information about the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, including their final report to the President, at

Q: Is an apprenticeship a job?

A: Yes, apprentices start working from day one with incremental wage increases as they become more proficient. The average starting wage for an apprentice is approximately $15.00 per hour.


Q: How much money can an apprentice earn?

A: Apprentices earn competitive wages, a paycheck from day one and incremental raises as skill levels increase. The average wage for a fully-proficient worker who completed an apprenticeship translates to approximately $60,000 annually. Apprentices who complete their program earn approximately $300,000 more over their career compared to non-apprenticeship participants.


Q: Do you earn college credit while participating in apprenticeship programs?

A: Today, most apprenticeship opportunities include on-the-job training and classroom instruction provided by apprenticeship training centers, technical schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities, sometimes through distance learning. Often apprenticeship sponsors work directly with community colleges that do provide college credit for apprenticeship experience.


Q: What do I receive upon completion of an apprenticeship program?

A: After completion of an apprenticeship program, the apprentice earns a nationally recognized credential from the U.S. Department of Labor that is portable and stackable. Additionally, an apprentice earns a paycheck throughout the apprenticeship and the potential for increased pay and upward career opportunities.


Q: How do I qualify for an apprenticeship program?

A: Apprenticeship program sponsors identify the minimum qualifications to apply for a program. The eligible starting age for a registered apprenticeship program can be no less than 16 years of age; however, individuals must usually be 18 years old to be an apprentice in hazardous occupations. Program sponsors also identify additional minimum qualifications 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.

Q: How does an apprenticeship program benefit the sponsor (employer, labor-management organization, or industry association)?

A: Apprenticeship sponsors develop highly-skilled employees. Once established, apprenticeship programs also reduce turnover rates, increase productivity, lower the cost of recruitment, and increase safety in the workplace/job site.


Q: What occupations can I train for through registered apprenticeship?

A: The registered apprenticeship program offers access to 1,000 career areas, including the following top occupations: software developer, engineers, pharmacy technicians, telecommunications technicians, aircraft technicians, mechanics, certified nursing assistants, electricians, welders, construction craft laborer, dental assistants, insurance agents, and truck drivers.


Q: Are all apprenticeships union-based?

A: No. Apprenticeships are used widely across all industries and include union and non-union programs. Registered apprenticeship sponsors include unions, but also employers, community colleges and universities, workforce investment boards, industry associations, and the military.


Q: Where can I find technical assistance resources to help me develop and register my apprenticeship program with U.S. Department of Labor?

A: We maintain a number of resources for employers who want to explore the process of starting an apprenticeship program at Here you can find our newest technical assistance products including our Quick Start Toolkit, which provides helpful steps and resources to start and register an apprenticeship program as well as our Federal Resources Playbook, which provides information on using the other federal funds and resources to support your registered apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship consultants are located in every state and are available to assist you at no extra cost. Contact information for an apprenticeship consultant near you can be found here:


Q: Who are typical apprenticeship partners?

A: 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, Workforce Investment Boards, two- and four-year colleges that offer associate and bachelor's degrees in conjunction with a Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship, the U.S. military, community-based organizations, and economic development organizations.