What Are Apprenticeship Programs?

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An apprenticeship program combines on-the-job training with academic instruction for those entering the workforce. Also called dual-training programs because of the combined occupational and in-class components, apprenticeships help individuals put their academic skills to practical use in various careers.

Whereas internships are often short-term, rarely lasting more than a year, apprenticeships can last as many as four or five years.

Apprenticeships also differ from internships in that most apprentices are paid, with salary increasing as the apprentice completes parts of the program.

Registered Apprenticeship Programs

The Office of Apprenticeship within the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration provides a number of Registered Apprenticeship programs. These are apprenticeships approved by the government which often receive workforce development grants and tax benefits. Registered Apprenticeship programs offer career training in areas such as carpentry, home health care, electrical, law enforcement, and more.

Find an Apprenticeship Program

The Department of Labor has a tool you can use to find apprenticeships near you. Glassdoor has a tool you can use to find apprenticeship/trainee programs. This tool includes both registered and non-registered trainee and apprenticeship opportunities.

Apprenticeships vs. Internships

What's the difference between an internship and an apprenticeship? Apprenticeships are formal paid long-term training programs that provide classroom and on-the-job training for skilled high paying jobs.

Internships may be paid, but are of a shorter duration and don't provide formal certification or employment opportunities.

Data and Statistics

During the US Government's fiscal year 2014, there were the following participants in registered apprentice programs:

  • More than 170,500 individuals nationwide entered the apprenticeship system
  • There are over 410,000 apprentices
  • Over 44,000 participants graduated from the apprenticeship system.

Also Known As: dual-training program, training program

Examples: George was in the electrical worker union's apprenticeship training program. He worked on the job as an apprentice during the day and took classes several evenings a week.

Related Articles: What is an Internship?