One option for career training is the apprenticeship. The concept has been around for a long time. Charles Dickens wrote his character Ebenezer Scrooge into an accounting apprenticeship in the early 1800s when on-the-job training had already become an established method of breaking into a career. That was before education beyond a few years of basics was available to most people. Today’s apprenticeships offer career advancement opportunities to high school graduates as well as people already in a field of work.
At a basic level, being an apprentice means learning while on the job. Although sometimes involving classroom experience and cooperation with a college, the training stresses hands-on proficiency. A real advantage for the apprentice is earning money while acquiring skills. You can get a paycheck and advance your career at the same time.
Some apprenticeships may be specific to a company with an aim to promote successful apprentices within the firm, like chef’s training for a hotel chain. Others offer credentials that are industry-wide, such as carpenters and electricians. They are not limited to big cities in populous states. In 2016, New York and Ohio each had over 16,000 workers actively participating in apprenticeship programs, but at the same time, both Missouri and Wisconsin had almost 10,000. The U.S. Department of Labor has also compiled a list of occupations in which apprenticeships have been established and the number of hours required for completion of each.
For more than 75 years, registered apprenticeships have been available in the United States. To be registered, a program must follow guidelines set by the Department of Labor and state agencies working together to set standards of safety and to ensure that credentials earned through the programs are portable. That means that completion of an apprenticeship in one state would then be recognized in another.
If you are looking for local opportunities, you can go to Glassdoor and enter “apprenticeships” and your location. They list both registered and non-registered apprenticeships, so you will need to look at possibilities individually to see if any suits your needs. Individual states also have websites with information about the process and what is available. No matter what you may choose, there will be an application process and possibly skills tests, but the paid training makes the effort worthwhile.
By Cheryl Blake