An Apprenticeship combines classroom studies with the on-the-job training supervised by a journey-level craft person or trade professional. Like a college education, it takes several years to become fully trained in the fields that offer apprenticeships.
As an apprentice, you'll earn while you learn. At first, you'll make less money than skilled workers do. As you progress, you'll get regular raises and once you've mastered the craft, you'll receive the same wages as a professional.
More than 1,200 men and women completed their apprenticeship training in 2001 and in Washington State there are many programs to choose from. At Lake Washington Technical College we offer apprenticeship style training in three areas:
Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration
Sheet Metal Technician
Whatever your field of interest, you will be taught by experienced trades people. You'll take at least 144 hours of related classes each year. And you'll have a chance to practice your new skills as you gain the necessary technical knowledge to do your job well.
Workers who finish apprenticeships generally earn more during their working years than those who don't learn their skills in a formal training program.
Apprentices who become journey-level workers usually advance more rapidly than other workers. Higher-paying jobs often come more quickly. Some apprentices move into supervisory positions within just a few years.
Apprenticeship programs must provide equal opportunity to all interested individuals. In fact, employers with five or more apprentices must show they are making a special effort to hire women and minorities. They are required to file a written affirmative action plan with the Department of Labor and Industries.
When you complete your apprenticeship you'll become a qualified journey-level worker in your chosen occupation. You'll receive a state-issued certificate valid anywhere in the United States that identifies you as a qualified professional in your field.
Some apprenticeship programs may have additional prerequisites. General requirements are:
Age. Many programs require you to be least 18 years old. In some cases, apprenticeships may begin at age 17.
Education. Most trades will require you to have a high school diploma or GED certificate. You may need specific mathematical training to enter certain trades. Basic reading and writing skills are also expected.
Physical ability. Some trades may be unsuitable for people who don't have the the necessary strength or stamina to perform the required work.
Aptitude. You may be asked to take an aptitude test to see whether you're suited to the trade that interests. you.
How do I become an apprentice?
Choose your trade carefully. Be sure it makes the most of your special talents. Visit work sites and ask people about their jobs. Would you enjoy doing what they do? Remember, apprenticeship is a commitment that prepares you for a lifetime career.
You may want to contact a Labor and Industries' apprenticeship coordinator for assistance. Contact the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I):
Statewide Apprenticeship Program
Dept. of Labor and Industries
PO Box 44530
Olympia, WA 98504-4530
(360) 902-5324 or (360) 902-5320
In instances where you need to find an employer to hire you as an apprentice, L&I can give you tips to make the search easier.
Local Apprenticeship Coordinators
For the plumbing or HVAC apprenticeship program, contact:
Construction Industry Training Council (CITC)
Dir. of Education
For the sheet metal apprenticeship program, contact:
Joint Apprenticeship Training Council (JATC)
Western WA Sheet Metal
Other regional coordinators:
Northwest Washington (Region 1) (360) 416-3026
King County (Region 2) (206) 835-1027 or (206) 835-1028
Pierce County/Central Peninsula (Region3) (253) 596-3930
Southwest Washington (Region 4) (360) 575-6927
Central Washington (Region 5) (509) 764-6906
Eastern Washington (Region 6) (509) 324-2590