Where do I want to work? What interests me? What skills do I have that can help me professionally? These are all questions that service members may have as they transition from active-duty service to the civilian workforce. While some veterans can return to school full-time to earn their degree, others may need to start making money to provide for themselves and their families as soon as possible.
An apprenticeship may be the perfect option if you’re looking for a way to train in a particular career while earning money. Here’s everything you need to know:
What is an apprenticeship?
Registered Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future employees. Individuals can obtain paid work experience, progressive wage increases, classroom instruction and a portable, nationally-recognized credential. These programs enable transitioning service members and veterans to gain civilian career experience and further develop the skills they learned during military service.
How does a Registered Apprenticeship differ from an internship?
Registered Apprenticeships are not internships. Apprentices are paid from day one, and the program lasts at least a year. Apprenticeships combine hands-on and classroom learning to ensure apprentices master industry-approved, on-the-job competencies. Apprentices earn a nationally-recognized credential upon completion. Internships are typically shorter, not as structured, and many are unpaid. Additionally, internships do not always include mentorship and may not lead to earning a credential or a full-time job. While both programs may lead to college credit, some apprenticeship programs can lead to a debt-free college degree.
What kind of training do apprenticeships offer?
There are apprenticeship programs in numerous job industries, including high-growth industry sectors. Some of these programs include:
- Health Care
- Careers in Energy
- Electricity and Installations
- And many more!
All programs are industry-vetted and approved to confirm alignment with industry standards and ensure that apprentices are trained for highly-skilled, high-demand occupations.
How are apprenticeships different than a typical classroom setting?
While classroom-based instruction is a large component of apprenticeships, it is not the only way apprentices learn. Registered apprenticeships pride themselves on seven key elements that differentiate them from a typical classroom setting:
- Industry Led: All programs are vetted and approved by industry professionals and standards.
- Paid: Registered Apprenticeships are jobs! Apprentices earn a progressive wage as their skills and productivity increase.
- Structured On-the-Job Learning/Mentorship: Programs provide structured, on-the-job training to prepare for a successful career, which includes instruction from an experienced mentor.
- Supplemental Education: Apprentices are provided auxiliary classroom education based on the employer’s unique training needs to ensure quality and success.
- Diversity: Programs are designed to reflect the communities in which they operate through strong non-discrimination, anti-harassment and recruitment practices to ensure access, equity and inclusion.
- Quality & Safety: Apprentices are afforded worker protections while receiving rigorous training to equip them with the skills they need to succeed and the proper training and supervision they need to be safe.
- Credentials: Apprentices earn a portable, nationally-recognized credential within their industry.
Do apprenticeships work?
While your individual experiences will vary, statistics show incredible results for those who choose to enroll in an apprenticeship. According to Apprenticeship USA, 93% of apprentices who complete an apprenticeship retain employment, with an average annual salary of $77,000. This salary is almost $10,000 more than for those 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree. Apprentice graduates can earn $300,000 more over their lifetime than peers who don’t complete an apprenticeship program.
How can apprenticeships help me as a veteran?
As an apprentice, you will work in an environment with a clear pathway for success and benefit from a mentor who can help ease your transition into a civilian career. You can also use your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, which can provide a monthly housing allowance for Department of Veterans Affairs-approved apprenticeship programs. You may even be able to get credit for prior education and military service, which may shorten the duration of your program.
Where can I sign up and learn more?
To learn more about apprenticeships, go to apprenticeship.gov. To search for open apprenticeship jobs by location, industry, occupation or name, find the “Apprenticeship Job Finder” tool. The site also has a “Partner Finder” tool to help locate apprenticeship programs by name, state, occupation and industry, and allows for identifying additional apprenticeship stakeholders and partners. You can also connect with your local American Job Center to learn more about programs in your area.
Sources: Apprenticeship.gov, Department of Labor