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Trade & Apprenticeship

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training (OJT) and related classroom instruction under the supervision of a journey-level craft person or trade professional in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation.

After completing an apprenticeship program, the worker's journey-level status provides an additional benefit of nationwide mobility at journey level scale.

Taking an apprenticeship is one of the best ways for a worker to acquire the experience and training to get established in a career. Apprenticeship also addresses industry's need to remain competitive by investing in the development and continuous upgrade of the skills of its workforce.

Benefits of Apprenticeships

  • Through the Apprenticeship Agreement, an apprentice, as an employee, receives supervised, structured on-the-job training combined with related technical instruction. The instruction, usually classroom study, in a specific occupation can be held at public secondary or post-secondary schools, employer or union-sponsored schools or community colleges.
  • Some registered apprenticeship programs also have dual accreditation through post-secondary institutions, which apply credit for apprenticeship completion towards an Associate Degree.
  • A progressively increasing schedule of wages is based on the journey worker's hourly wage of the apprentice's occupation. These increases occur with satisfactory progress in both related instruction and on-the-job training until wages reach 85 to 90 percent of the rate paid the journey worker in the occupation.
  • Upon completing a one to five year (2,000 hours to 10,000 hours) apprenticeship, the worker receives an Apprenticeship Completion Certificate and is recognized as a qualified journey worker nationwide. This Certificate is one of the oldest, most basic, and most highly portable industry credentials in use today. The Certificate is issued by a federally approved State Apprenticeship Council or Agency or, in those States not having such an agency, by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training.
  • Registered apprentices/trainees pay substantially reduced tuition fees for attendance at related instruction classes held in community colleges or technical colleges.
  • Registered apprentices/trainees are covered by state industrial insurance while in attendance at related instruction classes.
  • Registration is a requirement to work as an apprentice/trainee on both state and federal public works’ projects.
  • Registered apprentices/trainees have access to an appeal process in the event a serious problem arises during the course of training. That appeal process extends all the way up to the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council.
  • Individuals completing formal training through registration with this office will receive validated credentials as fully qualified journey level workers.