Ready for Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is a rewarding but demanding choice that requires determination, commitment, attitude and physical conditioning to succeed. For those who meet the challenges of apprenticeship, the rewards are substantial. A journey level worker is guaranteed an excellent wage and benefits anywhere in the United States. 

Do you have what it takes to be a successful apprentice?

On this page:

Qualities of a Successful Apprentice

Good work ethic

Shows up every day, on time, for work and school. Always has back-up day care and transportation plans. Works hard at a steady pace.

Positive attitude
  • Listens and learns on the job and in school.
  • Works with others as a team to build the project.
  • Follows directions of crew leaders regardless of the manner in which they are given. (Directions are often given quickly and may sound angry because the immediacy of the job situation demands it. This is not the time for sensitive feelings.)
  • Aptitude for the trade/occupation and some work history (paid or unpaid).
  • Has some experience doing construction, production, or other comparable work or transferable skills.
  • Has proven potential to be good worker. Any continuous employment or training with a good attendance record can indicate this, even if not related to the trade/occupation.

Physical condition
Some apprenticeships require both physical strength and endurance. In those that do, able to work in a physically demanding environment for extended periods of time in all weather conditions. Can work at heights and in enclosed areas. Is very safety conscious in all work.

Drug free
Drug free and can pass drug/alcohol tests that are given randomly to workers.

Driver's license
Valid Washington State driver's license and good driving record. Has reliable transportation, preferably owns a car. (Companies may send you to another job in the middle of the day and you need to be able to get there. The contractor may need you to drive a company truck.) Also is willing to drive to where the work is, which may be some distance and may not be on a bus line.

English language
Good comprehension of the English language. This includes both verbal and written comprehension for successful learning on the job and in school.

Education required of the trade - usually GED or high school diploma.

Good basic math skills as some trades require geometry or algebra. Some apprenticeships require accurate reading of a tape measure.

Good basic knowledge of hand and power tools and how to use them safely if going into a trades-related apprenticeship.

Life situation
Stable living situation and a phone. This means managing personal issues such as credit or relationships so they do not interfere with work or school performance.† It also means resolving undependable transportation or childcare issues.

Trade requirements
Meets the minimum requirements for chosen trade.

You are an excellent apprentice candidate if you can meet the above guidelines. Ask your career/employment counselor, community center counselors, or the apprenticeship program for assistance if needed.

Values the System
Values the apprenticeship system as an excellent way to learn skills and develop a career while making a good living wage with benefits.

Enjoys the Work
Chooses a trade that he/she really enjoys and wants to learn. You need to like the work in order to stay with it when times are tough.

Understands the System
It can be a complicated process to become an apprentice. You may have to wait to be interviewed since apprenticeship programs only accept the number of apprentices they can keep working steadily. This is very different from just applying for a job. You need to be both patient and persistent. If a person truly values and understands the system, they won't give up. You may need a survival job until the apprenticeship starts.

Makes a Commitment
Apprenticeship program sponsors invest time and money training apprentices. They want apprentices who will complete their program and stay employed within the industry that has invested time and money into an individual's career training.

  • Pre-Apprenticeship Training
    Apprenticeship preparation is available through the programs listed on the Pre-Apprenticeship Programs page.†You may also research training opportunities through area high schools, community and technical colleges, and community organizations.†Training is recommended for individuals who need to improve their basic skills before applying to an apprenticeship program.
  • Apply to be an Apprentice
    Once you have decided on a trade, apply to the Washington State approved apprenticeship program in your area offering training in that trade. Apprenticeship programs usually only bring in new apprentices where there are enough jobs to keep all apprentices working. Some trades only accept applications at certain times of the year. Others require that you find a job in the trade before you are accepted into the program.

If you need additional assistance, please contact one of the following:

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