Getting Started

An apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with related classroom instruction, all under the supervision of a journey-level professional. Apprentices get paid while they learn and develop knowledge, skills, and abilities in a new career field.

After completing a registered apprenticeship program, apprentices receive a professional credential that is recognized nationwide.

Apprenticeship is one of the best ways to get the experience and training you need to start your career. Often, starting an apprenticeship is similar to getting a job. You have to decide on a program you’re interested in, apply for the apprenticeship, interview with the program staff, and be accepted into the program. There are also recognized Apprenticeship Preparation Program with defined pathways to a registered apprenticeship.

Who can be an apprentice?

  • Anyone can be an apprentice. In general, apprentices must:
  • Be at least 16 years or older, or in the case of hazardous occupations, 17 years or older.
  • Be able to perform the work, with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Have the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to learn the job.
  • Provide proof of age, high school diploma or equivalency (GED), honorable military discharge, etc., to meet program requirements.
Women

Be more competitive in non-traditional jobs

In many professions, women are underrepresented in the workforce. However, there are many opportunities for women to participate in and excel in construction trades and other jobs that have traditionally been done by men. These organizations give you the resources you need to become a successful apprentice:

A complete list of programs is available through the Apprenticeship Registration Tracking System (ARTS). This database lists all registered apprenticeship programs available in Washington.

Minorities

Expanding career opportunities

Apprenticeship is a clear path to a livable wage and a rewarding career. The average journey-level professional in Washington earns over $80,000 per year. Workers who are of racial and ethnic minorities are actively being sought for these high-paying jobs.

You can apply to training programs are broadening their outreach to include the state’s diverse population. There are opportunities to change careers, with great pay and benefits. Here are a few resources to help you find an apprenticeship:

A complete list of programs is available through the Apprenticeship Registration Tracking System (ARTS). This database lists all registered apprenticeship programs available in Washington.

Veterans

Some apprenticeships offer direct entry into their programs for veterans. You should check with the programs you are interested in to see if they offer direct entry by using the Apprenticeship Registration Tracking System (ARTS). This database lists all registered apprenticeship programs available in Washington.

The following programs help veterans transition from military service to apprenticeship:

Not sure apprenticeship is right for you?

Start with one of the Apprenticeship Preparations Programs. These programs help improve your basic skills and learn about the job before you apply to a program.

Did you know…
You can use your veteran’s education benefits as part of your apprenticeship. They can be used to pay for books, supplies, and housing expenses under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Related links

Youth

Get a head start on your career!

As a young adults from high school into your early 20s, you can find career opportunities through apprenticeship. Programs are available in high tech, aerospace and advanced manufacturing, and health care, besides the more traditional tradecrafts such as carpentry, electrical, sheet metal worker fields.

Find an Apprenticeship Preparation Program near you to learn about your options.

For high schoolers: There is a statewide movement under way to connect high school students ages 16 and 17 with learning about careers. A variety of programs are available that connect schools, with training programs and employers. Talk to your school counselor for more information.

Did you know...
There are work rules for minors age 17 and under. They can be found on the L&I Teen Workers page.

For young adults: A career path into registered apprenticeship instead of college can be rewarding – studies have shown that, six months after graduating a program, apprentices with a journey-level credential can make more than $80,000 a year.

You will still need to apply to an apprenticeship program in your selected field of interest. Find an Apprenticeship Registration and Tracking System near you to learn about your options.

Related links:

Tribal

The Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance of 1995 (TERO), provides for Indian Preference in any employment, contract, and subcontract conducted on or near tribal land. Tribal members who meet the requirements may receive direct entry into select apprenticeship programs.

Resources:
The Tulalip Tribes Vocational training center (TVTC) is open to all Native Americans and their spouses.

  • TERO Vocational Training is a free 14 week construction training with an intensive “hands on” program.
  • Students earn a certificate from Renton Technical College or South Seattle Community College upon successful completion.
  • This program consists of in shop training and “try-a-trade” days at a variety of construction training programs.

The Washington State Apprenticeship & Training Council Tribal Liaison Subcommittee, Co-Chaired by Christina Riley. For more information contact Evan Hamilton, Apprenticeship Consultant for L&I and member of the Tribal Liaison Subcommittee: Evan.Hamilton@Lni.wa.gov or call: 253-596-3861.

Related links:

Who offers apprenticeship programs?

Typically, employers, employer associations, and labor unions sponsor apprenticeship programs. To find a program you are interested in, use the Apprenticeship Registration Tracking System (ARTS). This database lists all registered apprenticeship programs available in Washington, and the requirements for each program. You should contact the program directly to see if they are accepting new apprentices.

NOTE: Be cautious. If a company hires you informally as an “apprentice,” and the apprenticeship is not officially registered with the state or federal government, you will not receive the benefits of a registered apprenticeship, including working as a journey-level professional.

Benefits of apprenticeship

Apprenticeship combines classroom studies with on-the-job training supervised by a trade professional. Much like a college education, it can take a few years to graduate. But unlike college, as an apprentice you’ll earn while you learn. Once you’ve mastered the occupation, you’ll earn the same wages as a professional.

Apprentices enrolled in a registered apprenticeship program:

  • Start earning right away.
  • Learn business and job skills for leadership and management opportunities.
  • Have no student loans to pay off when they graduate, and have a jump start in their career.

What careers offer apprenticeships?

Registered apprenticeships are available in hundreds of occupations in many different fields of work. Some apprenticeships are in traditional trades, such as plumbers and ironworkers, but many are offered in less traditional areas, including high-tech and the medical sector.

Aerospace

  • Composite Manufacturing
  • Machinist
  • Model Maker
  • Aircraft Airframe Mechanic
  • Precision Metal Fabricator

Medical

  • Dental Assistant
  • Dispensing Optician
  • Behavioral Health Coordinator
  • Medical Assistant
  • Mental Health Professional
  • Peer Counselor
  • School Health Technician

Other Trades

  • Automotive Service Technician
  • Cosmetology
  • Culinary Workers
  • Butcher / Meat Cutter
  • Esthetician
  • Firefighter
  • Manufacturing Technician

Software & Technology

  • Cloud Operations Specialist
  • Electronic Systems Technician
  • It Business Analyst
  • It Support Professional
  • Network Operations Developer
  • Network Security Administrator
  • Software Developer
  • Systems Administrator
  • Web Developer

Construction Trades

  • Bricklayer
  • Carpenter
  • Cement Mason
  • Electrician
  • Elevator Mechanic
  • Heating & Cooling Technician
  • Laborer
  • Ironworker
  • Painter and Decorator
  • Plumber
  • Powerline Worker

Contact Us

  • apprentice@Lni.wa.gov
  • 360-902-5320
  • Fax: 360-902-4248

Mailing address

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
Apprenticeship Section
PO Box 44530
Tumwater WA 98504-4530