What is 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.

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  • Expand/collapse Who sponsors apprenticeship programs and how are they regulated?

    Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by joint employer and labor groups, individual employers, and/or employer associations. The sponsor of an apprenticeship program plans, administers, and pays for the program. Frequently, organized labor unions also participate jointly with these employer(s) to sponsor apprenticeship programs. Registered apprenticeship, traditionally associated with the trades in construction, precision, craft and repair, is now available in hundreds of occupations.

    When program sponsors voluntarily request state approval of their training programs, they also voluntarily choose to come under various state and federal regulations affecting the conduct of their training programs. The approved apprenticeship/training standards set forth the terms and conditions of training. Representatives of L&I's Apprenticeship Section assist program sponsors with local administration of their training programs. L&I's Apprenticeship Section works with approximately 300 program sponsors throughout the state in developing and keeping current their individual apprenticeship/training standards. The Apprenticeship Section is responsible for the reproduction of all apprenticeship/training standards.

    See also Federal apprenticeship programs.

  • Expand/collapse What is an apprenticeable occupation?
    • It is customarily learned in a practical way through a structured, systematic program of supervised on-the-job training.
    • It is clearly identified and commonly recognized throughout an industry.
    • It involves manual, mechanical, or technical skills and knowledge that require a minimum of 2000 hours of on-the-job experience.
    • It requires related instructions to supplement the on-the-job training. Such instruction may be given in a classroom, through correspondence courses, self-study, or other means of approved instruction. A minimum of 144 hours for each year of apprenticeship is recommended.
  • Expand/collapse Who is eligible?
    • Registered apprenticeship in most apprenticeable occupations is open to anyone age 16 or older. However, individuals must usually be age 18 to be an apprentice in hazardous occupations. About 14 percent of newly registered apprentices are age 21 or younger. More than 360,000 apprentices are currently receiving training nationwide, including 80,000 apprentices in the armed services.
    • Individuals must satisfy the sponsor that they have the ability, aptitude, and education.
    • Credentials or documentation may be required by the sponsor along with the completed application form, a transcript of school subjects and grades, proof of age, honorable military discharge (if applicable) and high school diploma or general equivalency certificate "GED"( if applicable). References from all previous employers may be required.
  • Expand/collapse How do you get into an L&I-sponsored apprenticeship program?

    An individual can contact the Department of Labor & Industries Apprenticeship Section or Regional Offices for a copy of the apprenticeship booklet and a list of trades, including current and former trades. Once the individual receives this information, he/she can contact directly, any of the programs listed in the Apprenticeship booklet to inquire about current opportunities, or if the individual wants more information about a trade/program, they can contact the Apprenticeship Section for copies of a program standard which covers the trade that they want to get into. Basically, it is up to the individual to contact the program sponsor about applying for an apprenticeship program.

    You may also go to the online Apprenticeship Registration and Tracking System (ARTS) to find programs by occupation and/or county(s).


If you need additional assistance, please contact one of the following:
Regional Labor & Industries Apprenticeship Coordinator.
Apprenticeship Central Office.

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