What is an Apprenticeship?

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: December 10, 2022  •  8 min read  •  Trade & Vocational
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Understanding what an apprenticeship is will help you with career planning. While some careers require a degree, others require an apprenticeship. It’s possible, you could need both to get the necessary experience.


When you want to go down a specific career path, knowing what an apprenticeship is will help. Let’s look at the definition of an apprenticeship, some of the benefits, and the most popular ones to choose from.

What is an Apprenticeship?

An effective choice when you want to gain professional experience and skills, an apprenticeship offers hands-on experience. Most apprenticeship programs will train employees in a specific career.

The main goal of an apprenticeship is to train employees on a specific job or career. Companies offer this type of training when they need skilled employees. Unlike an internship, as an apprentice, you will be paid.

An apprentice is often a current or new employee needing to upgrade their skills. Many career paths may include an apprenticeship as a part of on-the-job training. It’s an effective training strategy in many industries, including construction and manufacturing. They have also started to become popular in the energy, logistics, transportation, information technology, and healthcare industries.

Top 7 Benefits of an Apprenticeship

1. Provides a Well-Defined Career Path

When you choose to enter an apprenticeship, you will have a very clearly defined career path. As a high school graduate, you can enter into an apprenticeship, which can help you move forwards in your career. Often, apprenticeships are offered in areas where a four-year degree isn’t necessary.

2. Training and Income

Many careers require a degree or some type of certification program. This is the education you will need to pay for. Entering an apprenticeship doesn’t require you to pay for training. Instead, you get training and earn an income at the same time.

Apprenticeships are paid programs allowing you to gain skills and experience. You will receive on-the-job training and an income during this type of program.

When you complete an apprenticeship, you will have the skills necessary for long-term employment. For many careers, this is a great option to ensure you can earn a living while training to advance your career.

3. Learn from Experts

Not everybody can train an apprentice. Most careers requiring an apprenticeship will require those training apprentices to be experts. When you enter into an apprenticeship, you will gain targeted support. One-on-one learning can help you gain skills faster and better.

With direct access to mentors, you can learn the right skills fast. Plus, you’ll get to apply your new skills instantly to real-world situations.

4. Earn Higher Wages

When you work through an apprentice program, you can earn more money. Without the right training, you won’t be able to earn nearly as much. The average person completing an apprenticeship will earn around $50K per year. This is higher than those without any training at all.

5. Job Security

With the right skills, you gain job security. After completing an apprenticeship, you will likely be licensed or certified in your chosen career. This makes it easy to gain job security.

Job security isn’t the ability to keep your current job. It’s the ability to find another job in your chosen career if your current job is taken away. With a completed apprenticeship, you gain skills and credentials. This helps provide you with the necessary job security.

6. Competitive Advantage

In some careers, an apprenticeship may not be required, but it provides a competitive advantage. You gain technical skills, industry knowledge, and hands-on experience you cannot get without an apprenticeship.

Potential employers will see that you’re serious about your career when you complete an apprenticeship. It also shows that you can overcome challenges. Most apprenticeships won’t be very easy to complete and will come with challenges.

7. Hands-on Training

There are not very many ways to gain hands-on training in most career options. If you go to college to get a degree, you might complete an internship. However, completing an apprenticeship, with or without a degree, is one of the best ways to gain hands-on experience.

Not only will you get to work in your industry, but you will also gain skills you cannot get anywhere else. Getting trained by an expert in your chosen career will make a big difference. It can also help to boost your confidence.

1. Elevator Installers and Repairers

Known as the highest-paying apprenticeship career, if you become an elevator installer and repairer, you will enter a very popular career. The apprenticeship will last five years, and the average salary is more than $75K per year. Top-paying states will pay more than $90K per year.

This apprenticeship career is expected to grow by about 25% over the next ten years. You will need to complete a five-year apprenticeship with 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. It’s also necessary to complete 144 hours of technical instruction during your apprenticeship.

2. Business Administration

While most apprenticeships are found in manual labor careers, a business administration apprenticeship is a very popular option. You can enter this type of career with a degree, but an apprenticeship has become a very popular option.

A business administration apprenticeship provides plenty of hands-on experience as you earn an income. You will learn project management, finance, and leadership skills with this top apprenticeship option.

3. Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons

Another very popular apprenticeship program is one as a brick mason, block mason, or stonemason. You will learn how to build homes, foundations, walls, and other structures by working with stones, bricks, and concrete blocks. This type of apprenticeship will last three or four years.

When you enter into this type of apprenticeship, you will learn how to create custom outdoor fireplaces, patios, walls, and so much more. It’s necessary to complete an apprenticeship, even though some workers may also go to trade school. This career will pay, on average, around $50K per year.

4. Solar Photovoltaic Installers

Most commonly known as solar panel installers, this apprenticeship is one of the shortest. It’s only about a year long and will allow you to learn how to install solar panel systems for commercial buildings and homes.

With the on-the-job training you get from this apprenticeship, you can earn an average salary of more than $42K per year. This career has seen incredible growth. It’s expected to grow by more than 24% over the next ten years.

5. Electricians

An electrician apprenticeship has been one of the most popular for decades. Electricians have been in high demand for a very long time. Through on-the-job training, you will learn how to read blueprints and their instructions. You will also learn everything necessary about electrical circuits, wiring, lighting systems, and more.

If you want to become an electrician, you will need to complete a four- or five-year apprenticeship program. It will include 2,000 hours of on-the-job paid training, along with 144 hours of technical training. Once completed, you can earn an average salary of about $55K as an electrician.

Other careers that start with an apprenticeship include:

Many other careers in skilled trades, information technology, energy, transportation, hospitality, and other industries start with an apprenticeship.

Frequently Asked Questions About Apprenticeships

How does an apprenticeship program work?

Commonly, an apprenticeship allows someone to gain the on-the-job training necessary for a specific career or job. Companies offer apprenticeships to ensure employees can gain the necessary training to become skilled workers.

This type of training will likely include hands-on work and potentially some classroom work. Apprenticeships are paid positions. It’s even possible to earn pay raises as you complete specific parts of the program.

Which apprenticeships are the highest paying?

If you want to earn the highest salary, you want to enter the right apprenticeship. The highest-paying apprenticeships include:

All of these high-paying apprenticeships also have projected career growth rates of more than 10% over the next ten years.

Are there different types of apprenticeships?

Yes, there are three common types of apprenticeships. The most common is a time-based apprenticeship. This type requires you to complete a specific number of hours in the classroom and on the job.

Another type is a competency-based apprenticeship. This type of apprenticeship will require you to demonstrate your skills and knowledge to advance.

The final type of apprenticeship is a hybrid of both the other types. This type of apprenticeship will likely require a certain number of hours, along with a demonstration of skills and competency.

When you don’t want to go to college or you prefer a hands-on career, an apprenticeship is a great option. You now know what an apprenticeship is and about some of the most popular career choices. If you want to enter into an apprenticeship, the careers found above are some of the top choices to consider.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.