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Commonly Asked Questions About Apprenticeship


Ohio State Apprenticeship Council

P.O. Box 1618, Columbus, Ohio  43216

(614) 644-0863

What is Apprenticeship?  Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training (OJT) and related technical instruction (RTI).  Apprentices are under the supervision of a journey-level craft person, trade professional, or other skilled worker, learning the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation.

What defines an Apprenticeship Program?  It is a program registered with the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Apprenticeship, or the State Apprenticeship Council (SAC).  This program is conducted or sponsored by an employer, a group of employers, or a joint apprenticeship committee representing both union and employer.  It consists of a set of standards containing all terms and conditions for the qualification, recruitment, selection, employment, and training of apprentices.

How long do traditional time-based apprenticeships last?  The required length of time for training ranges from one to six years, depending upon the specific occupation.  The majority of programs require three to four years.

How long do performance based apprenticeships last?  Under the performance based approach, the time required to accomplish individual tasks and complete the overall program depends on the apprentice’s ability to complete the work.  Apprentices are permitted to move ahead at their own pace, depending on their prior training, ability to master the task, and motivation to progress.

What is the participation rate of apprentices and sponsors nationwide and in Ohio?  Nationwide, in 2006 there were 413,000 registered apprentices in 28,800 registered apprenticeship programs.  In Ohio in 2007 a total of 16,074 registered apprentices in 1,079 registered apprenticeship programs.

What is an apprentice?  A qualified person of legal working age who has entered into a written agreement with an employer.  The employer provides an opportunity for the apprentice to learn an apprenticeable occupation.

What is a journeyperson?  A worker who has satisfactorily completed an apprenticeship program and is classified as a skilled worker in that occupation.  The worker’s journeyperson status provides an additional benefit of nationwide mobility at journey level scale.

Why is apprenticeship important to the apprentice?  Apprentices gain varied skills through instruction and experience in all major aspects of an occupation.  They learn to work in harmony with different types of trade and crafts people in a work setting.  Apprentices learn to work within a company or work organization.  They learn about each skilled worker’s part in the productivity plan of the industry and/or business.  Apprentices receive a wage with regular increases while learning a skilled occupation.  There is increased employability and economic security.  They receive recognition as skilled workers from peers, journeypersons, employers, and union members.

What is an apprentice indenture agreement?  A required written agreement or contract between apprentice and program sponsor concerning the terms of employment and training experiences of the apprentice during the learning period.  The agreement sets forth expectations, duties and obligations of each party for the term of the apprenticeship.  Among items typically incorporated into the agreement are the provision for related instruction, overtime regulations, minimum wage schedule for each period in the apprenticeship term, and approximate time schedule for training in different aspect of the occupation.

Are apprentices employed?  Yes.  Apprentices must be full-time employees of the company to which they are apprenticed.  However, in the event of school-to-apprentice programs, registered apprentices may be part-time.  Apprenticeship activities may cease for the apprentice if either laid off or unemployed.

What rate of pay do apprentices receive?  Usually the wage scale begins at 40-50% of a journeypersons rate and increases progressively with satisfactory completion of work assignments and training segments.  Near the end of the apprenticeship term, pay ranges from 90-95% of the full journeypersons rate.

Who directly supervises apprentices working on the job?  Apprentices are directly supervised by journeypersons.  The ratio of apprentices assigned to a journeyperson is dependent on the occupation involved, union contracts, and other agreements.

What are the educational requirements of apprentices?  Requirements vary depending upon the occupation.   Some require very specific educational requirements and most require a high school diploma or equivalent.

To be in an apprenticeship program, must the apprentice be a member of a labor union?  No.  Over 60% of active apprentices are not members of organized labor.

What is the average age of apprentices?  Mid-twenties.

What occupations generally have the largest numbers of apprentices?  Electrician, carpenter, plumber, pipe-fitter, and sheet metal worker.  Nearly 80% of all registered apprentices in the U.S. are in the building or metal occupations.

Can apprentices earn college credit while in an apprenticeship program?  Yes, several colleges offer credit for related technical instruction.  Some of the registered programs are set up to allow for continuation of education for an associate’s degree as part of the apprenticeship standards.

Where do individuals interested in becoming apprentices go to find out about what is available?  For current recruitments go to http://jfs.ohio.gov/apprenticeship. Click on Apprenticeship Opportunities or Finding a Registered Apprenticeship Program.

What dies the term on-the-job training mean in relation to apprenticeship programs?  The sponsor has set up in their standards a work process schedule which describes the skills and abilities the apprentice must learn under the guide of a journeyperson.

What is related technical instruction (RTI)?  Related technical instruction is the classroom portion of apprenticeship and is an integral part of an apprenticeship program.  It provides each apprentice with the theoretical and technical knowledge base necessary to become a successful journeyperson.  It also provides additional practice and useful examples of job-related skills and knowledge at work.  All registered programs include related technical instruction.  ORC5101:11 Apprenticeship Council Rules requires a minimum of 144 hours per year of apprenticeship training to be provided to each trainee in related and supplementary subjects.  This period of time can be increased by the occupation standards or by program sponsors if content warrants the increase.  Some industries require as much as 200-300 hours of yearly instruction.

What are the subjects taught in related technical instruction?  The contents of related subjects, like the number of hours required, vary by occupation.  In general, the kinds of subjects taught include:  the theory, principles, and technical knowledge needed on the job; supplementary information that assists workers to better understand and perform their responsibilities; occasional manipulative skills that are important to the occupation but are not provided conveniently in the apprentices’ on-the-job training.  Frequently, this means such courses as mathematics, general physical sciences, safety, basic measurement, and blueprint reading.  In addition, related subjects help to insure that workers can communicate effectively in job-specific ways, can work effectively in organizations, and have knowledge about the apprenticeship system.  However, regardless of the occupation, the subject matter is current to job demands, practical, and directly useful in working in the occupation.

Must an apprentice complete the RTI before he becomes a journeyperson?  In order to be certified as complete by the Ohio State Apprenticeship Council an apprentice must attend and successfully complete the required RTI instruction.

Where can related technical instruction be provided?Career Technical Schools, Community Colleges and Universities, in-house instruction by a qualified instructor, certified schools for the industry, correspondence courses, internet classes, and video conferences.

Does the military offer apprenticeship programs?  Yes, the national apprenticeship system includes over 50,000 apprentices registered in programs sponsored by the Unites States Armed Forces.  Some are civilians.

Is an employer required to accept apprenticeship credit earned in the military or other sources?  No, however, many companies will allow some credit based on bonafide work records provided by either the previous employer or prospective employee.  In fact, credit may be given on past employment even if the past employer was not participating in a registered apprenticeship program.  Prospective employers may require testing to verify the potential employee’s performance level.

Is funding available for military veterans coming into an apprenticeship program? Yes, if they are eligible for the GI Bill.  They can receive these benefits while they are registered in an apprenticeship program.  For more information go to: www.jfs.ohio.gov/apprenticeship and click on Veterans Training State Approving Agency.

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