Apprenticeships: Get Training and Get Paid at the Same Time!

February 14, 2024

An apprenticeship is training that combines on-the-job experience with classroom instruction. Individuals in apprenticeship programs get direct, relevant experience in their chosen career and advance in the profession as they learn. Apprentices graduate fully trained in their field – and not as an entry-level worker.

Benefits: It is a terrific way to earn a living wage and pursue higher education at the same time! With a registered apprenticeship, you receive:

  • A paycheck: From day one, you will earn a paycheck guaranteed to increase over time as you learn new skills.
  • Hands-on career training: You will receive practical on-the-job training in a wide selection of programs.
  • An education: You’ll receive hands-on training and have the potential to earn college credit, even an associate or bachelor’s degree, in many cases paid for by your employer.
  • A career: Once you complete your apprenticeship, you will be on your way to a successful long-term career with a competitive salary and little or no educational debt.
  • National industry certification: When you graduate from a career training program, you’ll be certified and can take your certification anywhere in the U.S.

When you apply for an apprenticeship program, it is important to be prepared! Pre-apprenticeship programs exist to make you a better candidate when you go to apply for an apprenticeship. They can help guide you through the résumé and interview process and give you a heads-up on what to expect as an apprentice and tradesperson. They will also expose you to many different career options. Some pre-apprenticeship programs are free, while others are available at community colleges for a small fee, and they are stretched out over several weeks or months. For more information, visit

You can also contact your local community college and ask them about their apprenticeship and trade-related programs. If you need to brush up on your algebra, science, or writing skills – or take a placement test – community colleges are a great resource. They also often have information on the different trades and can provide contacts within the apprenticeship programs.

Build a Good Foundation Through a Pre-Apprenticeship Program

Leaping right into an apprenticeship is not always that easy. With apprenticeships ranging from crane operators to construction divers, you may have questions about what type of apprenticeship is the right fit. Maybe you need related experience or have to improve your math skills before applying. Pre-apprenticeship programs around the state provide an opportunity to train up and build out the skills that will help you succeed in an apprenticeship.

Just as construction workers follow blueprints to guide their work, pre-apprenticeships provide students with a blueprint for their future careers. Programs typically run 6 to 9 weeks. Through a pre-apprenticeship you can learn basic trade skills. You can also develop required math skills and get the fundamentals to read schematics or blueprints. Pre-apprenticeships offer benefits beyond the classroom, and include:

An approved training curriculum - Learn fundamental skills specific to your industry to help you feel ready for an apprenticeship. Examples include basic hand tool and equipment operation, math and measuring, workplace harassment and discrimination training, and onsite safety.

Educational and pre-vocational services - Sharpen your math skills. Master the art of blueprint reading. Gain access to support services like transportation support, clothing and work boot supply, tools, access to childcare, and more.

Hands-on training - As an apprentice, you’ll be on the ground getting experience from skilled mentors in your field. A pre-apprenticeship prepares you for the next step in your career with a variety of experiences including simulated labs, field trips, and guest speakers.

Application assistance - Towards the end of your pre-apprenticeship, you’ll receive assistance in the registered apprentice application process. Tackle everything from resume building to interview and communication skills. By the end of your pre-apprenticeship, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a registered apprentice!

Programs are available across the state and can begin while you are still in high school. For instance, Umpqua Community College works with a number of Southern Oregon high schools to offer youth pre-apprenticeship programs. Other opportunities may be available through volunteer programs like Heart of Oregon’s Youth Build program. There also a number of training organizations like Oregon Tradeswomen or the Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute who offer a number of opportunities.

A successful apprenticeship relies on a solid foundation, and a pre-apprenticeship is a great way to strengthen yours. For more information about current pre-apprenticeship programs around the state, check out

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