Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q:  What is apprenticeship? Is an apprenticeship a job?

    A:  Yes! Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, mentorship, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential. 

    Q: How is apprenticeship different from other types of work-based training models?

    A: Apprenticeship training is distinguished from other types of workplace training by several factors:

    (1) Apprenticeships are jobs! Apprentices earn wages from their employers during training; 

    (2) Apprenticeship programs provide on-the-job learning and job-related classroom training;

    (3) On-the-job learning is conducted in the work setting under the direction of a mentor(s); and  

    (4) Training results in an industry-recognized and portable credential. 

    Q: What is the difference between an apprenticeship and an internship?

    The U.S. Department of Labor does not have an official definition of internship or externship. However, generally speaking, differences between internships and apprenticeships include:

    1)   Length of Time: Internships are usually short term (1-3 months) and apprenticeships are longer term (1-3 years).

    2)      Structure:

    a.     Apprenticeships include a structured training plan, with a focus on mastering specific skills an employer needs to fill an occupation within their organization.

    b.     Internships aren’t structured and often focus on entry-level general work experience.

    3)    Mentorship: Apprentices receive individualized training with an experienced mentor who walks them through their entire process. Internships do not always include mentorship.

    4)    Pay: Apprenticeships are paid experiences that often lead to full-time employment. Internships are often unpaid and may not lead to a full-time job.

    5)    Credential: Apprenticeships lead to an industry-recognized credential. Internships typically do not lead to a credential.

    6)    College Credit: Internship and apprenticeship experiences may both lead to college credit, although some apprenticeship programs will lead to a debt-free college degree.

    Q: What are the types of apprenticeship programs?  

    A: There are two types of apprenticeship programs that offer workers paid, relevant workplace experiences and enable employers to immediately access a workforce while developing their skilled future talent. These include: 

    (1) Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) – This is a proven model of apprenticeship that has been validated by the U.S. Department of Labor or a State Apprenticeship Agency.  

    (2) Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) – This is a new, customizable apprenticeship model that will be validated by proven industry Standards Recognition Entities. 

    Q: How long are apprenticeship programs?

    A: The length of an apprenticeship program can vary depending on the employer, complexity of the occupation, industry, and the type of program.

    Q: Are apprenticeship programs flexible and adaptable?

    A:  Yes! The apprenticeship model is adaptable based on the skills required by the employer and industry.

    Q: Are there apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries?

    A:  Yes! Apprenticeship spans more than 1,000 occupations including careers in health care, cybersecurity, information technology, and energy. 

    Q: What is National Apprenticeship Week? 

    A: National Apprenticeship Weeks is a nationwide celebration established by the U.S. Department of Labor that brings together leaders in business, labor, and education to showcase the impact apprenticeship programs have on addressing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow. 

    The fourth annual National Apprenticeship Week took place on November 12-18, 2018. 

    Q: What was the Presidential Executive Order about apprenticeships and where can I find more information?

    A: In June 2017, President Trump signed the Executive Order “Expanding Apprenticeships in America.” This Executive Order contained several important tasks and requirements to help modernize America’s education systems and workforce development programs by expanding apprenticeships. You can find the Presidential Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships in America on the White House website.

  • Q: Where can I find open apprenticeships? How do I use the apprenticeship finder? 

    You can find apprenticeship listings using the Apprenticeship Finder on Apprenticeship.gov. You can search for apprenticeships using keywords and/or location. 

    After you hit “Search” the results will appear below. These results can be filtered by location, search radius, and skills. In addition, you can sort the results by “most recent” or “most relevant.” A map view icon allows you to view the apprenticeship opportunities on a map.  

    After you have identified an opportunity of interest to you, you can click on it to see the full job description. If you want to apply for the apprenticeship, hit the “apply” button on the upper right-hand corner of the listing. This button will take you to the job listing website where you can complete the application process. 

    Q: Do you earn college credit while participating in apprenticeship programs? 

    A:  Yes! Most apprenticeship opportunities include on-the-job training and classroom instruction provided by apprenticeship training centers, technical schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities, sometimes through distance learning. Often apprenticeship sponsors work directly with community colleges that do provide college credit for apprenticeship experience.

    Q: What are the benefits of an apprenticeship for veterans and service members? What apprenticeship programs exist for service members and/or veterans? 

    A: Apprenticeships are viewed as beneficial to both transitioning service members/veterans and employers who are having a hard time finding skilled workers. Civilian apprenticeship programs offer advanced standing or provide credit hours for, military training and experience. Any service member can pursue a skill unrelated to their military training and experience.

    United States Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) is a formal military training program that provides active-duty Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard service members the opportunity to improve their job skills and to complete their civilian apprenticeship requirements while they are on active duty. The benefit to the service is a cross-trained service member with hands-on experience in all aspects of their MOS/rating.   

    The DoD SkillBridge initiative is a separate program that allows transitioning service members, within six months of separation, to participate in civilian job and employment training, including apprenticeships and internships.  Additionally, the training must offer a high probability of employment and be provided to the Service member at little or no cost. 

    Q: What are my rights as an apprentice or applicant? How do I file a complaint?

    A: All apprentices and applicants to a Registered Apprenticeship Program who believe they have been discriminated against based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, (including identity and orientation), pregnancy, genetic information, or because they are an individual with a disability or a person 40 years or older may submit a written Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint by using the form located on the Apprenticeship Complaints website. The complaint should be mailed to the appropriate office within 300 days of the incident. Complaints may be filed to the following email address: ApprenticeshipEEOcomplaints@dol.gov

    Q: What is Pre-Apprenticeship? 

    A: Pre-apprenticeship is a program or set of strategies designed to prepare individuals for entry into Register Apprenticeship Programs (RAP), Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAP) or other job opportunities. Pre-apprenticeships may last from a few weeks to a few months and may or may not include wages or stipend.  Pre-apprenticeship programs have varied program elements; however, at the core, places an individual on a pathway to employability through a RAP or IRAP. 

    Q: What is Youth Apprenticeship?   

    A: Apprenticeship programs for high school students combine academic and technical classroom instruction with work experience through a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) or an Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP). It provides the foundation for students to choose among multiple pathways after high school – to enroll in college, to enter an apprenticeship program, begin full-time employment, or a combination.

  • Q: What are the benefits of apprenticeships for employers? Why should I consider an apprenticeship for my company? 

    A: With a network of over 150,000 employers in more than 1,000 occupations, apprenticeship is developing a new generation of workers to help our nation succeed in the 21st-century economy.  

    Apprenticeship programs help employers: 

    • Recruit and develop a highly-skilled workforce that helps grow their business 

    • Improve productivity, profitability, and an employer’s bottom line 

    • Create flexible training options that ensure workers develop the right skills 

    • Minimize liability costs through appropriate training of workers 

    • Receive tax credits and employee tuition benefits in participating states

    • Increase retention of workers, during and following the apprenticeship.  

    Q: What funding is available to support apprenticeship program creation or expansion?   

    A: Each year the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announces funding opportunities, some of which are focused on apprenticeship expansion activities. To view current funding opportunities please visit www.grants.gov as well as our apprenticeship webpage https://www.dol.gov/featured/apprenticeship/grants.   

    Each opportunity identifies the purpose of the funding, eligible applicants, funding amounts, and the process for how to apply. For specific questions on a specific opportunity, please check for the DOL contact person listed in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

    Q: Why don’t I see my apprenticeship opportunity listed in the Apprenticeship Finder search results?

    A: The Apprenticeship Finder Tool  on Apprenticeship.gov retrieves active apprenticeship opportunities from the National Labor Exchange (NLx)—a collection of over 2 million job openings exclusively found on corporate career websites and state job banks. Please click here for instructions on how to get your apprenticeship opportunity included in the NLx database and Apprenticeship Finder Tool.

    Q: Can apprenticeship contribute to performance outcomes for the workforce system? 

    A:  Yes! There are also multiple opportunities to achieve a measurable skill gain, and a recognized post-secondary credential is awarded at program completion. All apprentices are employed, and apprenticeship programs have a high retention rate.