Program Comparison

All high-quality apprenticeship programs consist of five core components. Follow the table below to compare Registered Apprenticeship Programs with Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs.

Apprenticeship ComponentsRegistered Apprenticeship Program (RAP)Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP)

Paid Job

Apprentices are paid a progressively increasing schedule of wages consistent with the skill acquired.Apprentices are paid. Pay increases are not required, but IRAPs must make clear what wages will be paid and under what circumstances the pay will increase.

On-the-Job Training

Requires a minimum of 2,000 hours (or one year) for time-based and hybrid programs. RAPs can also be competency-based.No minimum time requirement and may be shorter than one year. Structured work experiences must be competency-based.

Related Instruction

A minimum of 144 hours of Related Training and Instruction (RTI) is recommended for each year of the RAP.Industry sets the standard and defines the parameters for the Related Instruction (RI) component of the program


A one-to-one ratio is highly recommended; however, RAP sponsors can request an expanded ratio based on their occupational needs.No set ratio of mentors to apprentices; however, programs must provide apprentices structured mentorship opportunities throughout the duration of the apprenticeship that involves ongoing, focused supervision and training by experienced instructors and employees. 


Certificate of Completion from DOL or the DOL recognized State Apprenticeship Agency conveys occupational proficiency and is considered a credential that counts positively towards the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Credential Attainment Rate.IRAPs results in at least one industry-recognized credential issued during participation in or upon program completion. The credential would also count positively towards the WIOA Credential Attainment Rate.