What Is An Apprenticeship?

When it comes to our future, we are sometimes completely lost. There are so many avenues to choose from, particularly at a younger age. 

Do you go to college? Do you go straight to work? What about the military?

Don’t misunderstand, all of those avenues are right – it just depends on the person. However, another option to explore is the apprenticeship, which combines some of these options and aims to give you a great start for a bright future. 

The thing is, the word apprenticeship can be thrown around without being fully explained – and jargon doesn’t help any of us! 

So we’ve done the hard work for you. In this guide, you’ll find out what an apprenticeship is, who it would benefit and how they operate – with some other good things to know! 

So, What Exactly Is An Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a program that aims to give individuals the opportunity to blend industry standard learning with work experience, whilst getting paid to do it. 

Apprenticeships have a whole host of benefits like avoiding massive college student debts, becoming an expert in your chosen field after an amount of time and always earning and learning. 

Of course, apprenticeships also have their downsides like not receiving the same level of pay initially as other jobs – but we’ll get to all that later. 

Typically, you can expect an apprenticeship full program to last between 1 and 6 years – depending on the role you’re looking at. For example, if you choose engineering or a very technical role, it’s likely to last longer than customer service or hospitality management. 

Data from the Department of Labor suggests that the average salary of a newly qualified apprentice is around the 50,000 dollar mark. Not too shabby, right?

You can expect the approach of an apprenticeship to be blended between working hours, classroom hours and homework or testing hours. These are completely normal and necessary steps, as apprentices need to meet a specific standard before they can attain qualification. 

What these standards are will vary depending on the program you choose. If the role involves health and safety or public standards, you can expect the pass standards to be very strict – these might include hair, skin or even tattooing. 

There are normally two types of means testing. One is hours based and the other is competency based. Hours will simply be how many you’ve completed versus how many hours are expected at a certain time. 

Whereas, competency will solely depend on you passing tests which might be theoretical or practical. 

How Do You Get An Apprenticeship?

How Do You Get An Apprenticeship?

One of the best things to do, if you’re young enough, is to speak with your school’s career’s counselor. They will be able to advise you on who to speak with and what apprenticeship might suit you, although ultimately that will be your choice. 

If this is not possible, you should look at The Department of Labor’s website to search for available apprenticeship opportunities, along with some very helpful tips.

Other than that, you can try to look for your local American Job Center. They always have some very helpful information and guidance from their staff to try and assist you in your future choices. 

Another idea is to utilize social media or physically go to places that might offer apprenticeships. It’s important that the place you go to though has a nationally registered and recognized apprenticeship program – and it’s well within their interest to do so! 

You could also choose to speak with family or friends for advice. Remember, your family has likely been in your shoes before – and they will have plenty of life experience that you can use to inform your choices. 

What Are The Pros Of An Apprenticeship?

There are many pros to opting for an apprenticeship program which include: 

  • No college debts to carry on and contend with when you’re earning 
  • You will attain a recognized qualification 
  • You become an expert in your field 
  • You earn while you learn 
  • You might be able to attain a college degree without the fees that come with it
  • You will have a mentor that can help you break through into the industry after you qualify 
  • Skills that you learn can boil over into your home life which can be useful! 

What About The Cons?

There will always be cons to anything like this, such as:

  • Lower pay than other jobs 
  • You don’t get the college experience 
  • You’re stuck to that industry 
  • Work can often get monotonous 
  • It can sometimes be difficult to get employed after qualification 
  • They can be very competitive to get 

Who Might Benefit From An Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships aren’t for everyone. If you’re looking to get into a career and don’t want the hassle and the debts of going to college – then an apprenticeship might be for you! 

The thing is, college isn’t for everyone either. Some people don’t have the motivation or care of one or two subjects to spend thousands of dollars going to study them.

More to this, some people also don’t want to move too far from home and would rather earn money to save up for a home to move out as soon as possible.

It will all come down to you as a person, with your preferences and goals in life. You just gotta ask yourself what you’d prefer to do! 


Apprenticeships have so many positive aspects but they won’t be the right choice for all of us, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The alternatives are still there like college, work or the military. 

However, if you’re stuck for choice and need more advice – consider looking online and speaking with some industry experts for their thoughts and guidance. Ask family members or friends if they have gone through an apprenticeship.

See how they fared when they did it! Ultimately, the choice to do an apprenticeship is entirely yours!

Good luck!


Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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