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Apprenticeship - Your Ticket To A New Career?

The concept of apprenticeships can be traced back to the middle ages.  It was very common for a young person to study under a craftsman for many years to learn a trade.  The arrangement would many times include the apprentice actually living with the master tradesman and being provided housing and food as part of the on the job training.  Apprenticeships are still around today and for many provide the perfect opportunity to inexpensively learn a trade.

Many of you may know that I have a prosthetic eye as a result of a childhood accident.  Since I was eighteen I have regularly worked with several occularists on the care and maintenance of my artificial eye.  There is no education requirement or school that one can attend to become an occularist.  The only way to learn this medical skill is through an apprenticeship.  My occularist has a five year program that he runs to train young people that want to get into this profession.  A bit odd, but the makers of artificial eyes do very well and don’t even have to go to college to get into this medical field.

In recent weeks, I have become very interested in this topic and frankly surprised to learn how many professions are out there that have an apprenticeship path.  My own father dropped out of high school at the age of 16 and went into an apprenticeship program to become an electrician in Chicago.  He made a very good living as a union electrician without even finishing high school.

The most rich resource I found on the Internet was the U.S. Department of Labor website. 

What types of jobs are available through Registered Apprenticeship?

The U.S. Department Of Labor Registered Apprenticeship program offers access to 1,000 career areas, including the following top occupations:

  • Able seaman

  • Carpenter

  • Chef

  • Child care development specialist

  • Construction craft laborer

  • Dental assistant

  • Electrician

  • Elevator constructor

  • Fire medic

  • Law enforcement agent

  • Over-the-road truck driver

  • Pipefitter

Employers can benefit from a variety of government incentives by participating in these federally sanctioned programs.  While this is not the only place to look for an apprenticeship, it would be one of the best places to start your search.

Using Google To Find All The Apprenticeship Opportunities In Your Area

A search of the word apprenticeship and your state (e.g. IL apprenticeship) will bring up dozens of results to look into. 

State Departments Of Labor

Most states have an officially designated office that is the equivalent of the U.S. Deparment of Labor.  Checking directly with your state is another great place to continue your search.

Contact Your Local Union

Many apprenticeship programs are administered by local unions.  Contact the administrative offices of the trade you are interested in to learn of any available apprenticeship opportunities.

Apprenticeships vs. Internships

Apprenticeships are much different than internships.  An apprenticeship is usually for several years, compared to an internship which is typically several months (or maybe even just a few weeks).  Most internships do not provide any compensation, while apprenticeships typically offer a minimal living wage that can be increased as the apprentice reaches various milestones.

Have you personally benefited from an apprenticeship program?  Please share your story below in the comments section.

Helping you make the most of God’s money!

James L. Paris
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