Apprenticeships, on the job training, and going to a trade school are all valid paths to a career in the skilled trades. It really just depends on the path you want to choose. In this article we’ll talk about careers where apprenticeship and OTJ training is common.

Trade Careers With Apprenticeships or on the Job Training

Becoming a registered apprentice or learning on the job is a good way to make money while you learn your trade. The more experience you get, the more your paycheck will be. As an apprentice, you’ll be assigned a mentor who will teach you the in’s and outs of your trade.

Some jobs will only require you to get a moderate amount of on-the-job training, and some will require multiple years of apprenticeship.

  • Electrician: A minimum of a high school diploma or GED, along with an apprenticeship, is required for the position of electrician. You can also get electrical training at trade schools which can increase your chances of getting an entry level job.
  • Construction Laborers: Short-term job training is necessary for this entry-level construction position. You can generally find an entry-level position as a laborer in most areas of construction.
  • Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers: Apprenticeships, along with long-term on-the-job training are necessary to this trade. With the right technical and mechanical skills, job prospects should be good.
  • Sheet Metal Worker: Two routes are available for sheet metal workers. Construction, which requires an apprenticeship. And manufacturing where you’ll either go to a trade school or receive long-term on-the-job training. If you are a certified welder, and complete your apprenticeship, then job prospects should be fairly good.
  • Structural Iron and Steel Workers: A high school diploma and apprenticeship will get you into this trade.
  • Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers: With good employment history and some construction experience, you should be able to find an entry-level position in this field.
  • Roofer: Many roofers learn their skill on-the-job while others go through an apprenticeship. But, there are no specific educational requirements other than experience.
  • Construction Equipment Operators: Apprenticeships, on-the-job-training, and vocational school are all acceptable ways to learn this trade.
  • Millwright: The typical way to learn this trade is through a 4-year apprenticeship and job prospects should be plentiful.
  • HVAC Mechanics and Installers: Most HVAC employers are looking for entry level workers with at least EPA certification. Once you have your certification many employers will train you on the job. You can sometimes get EPA certified at your local trade school.
  • Painters, Construction and Maintenance: Most people learn this trade through on-the-job experience, and no formal education is required.
  • Elevator Installers and Repairers: An apprenticeship is required for this trade, and 35 states require a license, as well. Between new installations, and repairs of aging elevators, job prospects should be plentiful.
  • Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters: Apprenticeships are the norm, but some go to trade school instead. Either way, an apprenticeship is necessary.

Though truck drivers can be considered skilled tradespeople, there are no apprenticeships for this trade. To become a truck driver you normally get short-term on the job training after earning your CDL.

Benefits of Apprenticeships

There are many positive reasons to choose an apprenticeship over or to supplement going to trade school.

  • Apprenticeships last anywhere between one to six years with four years being the average.
  • Your on-the-job training is 2,000 hours yearly, and an additional 144 hours of in-classroom instruction.
  • It costs you nothing. In fact, you earn as you learn. The more you learn, the higher your paycheck.
  • Your training is so extensive that once you’ve completed the average of four years, you’re ready to begin working as a journeyman.
  • Your Department of Labor certificate is good nationwide so, no matter where you go in the United States, you’ll be able to work in your chosen profession.
  • No. College. Debt.
  • You’re almost guaranteed a job with the company you did your apprenticeship with.