Registered Apprenticeship programs take the basic apprenticeship model of paid on-the-job training and educational instruction and provide additional rigor, standards, and quality. Registered Apprenticeships meet quality standards for registration, with the U.S. Department of Labor or federally recognized State Apprenticeship Agencies, around five core components:
- Employer involvement. The employer hires and trains the apprentice at the workplace, using a curriculum and standards customized to the employer’s work processes.
- Structured on-the-job learning. The apprentice learns by doing, with support from their supervisor or other workplace mentor.
- Related instruction. Courses, typically held in a classroom, or increasingly online, complement the applied work experience.
- Rewards for skills gains. Apprentices earn wages from day one. The more they learn, the more they earn.
- National occupational credential. Apprentices receive a nationally recognized credential or certificate once they complete the program.
Registered apprenticeship requires approximately 2,000 hours of on-the-job learning and 144 hours job-related technical instruction that results in an industry-recognized credential.
Registered Apprenticeship programs require a sponsor that is responsible for managing the apprenticeship program and assuring that it meets the criteria in the apprenticeship agreement. The sponsor can be an employer or an intermediary acting on behalf of an employer or group of employers.
Because the model is designed to keep pace with advancing technologies and innovations in training and human resource development, Registered Apprenticeship remains a leading strategy in preparing American workers to compete in a global 21st-century economy. Registered Apprenticeship provides unique opportunities for workers seeking high-skilled, high-paying jobs and helps employers create the talent pipeline needed to build and sustain a qualified workforce.
While most well-known in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, a new Registered Apprenticeship renaissance is demonstrating how these programs can be instrumental in training and developing workers in emerging industries such as health care, information technology, financial services, and hospitality.
About the National Apprenticeship System
The national system of registered apprenticeship was originally created by the National Apprenticeship Act, or Fitzgerald Act, in 1937 to develop labor standards, safeguard the welfare of apprentices, and work with states. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. The measure established national certification standards for apprenticeship programs that have opened pathways to high-quality jobs for the last 80 years.
The United States Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship, in conjunction with State Apprenticeship Agencies, is responsible for “registering apprenticeship programs that meet federal and state standards, issuing Certificates of Completion to apprentices, encouraging the development of new programs, protecting the safety of and welfare of apprentices, and assuring that all programs provide high-quality training to their apprentices.”