Apprenticeship glossary of terms

Here are some of the terms you'll need to know when participating in the apprentice program.

Commonly-used terms

Apprentice: a person who is employed to learn an occupation or profession and is registered with a sponsor in an approved apprenticeship program

Apprenticeable occupation: a skilled trade or craft profession that requires special abilities and has been recognized by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), Office of Apprenticeship, Training, Employer, and Labor Services, and the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD)

Apprenticeship committee: an entity approved to provide apprenticeship and training services for employers and employees

Apprenticeship program: a plan for administering an apprenticeship agreement

  • The plan must contain all terms and conditions for the qualification, recruitment, selection, employment and training of apprentices, including the requirement for a written apprenticeship agreement

Approved: your plan has been accepted by the Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Standards (DAS)

CFR: The Code of Federal Regulations, CFR 29-29 and CFR 229-30.

Cancellation: the termination of the registration or approval status of a program by the supervisor or sponsor. This could also mean the termination of an apprenticeship agreement by the apprentice, supervisor, or sponsor.

Certificate of completion: an award, certificate or diploma showing the successful completion of the apprenticeship

Certification: Written approval by DAS of:

  • a set of apprenticeship standards established by a program sponsor that follow the standards established by DAS
  • an individual as eligible for probationary employment as an apprentice under a registered apprenticeship program

Employer: Any person or organization employing an apprentice whether or not such person or organization has an apprenticeship agreement with the apprentice

  • "Employer" includes both union and open shop employers

Individual agreement: A written agreement between an apprentice and/or trainee and either the apprentice's employer or an apprenticeship committee acting as agent for the employer

Industry-wide standards: The current, acceptable practices and technological advancements that are being used in the different trades

Joint: a program that is jointly sponsored by a group of employers and a labor organization with a collective bargaining agreement. It is directed by employer and employee representatives from an apprenticeship and training committee composed equally from management and labor

Non-joint open shop program: indicates a program where there is no labor organization or collective bargaining agreement. It is sponsored by an employer or an employer association and administered by an apprenticeship committee composed equally from employer and employee representatives

Journey level: an individual who has sufficient skills and knowledge of a trade, craft, or occupation, either through formal apprenticeship training or through practical on-the-job work experience, that is qualified to perform the work of the trade, craft, or occupation

  • Must be recognized by a state or federal registration agency and/or an industry as being
  • Practical experience must be equal to or greater than the term of apprenticeship.
  • Journeypersons in licensed trades will not be counted toward the ratio unless properly licensed pursuant to the relevant Massachusetts statutes
  • An unlicensed journeyperson does not count as an apprentice toward the job site ratio unless registered with DAS

On-the-job training program: a 6- to 24-month training program that does not have a related technical instruction component

Petitions, requests, and correspondence: any written business brought before DAS. For example:

  • requests for new committees
  • requests for revisions to the standards
  • appeals

Plant: a program for a single location or a group of locations owned by the sponsor

Prevailing wage: a wage rate set by the Department of Labor Standards (DLS) that applies to workers on public construction projects and other public works contracts


  • Initial: The initial period following the apprentice's acceptance into the program
    • this period is limited in time
    • the apprentice's appeal rights are impaired
  • Disciplinary: A time assessed when the apprentice's progress is not satisfactory. During this time the program sponsor may:
    • withhold periodic wage advancements
    • suspend or cancel the apprenticeship agreement
    • take further disciplinary action
    • a disciplinary probation may only be assessed after the initial probation is completed
    • during the disciplinary probation, the apprentice has the right to file an appeal of the committee's action with the DAS

Related technical instruction: Instruction approved by the DAS and the program sponsor and taught by an approved instructor

  • Instructors must be competent in their trade or occupation
  • The instructional content must be reasonably consistent with the latest trade practices, improvements, and technical advances
  • A sponsor must review related technical instruction every year to make sure that it is relevant and current
  • A minimum of 150 hours is required per year

Sponsor: Any person, firm, association, committee, or organization operating an approved apprenticeship and training program

Standards: A written agreement containing plans for operation and administration of the apprenticeship program and all terms and conditions for the qualifications, recruitment, selection, employment, and training of apprentices

Supervision: The necessary education, assistance, and control provided by one or more journey-level employees who is on the same job site at least 75% of each working day

Suspension: Temporarily stopping and apprentice or sponsor from working

  • During a suspension an apprentice agreement is not valid

Trade: Any apprenticeable occupation defined by the DLS and DAS

Trainee: An individual registered as an apprentice in an apprenticeship program approved by DAS

Training agreement: A written agreement between DAS and a program sponsor that contains the provisions of the apprenticeship program

Work process: A list of skills that outlines apprentice duties

  • When the apprentice reaches the level of skill specified by the work process, and has also completed the number of hours required, the apprentice will have reached the journeyperson skill level