Overview of apprenticeship for workers

The apprentice training program helps workers receive company paid on-the-job training (OJT) along with classroom instruction.

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The steps to become an apprentice

To become an apprentice we suggest you visit your local career center and work with job counselors who can help you along with your job search.You can find a list of career centers. You may also contact a local union and find out when they are taking applications.

The following are the 4 critical steps you need to take to become an apprentice:

  1. Contact a Career Center near you, or contact the nearest union. The Career Center can help with your job search working with job counselors. You can also contact your local union to see if they are accepting applications.
  2. Once you have found an employer (open shop) or a Union willing to sponsor your apprenticeship, you are ready to start. If the sponsor does not have a registered apprenticeship, they will contact DAS.
  3. Complete your training through your sponsor.
  4. Once your training is completed DAS will issue a certificate of completion.

That is it!!

On-the-job training

Through the apprentice training program, an individual receives company paid on-the-job training (OJT) along with related classroom instruction. A trained journeyworker (mentor) supervises the OJT. This mentor follows a written work process specific to the occupation. Workers are paid wages and must have a contract.

DAS does not conduct training or place apprentices in jobs. The Division of Apprentice Standards (DAS) monitors all registered apprentice training programs across the Commonwealth. DAS also ensures that apprentices are laboring in safe working environments, are being paid, and are receiving OJT as well as related education classes. The DAS Apprentice Handbook gives you an overview of apprenticeship history and requirements.

The majority of apprentices work in construction trades as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, laborers, iron workers, sheet metal workers, etc. Others include dispensing opticians, police officers, and firefighters. These programs can last from 2 to 5 years, during which time apprentices are required to have an annual renewable apprentice ID card to show progress in the program.

Many apprentices are required to be registered with other agencies in the Commonwealth. All dispensing opticians are required to complete a 3 to 5-year apprenticeship. They must also pass an ABO, NCLE, and practical exam. Many construction occupations such as electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers, pipefitters, HVAC technicians, and elevator constructors are licensed as well.

There are two ways to enter apprenticeship. All sponsors follow the same policies regarding related instruction, work process, wage progression, workplace safety, and evaluation.

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Single employer apprentice programs

If a single employer hires you and they have an apprentice program, you may become registered in their program. But, you must have the job first. Single employer programs usually have fewer apprentice opportunities than multi-employer programs. If you are hired by an employer that does not have a program and would like to become registered, the employer may contact the DAS by calling (617) 626-5409 or the Compliance Officers to schedule an appointment.

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Multi-employer apprentice sponsors

There are 26 multi-employer apprentice sponsors in construction representing thousands of employers. Union sponsors and ABC/MAP provide minimum entry requirements, application periods and contact information for these programs. Because they have 5 or more apprentices they are required to conduct a structured hiring process which includes an application and interview. If you are successful in the process and selected to join their program, you will be placed on a list for two years. When job openings become available you will be sent out to work with one of their contractors.

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The G.I. Bill and apprenticeship

Veterans, Reservists, and National Guard members, who are employed as registered apprentices, may be eligible to collect G.I. Bill payments in addition to their regular full-time wages. When apprentices collect their military benefits; employers possess a powerful recruiting and retention tool, employees can offset their living expenses while working toward journeyman status, and the state benefits from the influx of federal military benefit dollars into our local economy.

More information

The Division of Apprentice Standards is the office of record for registered apprentices across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We are not a job-placement facility, and we do not perform any direct training. You should visit your local career center and work with job counselors who can help you along with your job search. You may also contact a local union in your area and find out when they are taking applications, or check your local newspaper classified section, as well as access online job resources.

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