There’s a lot to learn about apprenticeships and you probably have questions. Below are some of the questions we hear the most. Still need help? Contact us for more information.

General Questions

What is apprenticeship?2020-03-25T18:25:51+00:00

Apprenticeship programs are a great way to earn while you learn. They provide a mix of paid on-the-job training and classroom instruction that prepares you for a career while gaining experience.

What is the difference between an apprenticeship and an internship?2020-03-25T18:26:13+00:00

Internships are an opportunity to explore a field or occupation and can give a student invaluable experience and insight into their future career. Internships vary in length, but are typically comparatively shorter than apprenticeship programs and may or may not be paid. When a student completes their internship, they typically continue their education or seek entry level work.

Apprenticeships are a structured way to learn all of the skills required for a particular job while working under the supervision of an experienced worker. Apprentices are employees of the company they work for and are paid. Their pay increases as their skills increase and when they complete their program, they are considered a subject matter expert in their job, not an entry level worker.

How long are apprenticeships?2020-03-25T18:26:35+00:00

Apprenticeship programs vary in length depending on the industry or occupation but can last anywhere from 1-5 years.

What programs are currently in high-growth industries?2020-03-25T18:27:08+00:00

Many high-growth industries have registered apprenticeship programs including construction, manufacturing, information technology, and healthcare.


What are the age requirements for apprentices?2020-03-25T18:36:28+00:00

Each industry establishes its own minimum age requirement, but in general you must be at least 18 years old.

Are there any programs that accept people under the age of 18?2020-03-25T18:36:56+00:00

It depends on the program and the industry. Some apprenticeship programs accept applications from 17 year olds as long as they will be 18 when on-the-job training begins. Usually, these rules are there to protect everyone’s safety on the worksite.

Where are apprenticeship programs located?2020-03-25T18:37:47+00:00

Apprenticeship programs can be found across Oregon. Most of the programs are in the Portland metro area. Visit the apprenticeship locator page to find programs near you.

How do I find apprenticeship programs?2020-04-27T21:03:18+00:00

You can find opportunities by clicking HERE. Staff at WorkSource Oregon centers are also a great resource to help you identify an apprenticeship program that may be a good fit for you, or you can talk to your local community college or a career counselor.

How do I apply for a program?2020-04-27T21:08:32+00:00

Each apprenticeship program has a different application process and accepts applications at different times. Visit the website of the apprenticeship program you are interested in to learn more or call the program to find out more about when they accept applications and what makes a successful applicant. You can find open programs HERE.

In general, the apprenticeship committee reviews applications to make sure you meet the minimum qualifications for the program. If you’re qualified, your application is ranked either by a test, an interview, or an evaluation of past experience and education. You will be placed on a qualified list, called a “pool of eligibles” in the order of their ranking. If you do not meet the minimum qualifications or if your application has a low ranking, contact the committee to find out what you can do to improve your chances and try again.

Employers use the pool to fill apprenticeship vacancies as they become available. Some committees skip this step and allow direct entry into the program under certain circumstances. Information about a committee’s selection method is often explained on their program website.

How long do I have to wait to be an apprentice?2020-03-25T18:43:36+00:00

Some apprenticeship programs, especially in the construction industry, may have a waiting period before you’re placed into on-the-job training. The waiting period, from when you apply to when you start varies by occupation.

It might be two weeks or two years. Applying for apprenticeship programs can be a competitive process and it’s not unusual for people to apply more than once. You can get more information by calling the program you’re applying for.

Does a criminal record disqualify me from being an apprentice?2020-03-25T18:45:30+00:00

Some programs are able to accept applicants with legal histories while others are not. The type of work an industry or business performs may prohibit them from employing individuals with criminal records. Contact the program directly to learn more.

Will I be required to take a drug test to be considered for an apprenticeship?2021-04-05T20:42:45+00:00

Most likely, yes. Most apprenticeship programs will require a drug screening at the end of the application process when the apprenticeship position is offered to you. Although marijuana is legal in Oregon, it is still federally regulated and not allowed in construction. You won’t pass the drug test if marijuana is found during the screening.

What is the difference between union and non-union/open shop apprenticeship programs?2021-03-24T19:07:25+00:00

All registered apprenticeship programs have standards approved by the Oregon State Apprenticeship and Training Council (OSATC). In addition to this, union programs are regulated to union standards in regards to pay, medical/health/welfare benefits, whereas these items are employer specific with non-union or open shop programs.

If I have an apprenticeship in another state, can I transfer to an apprenticeship in Oregon?2021-03-24T19:07:51+00:00

Yes, it is possible to transfer from one state to another, but you will need to contact the program you are looking to apply to for more information.

Apprenticeship Applications

What do I need to know about building a strong application packet?2021-04-28T17:53:10+00:00

Apprenticeship programs can be competitive, and there’s a lot to know about building a strong application to help you stand out. Get started by exploring our application packet guidelines HERE.

What should I do if I have a poor driving record? Will this affect my chances of getting an apprenticeship?2021-03-24T21:16:15+00:00

First, you should communicate with the hiring manager about your driving record and let them know the steps you are taking to correct the issue, or the time you will need before your ID is back in good standing. If the role you’re interested in requires driving, you may need to wait until you have your license reinstated to be considered.

What experience is typically required in writing, reading, and mathematics? How do I ensure specific requirements are fulfilled?2021-04-05T20:43:47+00:00

You may be required to submit transcripts showing completion of high school/college algebra with a C or better, OR a qualifying math placement test score, OR take a math test as part of the application process. The requirements of every occupation will vary, completion of classes like Basic Math, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, or Trade Math may be required. Typically you’ll also be required to have basic reading, oral, and written communication skills.

Where should I go to take my math placement test?2021-03-24T21:16:15+00:00

Community colleges typically offer math placement testing and you can often use their website to sign up online. Contact your local community college for more information.

If I don’t meet application requirements in writing, math, and reading, how should I fulfill these requirements?2021-03-24T21:16:15+00:00

Taking classes at a community college or finding a tutor are both great ways to improve your skills. Research schools in your area to learn what’s available.

If proof of work experience is required for my application, how should I provide this document?2021-03-24T21:16:15+00:00

Your previous employer will need to complete a document on their company letterhead that details the amount of time you worked with them and the types of tasks you performed.

What is a Workkeys Assessment and do I need to complete it for my application?2021-04-05T20:44:40+00:00

A Workkeys Assessment is a skills assessment test used to evaluate commonly required skills in apprenticeship. Skills that are evaluated include Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents. A Workkeys Assessment requirement will vary depending on the role. Contact the specific apprenticeship program to find out if a Workkeys Assessment is required.

Do I need to complete a Pre-Apprenticeship before applying for an apprenticeship?2021-03-24T21:16:15+00:00

In most cases, you do not need to complete a Pre-Apprenticeship before an apprenticeship. Pre-Apprenticeship can be a helpful way to gain experience in the construction industry if you need it. They can also be a way to gain experience if you’re under 18 years of age. Completing a Pre-Apprenticeship demonstrates initiative and interest in your chosen career path and can help you stand out when applying for competitive apprenticeship roles. Learn more about Pre-Apprenticeship here.

Are there any Veterans benefits I should know about for my application?2021-03-24T21:16:15+00:00

It’s possible that having a Veteran status can help you earn additional points on your application. It’s also possible that a Veteran status can grant direct entry to apprenticeship. Contact the specific apprenticeship program to find out about benefits for a specific role. Learn more about Veterans benefits here.

Am I required to complete any safety training for my application?2021-04-05T20:45:32+00:00

Safety training is typically not required but you could be awarded additional points for having relevant safety certifications (e.g., First Aid/CPR certification).

What are the best ways to gain experience and boost my resume?2021-03-24T21:16:15+00:00

Any experience you gain that’s relevant to the occupation will improve your chances of being hired. Whether it’s through volunteer work, home projects, or paid experiences, it’s a great way to get your foot in the door. Research organizations in your area that are related to the type of apprenticeship you’re looking for. Contact nonprofits or community organizations to see how you can help.

What are JATC standards and how can I find out specific standards required for my role?2021-03-24T22:02:55+00:00

Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) standards are the specific guidelines that must be followed to ensure approval and completion of a registered apprenticeship program. Similar to how colleges and universities require a certain amount of credits to graduate, the JATC standards outline qualifications an apprentice must meet in order to complete their apprenticeship. They may include the Term of Apprenticeship, Apprentice Wages and Progression, Work Processes, Related/Supplemental Instruction, and more. Learn more about JATC standards by role here.

What should I do if my application for apprenticeship isn’t accepted?2021-04-05T20:46:15+00:00

If you don’t hear back about why you weren’t hired, try following up with the committee administrator and asking if they would be willing to provide any feedback on your application. If you need more experience, find out if there are organizations in your area that need volunteers or explore Pre-Apprenticeships. If your interview skills need work, practice the questions from the interview with a friend or family member until you’re confident in your responses. If you apply and qualify you may be added to a ranked list and hired at a later date. Timing is important – just because it didn’t work out the first time doesn’t mean it won’t work out later. Apprenticeship programs can be competitive, so don’t get discouraged if your application isn’t accepted the first time around.


What are the benefits for my company?2020-04-27T21:09:57+00:00

Apprenticeship programs help businesses develop highly-skilled employees and create hiring pipelines. Apprenticeship programs also reduce staff turnover rates, increase productivity, and lower the cost of recruitment. Learn more about the benefits of Registered Apprenticeship for business HERE.

How do I create an apprenticeship program?2020-04-27T21:13:05+00:00

You can join an existing apprenticeship program or create your own. To learn more about how to create an apprenticeship program, visit our business page or reach out to an Apprenticeship Representative at the Oregon Labor and Industries.

What is a JATC?2020-03-25T18:46:36+00:00

A JATC, or Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, is a group of employers and employees that oversee a registered apprenticeship program. A JATC is composed of an equal number of employers with the ability to hire and fire, and employees that are experts in their field. The JATC is responsible for the overall oversight of the registered apprenticeship program, although they often have an administrator that handles the day operation of the program.

How much does it cost to set up a program?2020-03-25T18:46:58+00:00

Creating a registered apprenticeship program is free. Typically, the biggest cost employers see is in their own time and the time of their staff in creating and operating a registered apprenticeship program. If programs choose, they may also pay for an apprentice’s tuition and books for their related training.

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