Apprenticeship is a combination of on the job learning tied with education in a formal way. Sometimes the education piece happens through a college (certificate or degree) which allows a HS4CC student to complete some or all of their related instruction while being homeschooled.
The education piece is most relevant to our community since it’s to your advantage to get working on that as soon as your teen is able. Most apprenticeship programs call their education piece “related instruction.”
Apprenticeships combine on-the-job learning with technical education at community colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship training schools, online or at the jobsite.
The work/on the job (OTJ) piece of an apprenticeship program doesn’t usually start until a student graduates from high school. There may be exceptions in your area for some occupations, but in general, your student can usually look forward to the OTJ portion once they’ve graduated.
Good to Know: Basic Types of Apprenticeship Programs
- Time-based: A time-based apprenticeship for an occupation requires a minimum of 2,000 hours (about 1 year), which includes an outline of the specific skills and work required.
- Competency-based: Competency is defined as “an observable, measurable pattern of skills, knowledge, abilities, behaviors and other characteristics that an individual needs to perform work roles or occupational functions successfully.” These programs may give you an approximate guideline for the length of time most people take to become competent, but in this structure, you’re not finished until you’re competent, and fast learners may progress towards completion (and a higher wage) at their own pace.
- Hybrid apprenticeship: combines both time-based requirements and competency-based skills. In addition to obtaining competency, the apprentices must complete a fixed set of hours.
The following section is from Apprenticeship.gov regarding related instruction:
“Apprentices receive related instruction that complements on-the-job learning. This instruction delivers the technical, workforce and academic competencies that apply to the job. It can be provided by a community college, a technical school or an apprenticeship training school—or by the business itself.
Education partners collaborate with business to develop the curriculum based on the skills and knowledge needed by apprentices. All partners work together to identify how to pay for the related instruction, including the cost to the employer and other funds that can be leveraged. One of the issues that comes up is the relationship of Related Technical Instruction to the completion of the Registered Apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship promotes learning both on the job and in the classroom. Excellence in job competency and knowledge is the overall goal.”
Cost: In many cases, the employer or apprenticeship sponsor is willing to pay the educational costs associated with the program. This is not universal, but is considered the hallmark of a reputable and well-established program. You’ll want to spend some time comparing programs and investigating costs. If the cost is not covered by the sponsor, then teens who have access to free dual enrollment may want to use those courses to complete their related instruction, especially if it’s through a local college.
Educational Foundation: If your teen’s target apprenticeship program will require technical knowledge in drafting, math, computers, or science, you can use high school as a time to meet the prerequisites or learn the basics while still in homeschool. If your student has access to the actual courses and credits that will be required, they may be able to start those now.
- Electricians: Electricians need to calculate numbers accurately when figuring out the current, voltage, and resistance requirements and limitations. Mastering OHM’s Law (physics) makes it easier to determine power loss, voltage drops, the current passing through a circuit, conductor resistance, and more. Electricians also use algebra and trigonometry.
Locate Apprenticeship Programs Near You
First stop is your local community college. If any of the sponsoring programs use that community college for related instruction, there will be someone at the college that can direct you in the right direction.
- This sample is from a community college in North Carolina. It lists all of the apprenticeship options in the community as well as the education required. Best part? Teens in that community can start the classes for free through their dual enrollment program. https://www.davidsondavie.edu/apprenticeship
No luck with the local college? The U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship website takes a bit of navigating, but should help you locate some of the local programs.
Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation
We can’t talk about apprenticeship without talking about Mike Rowe! The Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation has a mission to “help close the skills gap by challenging the stigmas and stereotypes that discourage people from pursuing the millions of available jobs and redefining the definitions of a good education and a good job.” Beyond offering thousands of dollars in scholarships, they support education and advancement of the trades. The website has a ton of fantastic resources! Highly recommend!