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Apprenticeships — General Information

Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training and related instruction in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation. Union Apprenticeship programs are typically governed by a joint apprenticeship committee (JATC) that is comprised of members from the Union and the signatory contractors.  Apprentices work for the signatory contractors during the day and attend classes at night; or some other configuration of work/education. Once apprentices have learned the practical and technical aspects of the work, they graduate to journeyman status.

  • Become skilled in a trade, and get paid to do it - "Earn While You Learn!"

  • Paid "scholarship" - no-cost or low-cost supervised training

  • Full-time employment with career placement built in

  • Progressively increasing wage with excellent benefits

  • Nationally recognized credential - Completion of Apprenticeship Certificate

  • Improved job security and standard of living

  • Opportunity for college credit and/or associate degree (some apprenticeship classes in some instances are eligible for college credit)

  • Pride and Dignity

Apprenticeship better than college for some

EARN WHILE YOU LEARN: Apprenticeship terms are generally 3-5 years in duration and apprentices begin their work earning a set percentage of the journeyperson's negotiated wage, with benefits. An apprentice's pay per hour increases as the worker progresses through the period of apprenticeship.


You may qualify for the GI Bill including --

  • The Montgomery GI Bills
  • Veterans Educational Assistance Program
  • Post 9/11 Bill to Dependents
  • The Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance
  • The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (CAA and MyCAA)
  • Military Tuition Assistance
  • ... and more

Veterans should connect with Helmets to Hardhats for more information.


Individual unions have specific eligibility and admission requirements for their apprenticeship programs. Generally, to be eligible, an applicant must be at least age 18; able to perform the work of the trade; and should be able to present verification of a high school diploma or GED certificate. An applicant may also be required to demonstrate the ability to read, write and speak English in order to comprehend instruction in related training classes and ensure safety on the job.

Selection, employment and acceptance into the apprenticeship program is the responsibility of each union's apprenticeship committee/governing board and is done without discrimination or bias based on race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or marital status. Journeyman and craftsman are terms used to identify levels of competency, not gender.

The Apprentice programs are governed by the regulations of the United States Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

Apprenticeships — Information about Specific Unions

Each union has its own specific criteria for selection, length of apprenticeship, and so forth. For links to information about those specific unions please access this site's trades directory, and the specific union link to find out more information. In many areas apprenticeships are such coveted opportunities that during May of 2012, hundreds lined up, and stood in line up to a week's time in order to obtain an application for a union apprenticeship. (Read: In Queens, Hundreds Camp Out for Union Apprenticeships. In ....) In the CRICBT area the competition is not that intense and many unions accept applications throughout the year. It is best to investigate the specific union you might be interested in becoming a part of -- most unions have information linked on their website. Specific information from other unions will be available from the union's office.

Trades Directory

The American Labor Movement has consistently demonstrated its devotion to the public interest. It is, and has been, good for all America." ~ John F. Kennedy

Contact information for the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Building Trades Council may be found on the CRICBT Council's contact page.
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