Become an Apprentice
Whether you are just starting a new career or are looking for a change, an apprenticeship can help you find a well-paying job while gaining hands-on experience. Apprentices earn while they learn, reducing their need to take on debt.
Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential.
The State of Colorado recognizes several types of apprenticeships that recognize apprenticeship programs that offer high-quality earn-and-learn models. Programs outside these agencies may be high-quality, but are not partners of the state:
- US Department of Labor - Registered Apprenticeship Programs
- Colorado Community College System - Apprenticeship Programs
- Colorado Department of Higher Education - Collegiate Apprenticeship Programs
- CareerWise Colorado - Modern Youth Apprenticeship
- Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) - Licensed Occupations
- Time Commitment: Programs may range 1-6 years, depending on the occupation. Instruction can take place during the work week, or outside of work hours.
- Location: Research the locations of both the work and related instruction associated with your programs. Instruction may be offered by the employer or by an external provider (e.g. college).
- Cost: Programs may charge tuition for instruction or have costs associated with supplies. Some programs pay for all of the costs associated with training, some offer tuition reimbursement. Apprentices demonstrating need can also see if they qualify for financial aid (see below).
- Instruction Preference: Instruction may be in-person, online or a mix.
- College Credit: If you wish to pursue further education or career paths that require additional training, you may want to consider programs that offer college credit for the related instruction. Learn more about college-affiliated apprenticeships
Workforce centers can help you find an apprenticeship and identify potential resources to support your success. Financial aid may be available for qualifying apprentices for childcare, transportation, books, tuition, or other costs. Partner organizations can also be an invaluable resource for coaching, supplies, and financial aid.
- For Veterans
- Check to see if a program is registered for GI Bill® Benefits: va.gov/education If your program is not registered, you can request your program register post-hire
- For College Apprentices
- Visit your college financial aid office to determine if you qualify for support for the related instruction component of college-affiliated apprenticeships. Learn more about federal financial aid here
- For Individuals with Disabilities
- Access resources and coaching through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
- For Individuals with Financial Need
CDLE acts as the state intermediary for registered apprenticeship programs, working with the US Department of Labor, local workforce centers, and state agencies to build and maintain registered apprenticeships. CDLE also maintains the official Colorado Apprenticeship Resource Directory.
An apprenticeship is a type of employment, so as a career seeker you approach searching for apprenticeships as you would other types of jobs. Much of this information is provided within the Colorado Apprenticeship Resource Directory, on the program’s website, or through your local workforce center.
Requirements and selection procedures vary by program, but job seekers can prepare for the search by:
- Researching programs to check for programs that are currently recruiting
- Checking with the program what their selection process is (online application, resume, hiring fair, placement test, etc.)
- Ensuring that you meet any prerequisites of the program (e.g. drivers license, GED)
- Collecting evidence of prior learning or experience, if applicable (e.g. high school diploma, military experience)
- Attending any required information sessions or assessments
Registered apprenticeships are high-quality work-based learning and post secondary earn-and-learn models that meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). USDOL studies the value of registered apprenticeship to job seekers:
- $70K: Average starting salary after an apprentice completes an apprenticeship program
- 94%: Percentage of apprentices who retain employment after apprenticeship completion
- $300K+: Lifetime earning advantage of apprentice graduates compared to peers who don't participate in apprenticeship
USDOL approves and monitors programs to ensure programs meet the following quality standards:
- Earn wages, with at least one guaranteed increase
- Provide workplace experience and job-related instruction
- Provide an experienced worker/mentor in the workplace
- Meet national quality standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor
- Results in a nationally recognized credential
- Guarantee special protections under Equal Employment Opportunity in Apprenticeship
While all registered apprenticeships meet the same quality standards above, some may offer additional benefits, including:
- Additional industry certificates or credentials
- Post-secondary credit or certificates
- Tuition reimbursement
- Contact your registered apprenticeship program sponsor if you need a copy of your ETA-671 Apprenticeship Agreement
- Contact the US Department of Labor if you need assistance accessing records from a federally registered program. Cynthia McLain, Director, Office of Apprenticeship firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) if you need to access records for apprenticeships in state-licensed occupations
- Contact the Department of Corrections for records (certificate of completion, on-the-job learning or related instruction hours) associated with apprenticeships earned during incarceration: Nicole Allen, Department of Corrections, email@example.com
- Contact your college if you need to access transcripts related to apprentice instruction earned at a college