HOW CAN I BECOME AN APPRENTICE?
Apprenticeships for the pipe trades, which include Pipefitter, Welder, Plumber, Sprinkler Fitter and Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R) Service Technician, date back to 1936 with the first nationally registered joint apprenticeship program.
An apprenticeship is a serious and vigorous undertaking, as apprentices in the most prominent nation-wide program with the United Association, must work the same hours as journey workers, plus attend classes. This can be a highly rewarding career path for an individual who is motivated to learn the piping trade and become an active member within a proud and noble industry.
When an applicant is accepted into the apprenticeship program, it is similar to receiving a full-ride, tuition-free scholarship. Classroom instruction is a prominent part of a registered apprenticeship program, which has been assessed by the American Council on Education and other organizations and colleges, so that an apprentice can complete an associate of arts or associate of science degree simultaneously with journey-level credentials in the craft of their choice.
Pros of an APPRENTICESHIP:
The best way into a construction trade is through a certified, reputable, registered apprenticeship. Besides a little or no-cost education (which means ZERO DEBT for the apprentice), apprenticeships offer a look into the day-to-day work you’ll be doing in your trade. Below is a list of just a few of the numerous benefits of training through an apprenticeship:
- Learn the trade while you earn a living: Apprenticeships enable you to start working and earn a decent, living wage while you learn key skills and gain the qualifications that future employers want. As your skills progress, so will your pay. This not only helps out your bank account, but also helps keep you actively engaged in your apprenticeship.
- Never get bored: Because your education doesn't end after your apprenticeship, you’ll continually have the opportunity to learn new and exciting skills and advance your career. That also means your pay scale will most likely increase as well. The more knowledge you have, the better the paycheck.
- Support: One of the largest advantages of getting the qualifications you need in your field, while being able to put the skills you learn into practice at the same time, is that someone will always be on-hand to show you how the process is done. If you have any questions about techniques, terminology or anything related to the industry, you can instantly ask your mentors, co-workers or managers.
That support doesn't end once you're off the job site, either. You’ll be able to work with the men and women in your trade to negotiate contracts with your employers to determine the terms of employment including pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies and much more.
- Varied learning, lots of experience: Apprenticeships offer a varied learning experience. You won’t have to spend all of your days studying; most of the time you’ll be working in the field. You will also have classroom time, but your days will not be spent staring at four walls and a white board.
- Confidence: Being new to any job is stressful and, on your first day, it’s hard to feel confident in your skills and ability. In an apprenticeship, everyone is on the same page. Whether you're on a jobsite or in the classroom, everyone understands that you’re there to learn. You can feel confident and ready for your apprenticeship as long as you’re prepared to work hard and learn.
- Good career prospects: Your apprenticeship will be very rewarding, even if at times it may seem demanding. Once you have finished your apprenticeship, you'll have a world of options open to you. Being able to show that you've got industry experience plus qualifications will give you a huge advantage in your trade.