Apprenticeships offer a structuralized learning programs which give unskilled workers the skills and knowledge they need to break into the skilled job industry. Programs are offered for many different careers. Basically, they must be structured and supervised by veteran workers and apprentices must learn all of the skills needed to become a journeyman.
Requirements for programs vary depending on the time of job training required. However apprentices learn how to accomplish all of the necessary tasks that a worker in that specific industry is expected to know how to do.
The main benefit of being an apprentice is that compensation is received during the period of training. This is something that four year degree programs do not offer. Apprentices are essentially full time workers and oftentimes receive benefit packages for health insurance and retirement funds. At the beginning of an apprenticeship program, wages are usually 50% of a full skilled craftperson’s pay or approximately minimum wage, depending on the program. Typically, apprentices have the opportunity to receive regular wage increases based on completion of specific sections of the program.
Nearly any type of occupation can be apprenticeable as long as it meets certain requirements of 2,000 hours of training per year. In addition to on the job training, apprentices must also complete 144 hours of classroom instruction for each year of one the job training. The classroom requirements are part-time and usually only one or two nights a week.
In Maryland, you will find a wide variety of different types of apprenticeable occupations. Typically, you will find them in building and construction trades such as for electrical, plumbing or HVAC work. However, there are also other types available. Another common apprenticeable industry deals with child care and early childhood education. Here are just some of the programs that are available in Maryland.
The IBEW Local 24 sponsors apprentices through a couple of different electrical apprenticeship programs. They serve the Baltimore area and offer a multitude of benefits to apprentices who are accepted into their program including family health care, pensions and a 401K. Additionally, the required classroom instruction will be free and apprentices are compensated for their work. To be eligible for these programs, applicants must pas an aptitude test, which requires a testing fee of $25.
Their five year electrical apprenticeship requires 8000 hours of on-the-job-training and 1050 hours of classroom instruction. Apprentices work for union-signed contractors and will receive payment based a certain percentage of a journeyman’s salary. Pay increases are offered at regular intervals based on levels of program completion and apprentices are required to join the union and pay union dues.
Another program offered through this union is a three year telecommunications installer/technician apprenticeship. This program is very similar and only varies by the amount of training hours required. To complete this one, you are required to work 4800 hours in training and complete 480 hours of classroom instruction.
Plumbers and Gas Fitters
The Plumbers and Gasfitters Local Union 5 also offers a variety of opportunities to gain life skills while getting paid. This program is based in Landover, Maryland. The program offers apprentices all of the knowledge they need to be plumbers in any area throughout the country. Apprentices work directly with an experienced journeyman plumber installing and serving plumbing systems. Compensation is received immediately beginning at 47% of a full journeyman’s pay rate and increasing each year. Apprentices also receive medical benefits, a pension plan and a retirement plan.
Since this plumbing apprentice program offers so many benefits, getting into the program is highly competitive. Applicants must bring in an application in person to the Landover office. Those who are qualified are selected into the program based on test scores, personal experience scores and letters of recommendation. Those who rank the highest in these areas are accepted into the program first. Upon completion of the program, apprentices will have received all of the training and knowledge they need to have a successful plumbing career.
Community Colleges and Training Programs
There are also a number of community colleges and adult training programs in the state of Maryland. These simply offer the coursework requirements for apprenticeships; however, these programs do not offer job placement services with sponsoring employers. However, if you are waiting to be accepted as an apprentice, it does not hurt to begin the coursework portion of the program. Starting the coursework before getting a job can actually benefit you because the more experience and education you have, the more likely a sponsor will accept your application. One program like this is the HACC (Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors of Maryland Apprenticeship Training Program which is located in Severna Park, Maryland. The Chesapeake Shores Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors in Annapolis, Maryland also offers the coursework required for electrical, HVAC and plumbing trades but not necessarily the job placement you will need.