Completing an apprenticeship may be as powerful as, if not more powerful than completing a degree at a four year university. Of course, apprenticeships usually come with far less debt and they start paying immediately. Apprentice programs are perfect for those who do not wish to attend school for four more years, yet still wish to obtain a rewarding career in a skilled trade. Additionally, there are great for individuals who wish to change careers but still need to provide for their families. In the state of Nevada, you will come across a number of apprenticeship opportunities in a variety of trades such as construction, plumbing, HVAC, mechanic, cooking, painting, plumbing, child care, welding and far more.
The details of each apprenticeship program will vary; however, most require between one and five years of on-the-job training along with some classroom instruction. Additionally, most skilled trades require apprentices to obtain a state license to work in that specific trade, which is obtained by taking a state issued exam. The majority of apprenticeship programs are offered by local unions; however, there are opportunities outside of unions. Apprenticeships are generally very competitive, especially those offered through unions because these typically come with free tuition for classroom instruction, good starting pay and excellent fringe benefits, such as health insurance and a pension. This is why when you apply for the programs you need to make sure you stand out above the rest. Here are just a few of the opportunities you will see in Nevada.
Plaster and Cement
In Reno, Nevada the Operative Plaster’s and Cement Mason’s Union local 797 offers an apprenticeship program for cement masons. The length of on-the-job training required is 5000 hours along with a minimum of 144 hours of classroom instruction per year of on-the-job training. For the on-site training, experienced workers teach apprentices how to use all of the tools needed for cement laying. Apprentices begin working on real jobs immediately and are overseen by experienced cement masons. For the classroom instruction, apprentices learn skills such as blueprint reading, basic first aid and CPR, as well as safety skills. Additionally, classes for the stamped, colored and stained concrete are offered. Apprentices start getting paid immediately with wages starting low and increasing in 6 month intervals. At the end of the apprenticeship, individuals should be prepared for a long-term job working as a cement mason and can be elevated to journeyman status.
Likewise, the same organization offers a plaster’s apprenticeship program. The training requirements are the same for this program; however apprentices learn skills such as setting up scaffolds, mixing plasters, tending fireproofing hoses, methods of plastering, blueprint reading, fireproofing and rock carving. The tasks start simple and get more complex as the apprentice progresses through the program. Apprentices start getting paid immediately starting at approximately $13 an hour. Pay increases are prescheduled in six month intervals and at the end of the apprenticeship individuals become journeyman and gain full pay.
The IBEW Local 401 in Reno, Nevada offers a training program for apprentices in electrical work. There are three specific programs: inside wireman, telecommunications installer/technician and residential wireman. The inside wireman program requires five years of on the job training and pay begins at $15 an hour. The telecommunication and residential programs require three years of training and pay begins at $11 an hour. Classroom instruction is required for each program with a minimum of 180 hours of school per year. Classes are generally offered two nights a week. Additionally, apprentices get medical benefits and a pension. To be eligible for the program, applicants must pass an aptitude test and are interviewed by a committee. If chosen, school tuition is cost free for apprentices; however, they are responsible for the cost of books and personal tools. Additionally, apprentices must join the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Union and pay applicable union dues. After the completion of any of these electrical apprentice programs, individuals will be prepared for a prosperous career in the electrical trades.
Plumbers and Pipefitters
The Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors of Nevada Education Foundation in Las Vegas accepts applicants for their apprenticeship. Apprentices are required to complete four years of on-the-job training. During those four years apprentices are overseen by experienced workers and they will learn all the skills required for the trade. In addition, apprentices are required to attend night classes two nights per week. Entry into the program is very competitive because of the great benefits the apprenticeship offers. Applicants admitted into the program begin earning wages immediately and start at approximately $12 an hour and also receive fringe benefits such as health insurance. After the completion of the four year program, apprentices are elevated to journeyman status, gain full journeyman pay and are set for a lifetime of prosperous work.