For those who are not fans of going to school for four more years only to accrue debt and sit in a classroom everyday, there is the ‘other four year degree,” which is typically referred to as an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are excellent opportunities for both employees and employers. For the employers, they can guarantee a stream of properly trained workers by doing the training themselves. For the employees, they gain a vast amount of knowledge and skills without having to pay for the education or training. Likewise, apprentices (employees) get paid to learn a new skill as opposed to four-year college students who must pay someone else to learn.
Apprenticeships come in a variety of forms. Typically, the most common types of apprenticeships are construction related, such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC, masonry, woodworking, and other related fields. However, many more trades are now being apprenticed such as child care, early childhood education and much more. Here are just some of the opportunities you can find in the state of Washington.
Seattle City Light in Seattle, Washington offers a number of electrical apprenticeship opportunities. They can be applied for at 700 5th Avenue, Suite 3200. Requirements for applicants include good math skills, knowledge of electrical theory, physical fitness necessary for the safety of the job and mechanical reasoning skills. Most positions also require a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record.
Lineworker apprentices are required to complete three year (or 6000 hour) on the job training program. Apprentices learn to work with high voltage electrical equipment in a variety of situations and weather conditions. Additionally, apprentices must also complete 144 hours of classroom instruction per year. Classes are offered just one day a week throughout the entire three year program.
The Hydroelectric Maintenance Machinist Apprenticeship requires 8000 on the job training hours. Apprentices learn how to maintain and repair all types of electrical machinery and equipment by analyzing problems and disassembling and machining parts. Apprentices are also required to attend classroom instruction at a rate of 144 hours per year. This program should require approximately four years to complete.
The Cable Splicer apprenticeship is another four year program that requires working in confined areas such as vaults and tunnels. Apprentices will learn to install and maintain switches, relays, transformers, network protectors, conductors and much more. Likwise, they will learn to maintain, terminate and splice low and high voltage power cables. School is required one night per week equating to a total of 144 classroom hours every year of the program.
This company offers more apprenticeship programs too, which are very much the same as the three that were already outlined. The others include an Electrician Constuctor which requires four years of training, a meter electrician which requires three years of training and a utility construction worker which requires 18 months of training. Each of these apprentice positions requires some type of classroom instruction that is provided. Likewise, apprentices are responsible for purchasing their own books, personal hand tools and personal safety equipment.
All of these apprentice positions comes with excellent pay with none of them starting at less than $20 per hour. Likewise, a myriad of benefits are provided such as medical, dental and vision insurance as well as retirement savings. Like regular employs, apprentices are expected to work five days per week, and eight hours per day. Each program has its own requirements; however each of them require that applicants take an aptitude test which will be part of what determines who gets the positions and who does not. Because of the excellent benefits and pay that come with these apprentice programs, gaining entry can be quite competitive. At the end of each of these programs, apprentices are elevated to journeyman status and are prepared for a life long, rewarding career in the electrical field.
The OPCMIA (Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association) Local 72 in Spokane, Washington offers an apprenticeship program that trains unskilled workers in the trade of cement masonry. Apprentices learn and experience how to perform all of the phases of concrete finishing for commercial and residential flatwork, steps, curb and gutter, decorative concrete, pacing, underlayments, overlayments and patch and repair work.
The program requires 4000 total hours of on the job training as well as 160 hours of supplemental training each year. The supplemental training is usually in the form of structured classroom learning and provides skills such as first aid, safety, blueprint reading, estimating and much more. Starting pay is approximately 60% of what an experienced journeyman would earn and regular pay increases are available at certain intervals of hours worked. Apprentices also receive health benefits and a pension plan. At the end of the program, apprentices will have completed their training and will be considered journeyman cement masons. Likewise, they are eligible to receive full journeyman pay.