Four year degrees are not for everyone. So what do you do if university life is not for you but you still want a rewarding career in a field that you love? Or what if you have a family to provide for and you have to work? That is what apprenticeships are for. In Massachusetts you will find a variety of different opportunities to gain the skills you need to obtain a rewarding career while also getting paid for your training. Often, the bulk of the apprenticeships programs are in the construction field and related industries with the majority of these apprenticeships being offered by local unions. However, there are also opportunities in other fields such as in child care and early childhood education. Likewise, there are programs that cater to more diverse type of employment like violin-making or organic farming. There are literally hundreds of careers that are apprenticeable, but here are just a few of the opportunities you will find for apprenticeships in Massachusetts.
The Hoisting and Portable Engineers Local 4 offers an apprenticeship and training program for potential workers to learn the necessary skills needed to become trained operating engineers. Apprentices will be overseen by veteran workers and will learn everything they need to know to complete tasks on their own. Outside classroom experience is also required including OSHA safety courses and training. Program training is offered in Canton, Massachusetts and apprentices are granted access to present day equipment such as cranes, dozers, and excavators. Apprentices will also learn how to weld and use pneumatic, hydraulic and electric power tools. Completion of the program awards apprentices all of the skills and knowledge needing to obtain a rewarding career in the industry.
While this apprenticeship does not provide you with a guaranteed job at the end of the program it does, however, provide the apprentice with the skills and knowledge that it takes to do organic farming. Apprentices learn how to accomplish farming tasks while using organic practices and also complete related maintenance tasks and any other farm chore that may be necessary. Compensation varies depending on the sponsoring employer. Pay rates range from $200 to $600 per week and many programs offer a vegetable share.
The Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local Union #6 offers an apprenticeship training program for unskilled workers to learn the trade. Apprentices are assigned employment with a union contractor and learn skills and knowledge from an experienced journeyman. The program includes both on the job training and classroom instruction. Acceptance into the program comes with fringe benefits and compensation, which starts at 50% of a journeyman’s full pay rate. With experience and program achievement, apprentices get the opportunity to earn higher wages. By the end of the program, apprentices will have gained the knowledge and experience they will need for a career in the insulation industry.
The Worcester Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program, which is offered through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 96 offers electrical apprenticeship programs for aspiring workers. Apprentices are required to attend school two nights a week, which equates to 160 hours per year as well as perform community service each year. For their inside journeyman-wireman program, 8000 hours of on-the job training plus five years of schooling and community service is required to complete the program. Additionally, apprentices must pass the Massachusetts Journeyman Electrician exam in order to obtain a license. The program provides the apprentice with the knowledge and experience to do electrical wiring in commercial, industrial and residential buildings.
Another program offered is for voice-data-video technicians. This program teaching the necessary skills and knowledge required for communications, security, computer and video systems. The program requires three years of classroom instruction as well as community service and 8000 hours of on the job training.
An application must be completed to apply for these apprenticeship opportunities. Additionally, an aptitude test administered by the IBEW must be passed and is used to rank applicants for acceptance.
Sheet Metal Workers
The Sheet Metal Workers Local Union #17 offers a five year apprenticeship program in Boston, Massachusetts and serves the counties of Bristol, Essex, Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth and Fall River. During the training, apprentices gain knowledge and skills in safety, drafting, sheet metal layout, welding, blue print reading, service work, C.A.D residential heating, adjusting and balancing of air and water systems and much more. In addition to on the job training, apprentices must complete an associates program, which takes approximately one and a half years, in the field at Wentworth Institute, where apprentices are given a 33% discount on tuition rates. At the end of the program, apprentices will have obtained all of the experience and knowledge they need to have a satisfying career in the field.
Salary Information – Apprenticeship in Massachusetts
The apprentice salaries in Massachusetts will differ from occupation to occupation. An Electrician’s salary will vary widely from a Carpenter’s salary simply because they are two completely different occupations. Salaries may also differ depending on other important factors such as city, education, experience, certification and additional skills. Below are some of the apprenticeship occupations and a possible average salary:
Engineers – $73,470 per year
Organic Farmers – $56,240 per year
Contractors – $44,950 per year
Electricians – $49,930 per year
Sheet Metal Worker – $41,750 per year
Apprenticeship Program FAQs
What are the requirements? Apprentices must be at least 18 years old and in good health. All apprentices must pass an alcohol and drug test. A high school diploma or GED is preferred. An applicant may also provide proof of satisfactory completion of a pre-job preparatory course such as hours of experience or 6 months on-the-job training.
How long does an apprenticeship last? A typical apprenticeship lasts 48 months from start to finish. Apprentices attend one week of training every three months or sixteen sessions.
Can a high school senior apply? High school seniors of age 17 or older may apply with a letter from their school stating that they are eligible to graduate within three months. Applicants must be 18 before they can start work.