Completing an apprenticeship program can be as powerful as or even more powerful than getting a four year degree from a university. The main benefit of completing an apprenticeship is that apprentices get to learn their trade and gain real life work experience while earning decent wages. Additionally, apprentices typically receive free schooling which is paid for by their sponsoring employers. A large number of careers are apprenticeable today, with many of them being in the construction field. However, other careers are also apprenticable, such as early childhood education and child care. Apprenticeships provide great opportunities for individuals who wish to directly enter the workforce immediately after completing high school or even for those who are in an unskilled trade and wish to change to a skilled trade. Here are some examples of just some of the apprenticeship opportunities that are available in Wisconsin.
Plumbing and Pipe-fitting
OMS (Organization Management Services) based in Appleton, Wisconsin offers a variety of apprenticeship opportunities including Steamfitter, Plumber, Sheet Metal and Insulator. All of the programs require a five year training regimen except the insulator trade which requires just four years.
For the plumbing apprenticeship, in addition to submitting an application, applicants must also pass an assessment test which will test skills in arithmetic, algebra and reading comprehension. This test requires a fee of $15. Your score on this assessment will determine your eligibility for the apprenticeship. Those who are chosen, are required to spend 8000 hours in on the job training and are expected to work full time. Apprentices will learn their trade skills under the direct supervision of an experienced journeyman and will be paid for their training hours.
The steamfitter, sheet metal and insulator programs are all similar to the plumbing program that was already described, requiring the same testing and fee. After completing any one of these programs, apprentices will be considered journeymen in their trade of choice and will be licensed by the state of Wisconsin. This license will be recognized nationwide and allow newly promoted journeymen to practice their trade in any state.
Likewise, the Plumbers Union Local 75 located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin offers a plumbing apprenticeship that requires 5 years or 8000 hours of on the job training. Additionally, classroom instruction is required for each year of the apprenticeship. On the job, plumbing apprentices are supervised by experienced journeyman plumbers who teach the apprentices how to perform the jobs and use the tools of the trade. Apprentices will work side by side with experienced plumbers on real life jobs such as installing sewers, natural gas piping or other water supply systems. In the classroom, apprentice learn skills for drafting, blueprint reading, safety, plumbing code, as well as math, physics and chemistry skills.
Apprentices earn good wages throughout the program while they learn a new skill. At the end of the program, apprentices are prepared for a rewarding, lifelong career in plumbing. They will be elevated to journeymen status and will receive full journeymen pay. Newly elevated journeymen will also be licensed in their trade by the state of Wisconsin. Applications for this apprenticeship program are taken on the first Friday of the month at the Plumbers Local 75 building at 11175 West Parkland Avenue in Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council works to connect potential apprentices to sponsoring employers in all forms building and construction related trades such as bricklayers, ironworkers, boilermakers, carpentry, laborers, painters, roofers, sheet metal workers, and much more.
One specific apprenticeship program is for a boilermaker apprentice. Boilermakers are typically workers who perform duties in industrial plants, such as steel mills, refineries, chemical plants, paper mills and other industrial type settings. This program is requires four years of on the job training as well as classroom instruction.
Another program that the Milwaukee Building Trades Council connects potential apprentices with is an ironworker apprenticeship. Apprentices typically work on new construction, erecting steel structures, placing reinforcement bars, rigging equipment and much more. The program requires three years of training with a minimum of 6,000 hours of on the job training.
The Council also connects potential workers with a Plasterer apprentice program. This apprenticeship requires three years of on the job training, which demands no less than 4000 hours. Apprentices start earning wages immediately and must also attend classroom courses for a total of 400 hours, which will be paid for by the employer. Apprentices who are chosen to participate in this program will learn all of the skills needed to be a successful plasterer.
The electrician apprenticeship that is available requires 8000 hours of on the job training and selected apprentices will work side by side with experienced journeymen on real projects such as residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Classroom instruction consisting of approximately 1100 hours throughout the five years is also required. During these hours, apprentices learn the theory behind what they do in the field.
Salary Information – Apprenticeship in Wisconsin
The apprentice salaries in Wisconsin 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.
Plumbers/Pipe fitters – earn an average of $55,450 annually.
Electricians – the average Electrician salary in Wisconsin is $47,300 per year.
Apprenticeship Program FAQs
Is there a waiting period before I can enter apprenticeship? The waiting period depends on whether employers have jobs available. Once eligible for the program, applicants may have to wait several weeks or months depending on economic conditions and employment opportunities.
Who can I contact for information in my area? Once you find a suitable trade for yourself, the best source for apprenticeship information in your area will be your local Apprenticeship Training Representative (ATR)