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Sometimes, the best way to learn how to do a job is to get hands-on experience. Apprenticeships enable new workers to gain career-specific skills, train with experienced mentors and get paid while doing it. Earn-while-you-learn programs are fantastic options for high school graduates, military veterans and those pursuing higher education, as they provide a variety of training opportunities for in-demand occupations and pay good wages.

What are apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are typically 2-to-6-year programs that provide on-the-job training and employer-driven education for specific occupations. Business involvement is a key part of apprenticeship programs. Some employers choose to manage apprenticeships on their own, while others partner with labor-management and industry associations to help with operations. Apprentices receive hands-on training from experienced journeyworkers to gain the specific skills needed for the occupation. Beyond hands-on training, apprentices receive related instruction for technical and academic competencies. This instruction, provided by local colleges and institutions or by the employer, is at least 144 hours and is integrated into the training program.

What are the benefits of apprenticeships?

One attractive characteristic of apprenticeships is the pay. Instead of paying tuition—and potentially acquiring debt through student loans, apprentices are paid by their sponsoring employer. In fact, apprentices’ wages increase as they meet benchmarks based on competency or hours worked. The Florida Department of Education reports that apprentices made an average exit wage of more than $49,000 for the 2021-2022 program year. After an apprenticeship is completed, workers are set up for continued success with an average starting salary of $60,000, according to Apprenticeship Florida.

Another key benefit of apprenticeship programs is the completion certificate. The Florida Department of Education issues a nationally recognized Certificate of Apprenticeship to each graduate of a registered apprenticeship program. Additionally, many apprentices are given the opportunity to pursue industry-recognized or postsecondary credentials through their classes and related instruction, so they can continue post-secondary pursuits.

While the completion certificate and other credentials are valuable if the apprentice is searching for a new job, it is possible that the company who trained the apprentice will extend a job offer. Since apprenticeship training is highly specialized for that role, it often benefits the company to hire an apprentice rather than searching externally.

What apprenticeship options are available?

Florida currently offers 275 registered apprenticeship programs for more than 15,000 apprentices. Options are available in each of the state’s key sectors—Advanced Manufacturing, Construction, Healthcare, Information Technology, Hospitality and Trade & Logistics—as well as many other support industries. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, apprenticeships are most popular for truck drivers, construction workers, carpenters, electricians and plumbers, but they can be found for a variety of jobs, such as business administration or engineering.

Earn Up is a great place to start your apprenticeship search as you evaluate potential career pathways and training options. Apprentice Florida and CareerSource Northeast Florida are important partners that provide helpful resources. ApprenticeshipUSA is the national one-stop source for apprenticeship information, and they have a Job Finder that allows you to search by occupation or location.

Northeast Florida has many apprenticeship opportunities that vary in industry, length and style of training. As the region grows, in-demand jobs will continue to search for qualified candidates. Completing an apprenticeship program is a smart option for gaining the necessary skills, credentials and confidence needed on your pathway to success.