If you only have a high school diploma and don’t want to rack up student debt, apprenticeship programs are a great alternative to college. They allow new professionals to be taught by industry experts while gaining hands-on experience. According to the US Department of Labor, there were over 636,000 apprentices across the country in 2020.
This article aims to answer all your questions about apprenticeships. You will find out how these programs can help recent graduates, how to find apprenticeships, and why these intensive programs are worthwhile. An apprenticeship is the best way to get an entry-level job in your field.
What Is an Apprenticeship Program?
An apprenticeship program is a job training method that combines academic education and real-world experience to help people learn how to work in their field of interest. An apprenticeship training provider creates a contract with an apprentice to equip them with career-specific skills. They organize the training of apprentices.
Apprenticeship programs can run for two to five years. Most companies hire their apprentices or have hiring partners to provide career opportunities after their apprenticeship contract ends. You will usually get paid as an apprentice, and according to ZipRecruiter, the average apprentice earns $14 per hour.
To become an apprentice, you have to be at least 16 years old and no longer attending school as a full-time student. An intermediate apprenticeship is excellent for recent graduates as it requires no previous professional experience. For most tech and coding apprenticeships, you don’t need work experience, a degree, or formal qualifications.
Apprenticeship Programs vs Internships
Apprenticeship training providers offer higher compensation than internships. Most internships are unpaid or only offer a small stipend. Internships are much shorter and last for a few months, whereas apprenticeships run for a few years. Both are helpful resources that can help with your professional development.
Apprentices often earn industry-recognized certifications after their training, while interns do not. Beyond all these differences, both internships and apprenticeships can help you gain college credit and are directed at teaching professionals and students hands-on, career-relevant skills.
Why Become an Apprentice?
You should become an apprentice because you can earn minimum wage while learning and gaining practical skills. You can also avoid student debt and boost your career. Apprenticeship programs will help you become job-ready, so accomplishing your career goals is more likely.
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Earn While You Learn
One of the best benefits of apprenticeships is that you can expand your skills while earning a salary. Adult apprenticeships may not offer a generous wage, but it’s better than not getting paid at all. That’s why apprenticeships are generally better than unpaid internships for a career in science, tech, or any other subject.
Gain Practical Skills
For tech career pathways, practical skills are crucial. An apprenticeship program helps you gain technical expertise through hands-on training. You can also have a portfolio ready by the time your program ends. Many types of jobs require apprenticeship training, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Avoid Student Debt
For many international students and US students, attending a four-year university means student debt is inevitable. Between paying for student accommodation, studying materials, and tuition fees, a degree program is costly. Fortunately, advanced and intermediate apprenticeships aren’t as expensive.
Gain a Career Boost
If you’re launching a brand-new career, an apprenticeship program can be a great help. These programs will give you all the info and skills you need to learn about your industry. Apprenticeship programs can help you land any of the best tech jobs of 2021. Chances are, you’ll start a career with the apprenticeship training provider after your program ends.
Apprenticeship job opportunities are plenty, and students gain specific skills they need to excel in their field. As a result, you’ll have in-demand skills that are sought after by employers and job training to help you break into your desired industry with ease. An apprenticeship is a great resume item.
How to Find Apprenticeship Programs
Finding an apprenticeship program can be tricky. However, with this step-by-step guide, you can find the perfect apprenticeship in no time. Below are the steps to finding an apprenticeship program that works for you.
Define Your Ideal Apprenticeship Program
To find an apprenticeship opportunity, understand what you want from the program. For example, you should know whether you’re looking for an in-person or remote apprenticeship. Consider how much you want to earn from your program, how long you want the program to be, and what apprenticeship level suits you best.
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Explore Tech Trades for Apprentices
Many tech fields offer apprenticeships. You can become an apprentice in computer science, data science, data analytics, programming, or machine learning, for example. Determine the industry you want to work in and your ideal career before submitting an apprenticeship application. Read apprentice life stories to get a feel for the experience.
Find Out the Typical Requirements
While you might not need a level of qualification like a bachelor’s degree for an apprenticeship, some programs have stricter requirements than others. Do your research and find out about the typical requirements for your ideal apprenticeship program. Make sure you have the training you need before you apply, even if it’s an entry-level position.
Fulfill Apprenticeship Program Requirements
Whether you want an intermediate apprenticeship or an advanced apprenticeship, meeting the requirements is vital. Take the time to gain a qualification or experience that would satisfy the requirements for the apprenticeship program you want. In many cases, you need to know the basics or learn to code before you start.
Complete Pre-Apprenticeship Training
If you can’t apply for an apprenticeship program right away, consider pre-apprenticeship training. This job training is for entry-level students and will give you much of what an apprenticeship will, but less intensively. After your pre-apprenticeship training, it will be much easier to become a tech apprentice and fulfill entry requirements.
Build a Showstopping Resume
If you’re serious about finding a brilliant career, you need an impressive resume to apply for apprenticeship programs. Ensure your resume is professional and well-structured. It should also include sections like your professional experience, education background, basic research skills, and interests.
Find an Employer or Sponsor for Apprenticeship Opportunities
An employer or sponsor can be a sole individual or large organization that offers career opportunities through apprenticeships. You can search online for employers or sponsor apprenticeship opportunities in your industry. This is also a great opportunity to network.
Use Websites as Resources for Apprenticeship Opportunities
If finding the level of apprenticeship you need is challenging, consider resources like an apprenticeship blog or website. These resources often have listings of available apprenticeship programs. You can also find information on how to land an apprenticeship aligned with your career goals.
Reach Out to Major Tech Companies
Not finding the apprenticeship program you want fast enough? Take the initiative and reach out to major tech companies via email or phone call. These companies could be considering hiring an apprentice or may not have thought of the idea before. Something as simple as sending an email can help prove that you’re confident in your abilities.
Complete the Apprenticeship Interviews
At this stage, you’ll most likely have a decent selection of apprenticeship opportunities. You can send your resume now and start booking job interviews. Remember to research the company you want to work with beforehand to understand its motives. You should also research common interview questions to prepare.
Tips to Land a Software Development Apprenticeship
Historically, apprenticeships are for trade jobs, but you can find tech apprenticeships as well. If you’re looking for a degree apprenticeship, an intermediate apprenticeship, or an advanced apprenticeship in software development, these tips are for you. Read below to learn how to get an apprenticeship in software development.
Gain Basic Coding Skills
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Complete Certification Programs or Formal Education
Although it’s not mandatory, you can gain software development certification or complete a degree program. Doing this proves you have the knowledge and practical skills to become a software developer. You can complete a program at a college, self-paced online bootcamp, or massive open online course (MOOC).
Work on Projects
Whether you’ve completed high school or university, apprenticeship employers want to see your skills. Prove your expertise by creating a software development project. Not only will this demonstrate your software development abilities, but you can also start building a portfolio.
Focus on Your Soft Skills
Industry experts in software development work with teams of other professionals. You need to have excellent communication, decision-making, conflict resolution, and interpersonal skills because of this. Many education pathways like degree programs, bootcamp programs, and online courses cover soft skills training.
Look for Apprenticeship Opportunities in the Right Places
Software development is an in-demand career, but this doesn’t mean every company needs an apprentice. Narrow your apprenticeship program hunt to websites and resources dedicated to software engineers. Look for companies that are most likely to hire software engineers as apprentices before taking them on permanently.
Tips to Land an IT Apprenticeship
By choosing the apprenticeship category of information technology (IT), you’ll find ample opportunities. However, to make sure you land the apprenticeship you want, below are the best tips to find an IT apprenticeship program.
Gain Information Technology Skills
If you’re looking for intermediate or advanced apprenticeships, you need to gain IT skills first. Learn machine learning, programming, computer science, or database administration. Whether you choose academic programs or informal learning methods, learn a topic aligned with your apprenticeship goals.
Put Your Skills to the Test
If you want an IT apprenticeship, you need to showcase your skills. Create a solo project or collaborate with other IT professionals to do this. You can develop a machine learning-oriented app or an intuitive website with data science features. You can show your portfolio to the hiring manager to demonstrate what you can do.
Do Extensive Research
Before applying for part-time or full-time apprenticeships, do a lot of research on the company you want to join. Taking this step will give you an advantage over your competition. During interviews, you can prove your interest and passion for becoming an apprentice for that company.
Perfect Your Application
To increase your chances of landing an IT apprentice, perfect your application. Ensure there are no grammatical errors, the application is well-structured and concise, and it showcases your personality. It’s best to never recycle applications as you want to personalize your application to the company.
Network When You Can
Any professional from any sector can benefit from networking. Attend IT events, join IT communities, and engage with as many industry experts and peers as possible. Making connections will help you become well-known in the industry. Attending an information technology bootcamp is a great way to network.
Resources for Apprenticeship Seekers
There are a lot of apprenticeship resources available online. The US government puts a strong focus on apprenticeships, so finding different types of programs shouldn’t be too difficult. Below are the top three resources for apprenticeship seekers.
The US government hosts this website to provide apprenticeship opportunities. You can use the apprenticeship job finder tool to source programs. There is also an apprenticeship fact sheet with valuable information, videos, and research for aspiring apprentices. If you aren’t sure where to start, you should look at this website.
MI-Apprenticeship is a resource center for apprentices that also offers its own apprenticeship program. You can become a registered apprentice and access pre-apprenticeship programs. This website also provides an apprenticeship handbook, apprenticeship updates, and additional resources for intermediate apprenticeships.
CareerOneStop stays true to its name by providing resources for apprenticeships, internships, adult education, and high school and college students. You’ll find tips on networking, job hunting, resume building, interview preparation, and contract negotiation. If you want to start a new job or change careers, you should check out CareerOneStop.
Should I Do an Apprenticeship?
Yes, you should do an apprenticeship if you want to work and learn at the same time while earning a wage. Apprenticeship programs can help you land your dream job by providing career-specific training and industry-recognized certifications. You can develop a portfolio to showcase your skills during your apprenticeship, and landing a job will be easier.
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