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What Are the Different Types of Apprentice Positions?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated Feb 16, 2024
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There are many blue collar apprentice positions that must be successfully completed before someone is allowed to work unsupervised in a given profession. Electrician, machinist and plumber positions are just a few of these. Bakers, carpenters and welders also typically begin their careers in apprentice positions. Some fields, such as heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), require prospective workers to complete very extended and involved apprentice positions before becoming full-fledged HVAC installers or repairmen or women.

Many skilled trades in the building profession require apprentice positions in order to enter the field and be employed as a certified tradesman or woman. Average apprentice positions require the trainee to shadow a certified worker and learn from watching and working alongside of the experienced trades-person. Hands-on training often has the workers in the apprentice positions completing the majority of the work, with a certified teacher checking to make certain the job is completed satisfactorily and up to code. Electrician hopefuls are often asked to complete up to five years as an apprentice before gaining their electricians license or certification. Plumber trainees are also required to complete several years in an apprentice program before being allowed to work unsupervised.

Typically, carpenters and welders also complete apprenticeships on their way to becoming certified in their trade. Machinists are also usually required to complete a training period prior to the apprenticeship. During this training period, the would-be machinist is educated in shop safety, reading measuring instruments and machine setup. This saves the training machinist valuable time that can be better spent teaching the intricacies of the profession instead of basic shop safety standards. Many apprentice positions are followed by a written test to check the knowledge gained by the worker during the apprenticeship. Upon completion of the test, the certification board will usually bestow the license or certification on the employee and enter the worker's name into the rolls of the appropriate unions, labor organizations and registration books.

Builders and technical workers are not the only laborers who are required to hold apprentice positions before setting out on their own. Bakers and cooks also typically complete a type of apprenticeship while studying their craft. Commonly tasked to cleanup and food preparation in the early stages of the apprenticeship, the beginning baker will assist the head baker in mixing batter and frosting cakes long before he is able to do this on his own. Only after completing the apprenticeship will the student-baker be allowed to call himself a baker and experience all of the benefits that go along with the title.

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