What is a Construction Apprentice?
A construction apprentice is a novice construction worker who is learning the trade. He takes a number of courses to learn the skills required while also working under the supervision of a master construction worker to gain practical experience. Apprentices are usually young—most start directly out of high school at age 18, although some may be older. Most apprentice programs require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED certificate. A worker is usually an apprentice for three to five years, depending on their skill and education.
Apprentices learn a number of different skills, including proper tool use, construction methods, and safety. In the classroom, they study different types of construction and learn the theory behind the different methods. Most apprentice programs offer employment opportunity assistance, and many apprentices are hired full-time by the company they did their training under.
- Wikipedia information about construction apprenticeships – Useful information from Wikipedia about the apprentice/journeyman/master system
- Northern Ohio Construction Education Center Information – A definition of what a construction apprentice is and does.
- Careers in Construction: Apprenticeship – This website includes an overview of working in construction, including what it takes to become an apprentice.
- Build Your Future information on careers in construction – A good place to start for those who are considering a career in construction.
- U.S. News & World Report on Construction Workers – A look at some statistics, including salary and what training is necessary.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook – The BLS report on the construction industry organized by specialty.
- Construction Career Infographic – A helpful chart on the various paths in the construction industry.
- Snagajob Construction Worker Job Description – An overview of the industry that also includes the expected hours, how to dress for the job, and myths about construction.
Those who are interested in becoming a construction apprentice will need to find a trade school that offers a program in construction and building. These programs will provide apprentices with a solid foundation in the theory and methods of construction. While the coursework generally doesn’t include practical skills (those are gained through the on-the-job training portion of an apprenticeship), students do learn things such as the math behind construction, how to read and create blueprints, and what it takes to be a construction manager or independent contractor.
Many construction schools require students to take at least one course that focuses solely on safety on the construction site. This is an extremely important part of an apprentice’s training since safety is of the utmost importance.
- Trade-school.net’s directory of trade schools, colleges, and universities – A great place to start the search for a program.
- The Associated Schools of Construction – The official organization for trade schools includes resources for those interested in a career in construction.
- Construction Apprenticeship Program at Cuyahoga Community College – An apprenticeship program for those in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.
- Construction Industry Training Council of Washington – A list of different apprenticeship programs in the state.
- Northwest Laborers-Employers Training Apprentice Program – Information about the program and how to apply.
- Laborers Trust Funds for Northern California – Information on their Construction Craft Laborer Apprenticeship Program.
- Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. Craft Training & Apprenticeship – Lists information about the curriculum and how to find an apprenticeship.
- College of Western Idaho – The college provides information on different construction apprenticeships offered through their business partners.
In addition to construction schools, most construction apprentices will need to go to machinery school. In fact, they may need to attend several different certification programs to gain all of the skills and certifications they need. Many machinery programs do include many of these skills and offer various certifications, however, especially those offered by trade schools and colleges.
Machinery schools will teach apprentices all of the basics needed for operating and maintaining equipment such as forklifts and flatbed trucks. Some may touch on how to make minor repairs to equipment, too. Like construction programs, machinery education also stresses safety. Courses such as forklift operation and safety guarantee that apprentices learn how to operate vehicles and machinery in such a way as to not injure themselves or others.
- CityTown Info on Machinery Mechanics – Information on education, certification, and licensing as well as some of the major employers in the industry.
- Education Portal: Heavy Machinery Training – Outlines the different requirements for operating large vehicles like forklifts, bulldozers, and cranes.
- West Coast Training – WCT is a trade school for NCCER heavy construction operator certification training.
- Empire Training institute – Empire Training is one of five Caterpillar Certified Learning Centers where students learn to operate equipment like forklifts and graders.
- ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Schools – ATS operates a number of schools offering forklift, crane, backhoe, and other machinery certification.
- The International Union of Operating Engineers – The IUOE operates a number of training schools for those interested in learning to operate cranes, bulldozers, and forklifts.
- Heavy Construction Academy – HCA offers a number of programs and certifications for forklift, bulldozer, and backhoe operators.
- Georgia Collect of Construction – The college offers programs in operating bulldozers, backhoes, cranes, forklifts, and other heavy machinery.
Resources for Employers Looking for Apprentices
Many employers like to hire apprentices for several reasons. First, it provides them with fairly cheap labor. Apprentices do get paid for their practical apprenticeships (if an apprenticeship is not offered paid, he or she should be very leery about taking the job), but they don’t get paid as much as a licensed worker who has several certifications. Taking on apprenticeships allows the employer to form a working relationship with trade schools. This often results in the trade school sending the employer a number of apprentices on a regular basis. The trade school then has a reliable construction company with which to place their apprentices, while the employer can rely on having a number of apprentices to put to work. Everyone benefits.
In addition to reaching out to trade schools, employers can find apprentices through several different methods. Some advertise in their city newspapers or online. Others put the word out that they’re looking to hire new apprentices. Often, word of mouth works surprisingly well. However, it can be unreliable, so many employers turn to resources such as the following.
- United States Department of Labor – The website has a section for employers to list their apprenticeship program.
- Monster.com Employer Website – Employers can use Monster.com to search resumes for those looking for apprenticeships.
- Magellan Search & Staffing – Magellan is just one of the many different search & staffing companies that provide online resources for employers.
- ConstructionJobs.com – Employers can post their apprenticeship opportunities or search apprentice resumes.
- Madden Industrial Craftsmen – Madden helps employers find skilled workers and apprentices.
- Sequence Staffing – Another company that focuses on recruiting construction apprentices.
- CareerCast Construction Network – Employers can post jobs and search resumes.
- Jobs.net Careers – Employers can also post jobs on this website.