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Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeships


Want a successful career? Want to further your education without racking up debt? Get started on your pathway to a successful career and enroll in a Registered Apprenticeship program.

With Registered Apprenticeship you receive:

  • A paycheck: From day one, you will earn a paycheck guaranteed to increase over time as you learn new skills.
  • Hands-on career training: As an apprentice, you will receive practical on-the-job training in a wide selection of programs, such as health care, construction, information technology and geospatial careers.
  • An education: You'll receive hands-on training and have the potential to earn college credit, even an associate or bachelor's degree, in many cases paid for by your employer.
  • A career: Once you complete your apprenticeship, you will be on your way to a successful long-term career with a competitive salary, and little or no educational debt.
  • Nationally recognized state certification as a journeyperson: When you graduate from an apprenticeship, you'll be certified and can take your certification anywhere in the U.S.
  • Recognizable partners: Many of the Commonwealth's most recognizable companies, such as Newport News Shipbuilding, Lenscrafters, and the National Guard have Registered Apprenticeship programs.

Types of Apprenticeships:

In Virginia the Registered Apprenticeship program offers access to 250 career areas, including the following top high pay high skilled occupations:


Eligibility and Requirements:

Registered apprenticeship sponsors (employers) identify the minimum qualifications to apply into their apprenticeship program. The eligible starting age can be no less than 16 years of age; however, individuals must usually be 18 to be an apprentice in hazardous occupations. Program sponsors may also identify additional minimum qualifications and credentials to apply, e.g., education, ability to physically perform the essential functions of the occupation, proof of age. All applicants are required to meet the minimum qualifications. Based on the selection method utilized by the sponsor, additional qualification standards, such as fair aptitude tests and interviews, school grades, and previous work experience may be identified. Additional detail can be found at

What is Registered Apprenticeship?

Registered Apprenticeship programs have met the skilled workforce needs of Virginia industry since 1938. But today’s program is not your father’s apprenticeship program. While we are still providing on-the-job training and instruction in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, we are also working in new emerging industries such as health care, information technology, energy, telecommunications and more. Registered Apprenticeship connects job seekers looking to learn new skills with employers looking for qualified workers, resulting in a workforce with industry-driven training and employers with a competitive edge.

Who operates Registered Apprenticeship programs?

Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors (employers) vary from small, privately owned businesses to national employer and industry associations. Today, Virginia has nearly 2000 sponsors representing more than 2000 apprentices (employees), including Newport News Shipbuilding, Lenscrafters, the National Guard, and many others.

How does Registered Apprenticeship benefit individuals?

From day one, apprentices receive a paycheck that is guaranteed to increase as their training progresses. Apprentices also complete a combination of industry-specific classroom education and hands-on career training leading to nationally recognized state certification as a journeyperson.

How long are Apprenticeship programs?

The length of an apprenticeship program depends on the complexity of the occupation. Apprenticeship programs range from 1 year to 6 years, but the majority are 4 years in length. During the program, the apprentice receives both structured, on-the-job training and related classroom instruction. For each year of the apprenticeship, the apprentice will normally receive 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a recommended minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction.

What is the average income associated with the Registered Apprentice program?

Apprentices earn competitive wages, a paycheck from day one and incremental raises as skill levels increase. In fiscal year 2008, the national average hourly wage for a journeyperson who completed an apprenticeship was $23.94, which translates to $49,795 annually.

Who do I contact?

All apprentices are registered through a Department of Labor & Industry apprenticeship representative. If you are interested in an apprenticeship program, please contact:

Cooperative Education

Cooperative education is a method of instruction that combines career and technical classroom instruction with paid employment directly related to the classroom instruction. Both student instruction and employment are planned and supervised by the school and the employer so that each contributes to the student’s career objectives and employability.

Job Shadowing

Job shadowing is a short-term, career-exploration form of worksite experience in which the student "shadows" (follows) a competent worker, observes the worker performing a variety of job tasks, and interviews the worker about the job and the industry.


Mentorship is a relationship between an experienced person (the mentor) and a less experienced person such as a student (the mentee), in which the mentor provides guidance, support, feedback, and skill instruction to the mentee.

Verso Framework. Department of Education, Commonwealth of Virginia


Prior to the internship, the student receives the established criteria and guidelines from the worksite supervisor. Throughout the internship, the supervisor evaluates the student. Internships are scheduled for a specified period of time during the school year and/or during the summer and may be paid or unpaid. An internship may be integrated into an existing course or offered as a separate activity, as determined by the local school division.

Verso Framework. Department of Education, Commonwealth of Virginia

Service Learning

Service learning is a community-based WBL experience in which students and teachers cooperate with local leaders to address problems and issues, resulting in service to the community and in academic, career, citizenship, and personal development for students.

Verso Framework. Department of Education, Commonwealth of Virginia