Apprenticeship training dates to ancient times when young boys were indentured to skilled tradesmen to learn a craft. Today, apprentices are women and men who earn while they learn through planned, supervised work on-the-job combined with related classroom instruction.

Just like college, apprenticeships arenít for everyone. To become an ironworker, firefighter or electrician takes mettle. Apprentices get up early, take direction from journeypersons, follow precise safety standards and attend classes at night. But at the end of their apprenticeship they get a ticket to a career anywhere they care to go: a journeypersonís card that is proof of their skill and experience when they look for work. Not to mention the salary and benefits that go with it.

Apprenticeships now cut across the boundaries of traditional trades such as carpentry, plumbing and firefighting to diverse fields like arson and bomb investigations and youth correctional counseling.

Finding an apprenticeship program is a mouse-click away. The Division of Apprenticeship Standards -- the state agency that ensures apprentices are not exploited -- database provides access to available apprenticeship programs by craft and geographic region at

Candidates select an occupation they like and have the physical ability to perform, find out if they meet minimum qualifications, decide if they can work under the required job conditions and apply for an apprenticeship with an employer in the field, the appropriate union or the California Employment Development Department (EDD). Sometimes aptitude or other tests are required and there may be a waiting list. 

Apprenticeships offer challenges and rewards. This site offers stories from a few with the perseverance, ambition and initiative to make apprenticeship training work for them.

More apprenticeship information can be found at

Learn more about Department of Industrial Relations programs at