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Apprenticeship is an instructional strategy that is appropriate for students, ages 16 and older and is one of the oldest methods of career preparation. High school apprenticeship is an industry-driven education and career training program based on recognized industry standards. It is a strategy used by employers to address current and projected employment needs. This program is a partnership among business, industry, government, parents and youth apprentices.

Apprenticeship is a system of skilled occupational training that combines practical work experiences with related academic and technical instruction. An apprentice works on the job for an employer and is taught and supervised by an experienced person in the chosen occupation. The preplanned progressively challenging work-based learning experience usually extends two to four years. The apprentice must successfully complete related instruction chosen by the employer. The apprentice is periodically evaluated and granted wage increases for satisfactory progress. Upon completion of the work progress and the related instruction, the apprentice is skilled and knowledgeable and will receive certification as a journeyman in the field.


Apprenticeship provides a pathway for individuals to progress into the primary job market much faster than any other method of job training. Individuals do not waste time with dead end, low paying jobs in the secondary job market. Apprentices begin learning the skills and knowledge necessary for them to be successful in the world of work and are able to begin a career in an occupation that provides a good wage and personal satisfaction.

Steps for Planning and Implementation

The steps for implementing include involving a number of constituents and partners and requires cooperation and coordination. Following these basic steps for implementing an apprenticeship program:

  1. Contact the local NC Department of Labor (NCDOL) apprenticeship representative.
    • The NCDOL Apprenticeship consultant will give information that is necessary for registering the program and the apprentice.
    • Early involvement by the Apprenticeship consultant is necessary to determine if the program is apprenticeable.

  2. Decide what type of high school apprenticeship model will work best in a local area.
    • Each locality will need to look at the resources and the types of apprenticeable occupations that are available.
    • Some programs may need to be connected to a community college or some other post secondary institution.

  3. Carefully review the local labor market to determine possible occupations for training.
    • Apprentices are placed in existing jobs and will be training for a career in that occupation.
    • It is necessary to have a clear understanding of available jobs in the community and the viability of these occupations for the future.
    • Available jobs and job market information may be determined through business and industry surveys or by reviewing the SOICC (State Occupational Information Coordinating Committee) information for your locality.

  4. Recruit participating employers.
    • The Work-based learning coordinator will need to make contacts with business and industry to determine work-base sites.
    • Initially employers will need to be informed about apprenticeship and how it is a benefit.
    • Employers will need information concerning operation of the program and responsibilities of all parties.

  5. Write program standards.(how the program will operate).
    • Determine how much credit the apprentice will receive.
    • Determine the method of following and evaluating student progress.
    • Determine the rules that must be followed by the apprentice.
    • Determine what forms may need to be developed or adapted for the program.
    • Program guidelines will vary depending on the needs and preferences of each LEA.

  6. Secure appropriate resources.
    • A very important resource is the time that will be expended by a work-based learning coordinator to recruit employers and apprentices. This is no small task and must be a major investment if the program is to be successful.
    • Some funds will be necessary for phone, travel, and space for the operations of the work-based learning coordinator.

  7. Develop post secondary articulation and a follow-up process.
    • It is very important to insure that the Community College and other institutions are involved in the program. Community Colleges are very willing to articulate the related work of the apprentice and in many cases will articulate the post secondary work-based portion of the apprenticeship.
    • A formal process to determine if the apprentice does articulate to the post secondary program could be a benefit for future program improvement.

  8. Register the program.
    • All apprentices and apprenticeship programs must be registered by the North Carolina Department of Labor.
    • At this point, the NCDOL apprenticeship consultant will need to be involved for the purpose of registration.

  9. Operate the program and evaluate its success on an on-going basis.
    • Develop a local process that will determine effectiveness of the program.
    • Operation of the program will include recruitment, marketing, work-site development, record keeping, education of employers, student follow-up, and evaluation.
    • Each LEA will determine the method of operation and the extent of evaluation necessary to meet the needs of that agency.

For more information, refer to the High School Apprenticeship Handbook issued by the North Carolina Department of Labor and the Public Schools of North Carolina.

What's the difference between an apprenticeship and an internship?

If you are interested in learning more about the apprenticeship program, please see the Career Development Coordinator (CDC) at your high school.


The student selects a mentor, a certified school staff person, who will:

  • give career counseling and guidance to the apprentice throughout the high school portion of the apprenticeship.
  • evaluate the apprenticeship program and award credit toward high school graduation
  • maintain contact with the parents or guardian throughout the apprenticeship program.


Apprenticeship Brochure
Discusses the apprenticeship program.
(pdf, 137kb)

Apprenticeship Handbook
This handbook serves as a guide for local education agencies to use in developing and administering apprenticeship programs at the high school level.
(pdf, 3.6mb)


Apprenticeship & Training Bureau
Department of Labor web page for all Apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship Information For Students
Department of Labor web page for Student Apprenticeships.

Standards of Apprenticeship
This is the document that clearly defines the apprenticeship program.
(pdf, 25kb)

Letter announcing new fees for registered apprenticeships enacted by state legislature on August 15, 2009.
(pdf, 74kb)

Apprenticeable Occupations
This document is the official list of over 900 occupations that can be apprenticed.
(pdf, 68 kb)


First contact the CDC (Career Development Coordinator) at your school. They will get you started. Your CDC will contact the Department of Labor to get things started.

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