Becoming an apprentice means taking an important first step to a rewarding, well-paying career. As an apprentice, you will earn a paycheck while you learn a skilled trade through:

  • On-the-job training under the guidance of experienced workers
  • Related classroom training

You must be:

  • 18 years old, or
  • 16-17 years old, with parental approval

The length of training varies from one to six years, depending on the trade.


How to become an apprentice

There are two main pathways for you to become an apprentice:

  1. Through a recruitment into a NYS Registered Apprenticeship program (if you meet all of the program’s eligibility requirements). See below for more information about NYS Registered Apprenticeships, and how to find Registered Apprenticeship opportunities.
  2. By enrolling in a “Direct Entry” program that can help you get to  the skills you need to meet the minimum requirements of a NYS Registered Apprenticeship program.


learn more about
Direct Entry

NYS Registered Apprenticeships

Organizations that want to sponsor Registered Apprenticeships must have their programs approved by the NYS Department of Labor. There is a written contract between an apprentice and the sponsor that acknowledges their shared commitment to the training process. This agreement is approved and registered by the Department.

Every NYS Registered Apprenticeship program is monitored by a NYS Department of Labor Apprenticeship Training Representative. This representative connects with both the sponsor and apprentices regularly to ensure the program is running well and the apprentices are progressing through the program and completing successfully.

Apprenticeship training is usually offered by the sponsor at no cost to you, the apprentice. (There may be some rare instances where you will be asked to pay for the total cost of the related instruction or the sponsor may pay for the related instruction but specify that you must pay back the costs if you leave the program before completion.)

Apprenticeships are available in a wide variety of trades throughout New York State, in fields such as building and construction, manufacturing, information technology, and healthcare. Learn more by viewing the list of active sponsors.


The Apprenticeship State Expansion (ASE) program, at the time of publication of this video (6/15/2022), is funded by a federal grant of approximately $4.5 Million, which constitutes 100% of its budget.

We’re proud to highlight Rebecca’s story. She shares how her apprenticeship led to a rewarding career as a program manager for the Schenectady ARC.


Sponsors of registered apprenticeship programs are considered employers. As a registered apprentice, you immediately become part of the employer’s workforce.

To be eligible to become an apprentice, you must meet the employer’s minimum qualifications. Each employer has different minimum qualifications. Most require:

  • A high school diploma, or
  • The equivalent of a high school diploma

Some employers require:

  • Specific high school courses
  • Prior experience
  • Courses related to the occupation
  • Physical requirements (e.g. be able to lift 40 lbs)


Each apprenticeship trade has a standard training outline. This assures that apprentices, in the same trade, across the state receive training on the same tasks and obtain the same set of skills when they complete a Registered Apprenticeship program. The length of time it takes you to learn the skills of the trade will depend upon the length of the program.

Each trade has a definite term of training. As a registered apprentice, you may progress according to that training term, or you may become skilled more quickly or more slowly than the training term. You may even start your apprenticeship with credit toward your goal. This is because your employer may choose to award you credit for prior work experience or coursework in the trade. 

You work under the guidance of experienced workers called journeyworkers. You learn the skills of the trade from them. As you master each skill, you become a more productive employee and valuable part of the Sponsors workforce.

While you are working, you will also be required to attend related instruction in a classroom. Classroom instruction is usually in the evenings. The place and time of instruction is set up by your employer and the local educational provider(s). It may be at one or more of these locations:

  • Trade school
  • Community college
  • Distance learning/virtual training

Your progress is tracked by:

  • You
  • Your employer
  • Your educational provider

At the successful completion of your Registered Apprenticeship, the Department of Labor will award you with a "Certificate of Completion." This is a nationally recognized credential, showing you have mastered the skills of the trade and reached the level of journeyworker. 

A new trend in apprenticeship is for an apprentice to earn an educational degree. This builds on the current required classroom instruction. Some sponsors do this by combining the standard on-the-job skill training with expanded classroom instruction in a particular field. This classroom training is offered at the college level. As a result, the apprentice will earn both:

  • A Certificate of Completion from the NYS Department of Labor
  • An associate degree from a college

Remember: Only apprenticeship programs officially registered with the NYS Department of Labor are recognized nationally. These are the only programs that can offer you a Certificate of Completion at the conclusion of your approved training.

Apprenticeship Opportunities

If you are interested in becoming an apprentice, you may contact your local apprenticeship office for more information or to answer any questions you may have.

Local Apprenticeship Office


If you are interested in becoming an apprentice, you may contact your local apprenticeship office for more information or to answer any questions you may have. 

View Current Apprenticeship Opportunities


You may also:

  • Search for apprenticeship openings in the NYS Job Bank
  • Contact an organization in your area that trains through apprenticeship
  • Find an employer in your occupational field who might be interested in training you through Registered Apprenticeship.


If you have questions, email us at [email protected]