Many career training options focus on teaching you the knowledge and skills you’ll need for a job, then giving you the opportunity to get hands-on experience. That’s not the case with an apprenticeship, which allows you to work and learn from day one.
Pursuing an apprenticeship can have several benefits, such as allowing you to earn an income while you’re still in training and helping you see what a day on the job is really like.
If you decide to pursue an apprenticeship, choosing the right one matters. After all, the apprenticeship you choose will ultimately lead you to your career. Here’s what to do to make sure you find an apprenticeship that aligns with your goals.
Consider Your Interests
First thing, think about what you like to do and the subjects that most interest you—this can include your hobbies, favorite classes in school, and extracurricular activities.
There may be careers out there that match your interests, such as cybersecurity, child care, or carpentry.
Assess Your Skills
Next, consider your skills. What are you good at? Don’t limit yourself to traditional school subjects. Think about the things you do well in your everyday life. You may be organized, good at communicating with others, and known for paying attention to the small details.
Skills fall into two broad categories: Hard, or technical, skills and soft skills. Soft skills tend to be more innate, but you can learn them. For example, if you’re not a natural communicator, you can work on sharpening your listening skills and writing skills to become better at communication.
Hard or technical skills are typically what you’d learn in an apprenticeship program. So, if you’re worried about starting an HVAC apprenticeship or welding apprenticeship without knowing much, if anything, about HVAC or welding, don’t sweat it. You’ll learn the necessary skills as you go.
What matters is that you have an interest in learning those skills.
Think About the Type of Job You Want
Does the idea of sitting in front of a computer all day thrill you? Or would you rather be outdoors?
The apprenticeship you choose has a direct impact on the type of job and job environment. If you’re looking to work with your hands, you may consider plumbing or electrician apprentice jobs. If you want to work with computers, an IT or cybersecurity apprenticeship may be perfect.
Talk to a Mentor
Your friends, family, former and current teachers, and even current or former bosses and colleagues, may know you better than you know yourself. Don’t be shy about asking others for advice and guidance as you choose a career path.
If you’re considering an apprenticeship in a particular field or career, it can be worthwhile to connect with someone in that field before you apply. Apprenticeships are different from career certificates or other career training programs. It’s the employer or apprentice sponsor who selects the apprentices for the program, not a school.
It can be helpful to have a connection at an apprenticeship program, someone who’s familiar with your skills and interests and who thinks you’re a good fit for the role.
Assess the Apprenticeship Program
Research any programs you’re interested in to learn what’s involved. A good question to ask is how long is the program?
Other questions to ask include:
- How much will you earn as an apprentice?
- Will there be program costs?
- Where is the program?
- What will your typical day look like as an apprentice?
Find Out What’s After the Apprenticeship
It’s a good idea to explore what becoming an apprentice entails and what it means for your career path. Once you complete an apprenticeship, will there be ample job opportunities available to you? Will you be able to grow in your career?
Orange Technical College’s apprenticeship program connects you with employers so you can earn as you learn. If becoming an apprentice appeals to you, browse the available programs and contact us today for more information.