Tips to Become an Apprentice

In the U.S., student debt has become a tremendous burden on younger workers. As of 2022, student debt totals more than $1.6 trillion.1 While the increasing cost of a four-year college has contributed to the increase in educational debt, people looking for a way to train for a career without going into debt have an old-school option: becoming an apprentice.

Apprentices earn as they learn, eliminating the need to get into debt to land a career. If becoming an apprentice appeals to you, these tips will help you find an opening. 

What Are Apprentices?

An apprentice is an individual who learns on the job. Apprenticeship programs are available in many fields. For example, you can become an electrical apprentice, an HVAC apprentice, or a plumber apprentice. 

When you enroll in an apprenticeship program, you work full-time in the profession you’re training in. You earn a salary and valuable skills. Apprenticeship programs also include classroom instruction and more formalized training. Once you complete the program, you earn journeyperson certification, which recognizes that you are a trained and skilled worker.

Learn About Apprenticeship Opportunities

The first thing to do if you want to become an apprentice learns about apprenticeship opportunities near you and in your chosen field. Your first stop should be the admissions office at the Orange Technical College campus nearest you. 

In admissions, we’ll review the available opportunities with you and help you decide which industry is right for you if you don’t know already. We’ll also help you apply for available apprentice positions. 

If there isn’t an Orange Technical College campus near you or you can’t get to campus, you can review open apprenticeship positions in your area at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship job finder tool. 

If you’re not sure what type of job you want yet, read up on the various fields that commonly offer apprenticeships. Learn about what’s required during electrical apprentice jobs or HVAC apprentice jobs. You can use the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook to get a better idea of what the job environment is like and what skills are needed.

Talk to Apprentices

Talk to current or past apprentices before you apply for a position. Current apprentices can give you a good idea of what life is like as an apprentice. They can help you better understand the training they receive and the type of work they do. They can also provide insight into whether they think an apprenticeship is worth it.

People who have successfully completed an apprenticeship program and have found a full-time job in their field can also give you tips and advice on applying for apprenticeships. They can also help you decide if becoming an apprentice is the right option for you. 

If possible, you might want to speak with the supervisors or instructors involved in the apprenticeship program. While they can’t give you insight into what life is like as an apprentice, they can give you an idea of what the job and training program will involve.

Complete Prerequisites

Depending on the apprenticeship program you apply for, you might need to complete prerequisites either before the program begins or before you apply. For example, you might need a high school diploma or GED. If a diploma isn’t required, the program might require you to have completed at least a certain grade level. 

You might also need to participate in an interview before you’re accepted into an apprenticeship program or pass an exam demonstrating that you have certain skills. Apprenticeship programs tend to be very competitive, so being as prepared as possible will increase your chances of acceptance.

Learn More About Apprenticeship Programs at Orange Technical College Today

If you’re like to train for a career without going into debt, an apprenticeship program can be the right choice. Orange Technical College has information on apprenticeships in a variety of fields, including HVAC, child care, plumbing, and electrical. Stop by the admissions office nearest you to learn more or request more information today. 


  1. Fact Sheet: President Biden Announces Student Loan Relief for Borrowers Who Need It Most, The White House, August 24, 2022,