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College 101

Article Type: Quick and Dirty

Apprenticeships hold a bit of medieval romance to them. Picture the stonemason learning the craft next to the master, working side-by-side building a soaring cathedral or impenetrable castle. Think apprenticeships are anything like that these days? In reality, they sort of are.

Shmoop loves to lay it on the line, no holds barred. So here’s the skinny on apprenticeships: they hardly exist anymore in the United States. Jobs have become so service-oriented or technical that either formal education, such as Community College and Technical Schools, or very little education has become the norm for training.

But take heed, ye squire or damsel of old! There are still opportunities to earn your daily bread as an apprentice in certain industries. Building and construction apprenticeships abound, with opportunities in specialties such as carpentry, electricians, sheet metal working, plumbing, and even elevator construction and maintenance. Further, many of these professions actually require that you have experience as an apprentice before you can gain the certification necessary to practice on your own.

Apprentice opportunities don’t stop with construction, either. The important point to remember is that this career path requires a large amount of legwork if you want to gain a foothold and be successful. You have to find the opportunities, make contact, and work out the terms. Trust us, nobody is going to send you a nice glossy brochure outlining your apprentice opportunities.

With a bit of research, however, you can find training programs in industries as varied as horticulture, fire-fighting, tree surgery, engine mechanics, sign making, and ambulance driving. Start with checking out this. You can search here for opportunities by industry or by geographic location.

Also have a look at Shmoop Careers to investigate if one of these apprenticeship careers may be right for you.

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