Getting Your Foot in the Door: A Guide to Union Apprenticeships

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Apr 2, 2020

Apr 2, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

Did you know that the average weekly earnings of union workers was $1,051 in 2018? Have you been looking into a union job recently? You might want to consider getting your foot in the door through union apprenticeships.

While not every union is exactly the same process when it comes to becoming an apprentice they all follow similar guidelines. Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of union apprenticeships.

Pick Your Trade

Before you start applying you want to narrow down the trade that you would like to work in. There are all types of training programs, from electricians to elevator workers to painting. Once you narrow down the trade you want to pursue you will look for an organization nearby that provides pre-apprenticeship training. 

Pre-Apprenticeship Training

Most pre-apprenticeship training will require a high school diploma and a physical fitness exam. Many will also charge some type of tuition fee. Many will offer extras such as job placement assistance once you are done with the training or tools to help you do your job. 

There are also federal funds available to subsidize pre-apprenticeship training for those that qualify. You can ask the program you are looking at if they have this available and what are the qualification requirements. 

Standardized Tests

Once you are done with your pre-apprenticeship training courses you will then have to take any standardized tests that are required before you can apply for an apprenticeship. 

If you are not satisfied with the score you received on your standardized test, you can ask what the waiting period is to take the exam again. The higher your score the more attractive you will look to a potential union employer. 

Looking for Unions

When you are searching for labor unions go to the Central Labor Council website and choose your state. From there you can see a list of all the union contacts along with links to each union's website where it shows their job postings. 

It will make it easy to email or call each union using the list to find out if they have any pre-apprenticeships available. 

Why a Union?

The reason many people enjoy being union members is that everyone has a voice and higher job security. Union workers have a collective voice when it comes to negotiating pay, benefits, and working conditions. 

When doing your research you want to find a union that truly takes care of its members and cares for them. Look for unions that offer things such as workers comp clinics and such to ensure that you will be fine in case of an accident. 

Time to Look for Union Apprenticeships

Now that you know more about union apprenticeships and what to expect you can look for unions in your area and begin the application process. Keep in mind that getting an apprenticeship will not happen overnight. Every union has a process which is why you want to apply to multiple unions to have a higher chance of being called.

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