How to become an Apprentice?

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How To Become An Apprentice 

Get Ready! 

Apprenticeships can follow graduation, or you can opt for a two-year college program that leads directly to an apprenticeship. If you are a junior or younger, prepare for this pathway by taking the following actions: 

  • Ask about career exploration activities and/ or skill-building opportunities. Be sure to take courses (usually STEM) that prepare you. 

  • Join a program that allows you to earn college credit during high school, e.g., Running Start or Career & Technical Education Dual Credit. 

  • Visit and research apprenticeship opportunities as you would do for any two-or four-year college or university. Be sure to pursue multiple options and create a backup plan. Programs are usually competitive. 

  • You may also be able to take part in a pre-apprenticeship program during or after high school. These programs can help you improve basic skills and learn about different careers. 

Find a Program! 

In some cases, you apply directly to an apprenticeship program; in others, you join an apprenticeship program through a community/ technical college or an employer. To participate, you must be at least 18, pass a drug test (including no marijuana, even if legal in WA), and be physically able to perform the work. 

  • Each program and its application are different. Decide if you want to apply directly for an apprenticeship before/after high school graduation OR enroll in a two year college program that leads directly to an apprenticeship. 

  • Find out when the program is accepting applications. Be sure to ask if you are required to in person. Travel may be necessary. 

  • You will likely be required to submit a transcript and resume. • You may need to take a test at a community or technical college. Many programs have prerequisites for math and reading comprehension. 

  • A committee interviews most applicants. You should prepare for an interview. 

  • Review individual program information through WA State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). Find programs in your area that take applications through the Apprenticeship Registration and Tracking System (ARTS) on the L&I website. 


Most programs accept applications regularly. To determine whether or not a program accepts applications, you need to contact them directly. To find Active Apprenticeship Programs: 

  1. Go to the online Apprentice Registration and Tracking System (ARTS). Run a “Programs by County” report for the county where you live or work to see all the programs in that county, sorted by occupation.

  2. Go through the entire list and select the appropriate program(s), which will give you the contact information for that program. 

  3. Contact the program directly to inquire if they are accepting applications. If the program is accepting applications, follow their directions for applying. 

Once you have applied and are accepted, the program will register you with Labor & Industries as a registered apprentice. 

NOTE: You will need to obtain the appropriate license or trainee card if you are accepted into an occupation with a Licensing/ Certification requirement in Washington State.