Ready to take the next step in your career? Visit the career center closest to you. Learn more.

June 30, 2023

Engineer Showing Equipment To A Female Apprentice, Close Up

Did you know that there are 800 recognized apprenticeship occupations? Beyond traditional trade apprenticeships like construction, there are apprenticeships in public administration, retail, healthcare, automotives and much more. 

But what is an apprenticeship? And is it the right career move for you? 

What is an apprenticeship? 

According to Apprenticeship USA, an apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction and a portable, nationally recognized credential.  

That means, as an apprentice you get relevant, paid work experience and credentials for your chosen career. Traditional jobs may offer short-term training or onboarding for new hires, whereas apprenticeships are a long-term learning experience that allow you to change or enter a new career without taking on the payments of higher education.  

Apprenticeships also offer great opportunities to make professional connections. Meeting active industry members can help you decide what types of work and employers you’re interested in pursuing after you’ve completed your apprenticeship. The length and structure of each apprenticeship is different, but many programs offer networking and career guidance.  

What types of apprenticeships are available in San Diego? 

If you’re interested in an industry, it is likely there’s already an apprenticeship option available. The most common apprenticeships are in the building trades, but in San Diego alone there are currently more than 270 options. Some of those options include anthropology, baking, painting and decorating, fire marshal training, and more.  

At the San Diego Workforce Partnership, several of our programs include apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeships. We offer pre-apprenticeships in construction through the Construction Career Jumpstart program where participants receive 160 hours of classroom and hands-on experience in addition to other training support.  

Our Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA)-funded Training and Job Search Services offers participants the opportunity to obtain training—including some apprenticeships—through over 130 qualified training options.  

Finally, our newest apprenticeship pathway, through our Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Counselor Training program, provides counselors with training at the Tarzana Treatment Center College in order to upskill existing McAlister institute employees so they can earn their California SUD certification. 

How do I prepare and apply for an apprenticeship?  

Start by researching the industry you’re interested in joining as each has different job opportunities and program requirements. You can use the Apprenticeship USA Apprenticeship Finder to learn more about your options. Once you’ve done your research and decided on the program that best aligns with your career goals, you’ll gather all your relevant documents and apply for the apprenticeship. Each application will be different. If you need to use a computer, copier, printer or fax machine, stop by one of our career centers to use the equipment for free.  

What are the benefits of completing an apprenticeship? 

93% of apprentices who complete an apprenticeship retain employment, with an average annual salary of $77,000. In 2018, California Governor Gavin Newsom set an ambitious goal of reaching 500,000 active apprentices by 2029. Working towards meeting that goal means there are more benefits, support systems and options available now than ever before. In addition to the likelihood that you’ll find a quality job upon apprenticeship completion, the credential you’ve earned is proof for employers that you’re willing to put in the work to learn new skills and grow professionally.


How do I know if an apprenticeship is right for me? 

If you’re interested in problem solving, working as a team, learning new technical skills or producing tangible work, then an apprenticeship may be the right fit for you. Not sure if that sounds like you? Take the RIASEC assessment to learn more about how your strengths and interests can connect to a career.  

You can also visit a career center, call us at (619) 319-WORK (9675) or email to get connected to our service navigators. Service navigators can help you connect your strengths and interests with career options to see if an apprenticeship is the right fit for you.  

Connect With Us
Stay in the know

The Workforce Partnership is dedicated to providing San Diego Residents with the most up-to-date resources for finding a career.

Subscribe to our newsletter.