For those who want to start their career without a college degree, an apprenticeship may be an ideal path to success. An apprenticeship usually lasts four years or fewer and helps you gain the knowledge and experience you need to build a career you enjoy and can grow within. Many vocational positions offer apprenticeships, but there are other career paths that may begin with an apprenticeship as well. In this article, we explain why apprenticeships are important, provide a list of the highest-paid apprenticeships and share some positions you may work in that start with an apprenticeship.
Why are apprenticeships important?
Apprenticeships are important because they provide you with another opportunity to gain first-hand experience that can contribute to career success. As an apprentice, you can start to earn money in your field, while getting to know and working alongside other professionals who have already built their careers in the same industry. Here are some other reasons accepting an apprenticeship is important:
- Hourly pay: Unlike some internships, apprenticeships pay you an hourly wage for your work. You may even find that the hourly wage you receive is fair for entry-level work with little to no experience, and you may be eligible for pay increases as your apprenticeship continues.
- Increased earning potential: Apprenticeships are common among careers where a degree isn't always required. If you choose to accept an apprenticeship, you should experience more earning potential than if you try to get a job right out of high school.
- Job diversity: Apprenticeships aren't only for labor-intensive positions, although many vocational jobs start with apprenticeships. There are also varied positions that offer apprenticeships to fit your interests.
If you think an apprenticeship may be the right path for you, consider exploring this list of some of the highest-paid apprenticeships:
National average salary: $15.43 per hour
Primary duties: A mechanic apprentice is responsible for inspecting and repairing vehicles under the direction and guidance of a more experienced mechanic. They may perform oil changes, replace car parts and assist customers with understanding how to take proper care of their vehicles.
National average salary: $16.52 per hour
Primary duties: An elevator technician learns how to install and repair elevator equipment under the supervision of an elevator technician professional. They work on different elevator systems to further their understanding, adhere to safety guidelines, operate and test elevator equipment and may need to respond to service calls from building owners.
National average salary: $16.86 per hour
Primary duties: A plumber apprentice is responsible for performing maintenance on plumbing systems. They also install plumbing fixtures and systems, order the proper pipes for plumbing jobs, respond to service requests and test entire systems to make sure they're working optimally. Plumber apprentices must follow all safety guidelines to keep themselves protected.
National average salary: $17.56 per hour
Primary duties: An electrician apprentice is responsible for working under the supervision of a licensed electrician to install and perform maintenance on electrical equipment. They also test equipment, identify any issues with current equipment, place orders for supplies they need to fix a problem and perform the fix if needed. Electrician apprentices may also need to dig trenches, operate specific equipment to complete their job and answer customers' questions.
National average salary: $17.92 per hour
Primary duties: A carpenter apprentice works under the direction and supervision of a professional and licensed carpenter to learn how to perform carpentry skills. They take measurements, cut materials they need to complete their job, read blueprints, assemble items and help build larger structures with a team. Carpenter apprentices also perform maintenance on regularly used tools and make sure to follow safety standards.
Five jobs with paid apprenticeships
Here are some positions that can start with an apprenticeship that leads to a high paying career:
1. Brick mason
National average salary: $43,826 per year
Primary duties: A brick mason is responsible for using brick and other masonry materials to build and repair structures. They read and interpret blueprints, determine the tools and materials needed for their project, break and cut materials to fit in their structure and use specialized tools to do things like expand joints, spread grout and design patterns.
National average salary: $47,957 per year
Primary duties: An automotive technician diagnoses and repairs issues with vehicles, which may include cars, trucks, vans and SUVs. They perform tasks like refill fluids, change brake pads, rotate tires and repair electrical equipment. Automotive technicians often report their findings and fixes to customers, as well as recommend additional repairs that a customer can opt for to keep their vehicle in prime condition.
National average salary: $50,114 per year
Primary duties: An ironworker is responsible for installing and maintaining iron and steel within structures. They may work with homes, buildings and common structures like bridges and roads. Ironworkers also follow blueprints, load and unload the iron and steel they'll be working with, use other items like bolts and wires to make connections and form alignments that will keep a structure sound.
National average salary: $60,520 per year
Primary duties: A machinist uses blueprints, computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) sketches to manufacture the parts and tools they, or a group of professionals, need to complete a job. They set up equipment and tools, make adjustments to the machinery by drilling, grinding and shaping so the equipment meets specifications and standards and test the completed machine to make sure it works well and meets clients' expectations.
National average salary: $62,622 per year
Primary duties: A solar installer is responsible for assembling, installing and repairing solar systems on residences, buildings and other structures. They develop system configurations depending on customers' needs, weatherize equipment so it continues to work in different types of weather conditions, perform regular maintenance to keep the system working optimally and adhere to building codes and project specifications. Solar installers may need to install underground equipment, connect to electrical systems and install supporting structures as needed.