1. What salaries do apprenticeships offer?

Apprenticeship wages vary by trade, but according to the Washington State Education and Research Data Center, five years after completing an apprenticeship through Bates Technical College, median salaries are $69,900.

Regardless of the specific wage, apprenticeships usually follow a sliding scale based on journey-level pay rates. Commonly, apprentices will earn 80 percent of journey-level wages in their first year, 85 percent of journey-level wages in their second year, and so forth.

To look up prevailing wages by trade and by county, visit the Prevailing Wage page on the Department of Labor and Industries. Some of the wages for journey-level work are impressive. The prevailing wages for electricians in Pierce County, for example, are between $61 and $64 per hour.

Apprenticeship is college, and apprentices are valued members of our student body.

  1. How does a Bates-affiliated apprenticeship work?

Bates partners with seven different joint apprenticeship training committees (JATC) offering nine different apprenticeship programs. (See table at right.)

Each JATC has its own process for acceptance and its own coordinator. The contacts for these programs can be found on our website. In some cases, there is an entrance examination, which may include both a physical and classroom component. Some apprenticeship programs require that you already have an employer sponsor, while others will help place you in a job.

Once you have been accepted into an apprenticeship program, your employer will supervise your on-the-job experience, and you will receive your related supplemental instruction either at Bates Technical College or the JATC training facility. The combination of on-the-job experience and related supplemental instruction is what separates apprenticeship from other work-based training, such as internships.

Importantly, the related supplemental instruction is awarded as college credit, which can be applied towards an associate degree in apprenticeship studies. Apprenticeship is not an alternative to college. Apprenticeship is college, and apprentices are valued members of our student body.

  1. Who employs apprentices?

Most of the joint apprenticeship training committees have longstanding affiliations with employers in their specific trade, and employers range from small businesses to multinational corporations.

Aerospace are employed by Boeing, as well as by the numerous, smaller companies that provide specialized parts for Boeing aircraft. Fire fighter apprentices are employed by fire departments throughout the state.

Operating engineers are employed by schools, hospitals and other companies with large plant operations. The next time you go out to a restaurant, it’s likely that an apprentice helped build the road that got you there, as well as provided the cut of beef.

  1. Who qualifies to become an apprentice?

Qualifications vary by apprenticeship, but there may be some fairly stringent physical and/or mental demands.

You may also be limited by your own tolerances. Afraid of the sight of blood? The meat cutters apprenticeship might not be the best choice. Fear of heights? You would definitely want to reconsider a career as an iron worker.

Still, our apprentices represent all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Some have overcome academic deficiencies and criminal backgrounds.

If you are willing to put in the effort, it’s likely you will qualify for one of the apprenticeships we offer.

Submitted by Brandon Rogers, Dean of Instruction, South Campus.