How To Find a Professional Apprenticeship
Are you looking for a career in a white collar job without having to fund a four-year education? If so, consider a professional apprenticeship before investing in a college degree.
What is a Professional Apprenticeship?
Similar to blue-collar apprenticeships, professional apprenticeships can help white- or new-collar workers gain experience and training at the same time. And one attractive feature of apprenticeships is that they rarely require a formal degree (though it doesn’t hurt to have one, either).
Whereas internships fulfill formal college credit requirements, professional apprenticeships usually offer applied studies and training in a more on-the-job fashion.
In one such example, Praxis, an online institution, launched a start-up apprenticeship for those interested in entrepreneurship. When its founders discovered the disconnect between college education and real-life professional skills, they decided to do something about it. Praxis noted:
“Real learning happens out of either necessity or interest. Learning is fastest and most effective in the moment of interest or need…. When faced with a real-time real-world conundrum, you’ll do whatever it takes to find the answer and solve the problem. You’ll learn.”
Apprenticeships across countless industries are effectively repairing that disconnect.
What’s the Difference Between White-Collar and New-Collar?
With the rise in computers and automation, tech jobs are not just in high demand—there is a fast-expanding labor shortage.
As such, a new category of workers has broken off from the traditional white-collar world to meet this labor demand. New collar workers, though working in white-collar environments, occupy “technology jobs through nontraditional education paths” (Forbes).
Tech companies look less at liberal arts degrees and more at marketable tech skills. These tech skills are available to people of all ages, from high schoolers to near-retirement-aged workers retraining after being laid off.
That said, there is still a demand for white-collar jobs that require four-year college degrees. But even the white-collar jobs are changing due to advances in software solutions. Because of this, job training continues to evolve for college graduates.
What to Look for in a White-Collar/New-Collar Apprenticeship
As Praxis noted above, a professional apprenticeship should offer training while also providing “the moment of interest or need.”
As such, mediocre apprenticeship programs focus too much on insular, classroom training. In the world of white- and new-collar jobs, trainees get hands-on experience with software platforms and professional troubleshooting as well as mentorships with veterans in their industry.
Additionally, you want your professional apprenticeship to offer a direct link to getting hired. That’s why employers end up sponsoring a lot of apprenticeship programs.
But just because a non-employer administers the apprenticeship doesn’t mean that it is an unworthy program. Still, reputable apprenticeships usually include some training in job hunting or offer placement as part of their curricula.
Types of Professional Apprenticeship Programs
Tech—or new-collar—jobs offer the best selection of professional apprenticeships. Most of these apprenticeships are also known as “bootcamps.”
Also, tech bootcamps don’t pay; in fact, you pay for the training you receive. These programs are designed to help you bypass college and go straight to the higher-paying tech employers that are starving for fresh talent.
You can often find free or low-paying apprenticeships in healthcare, sales, financial management, IT, and more.
Because of how popular professional apprenticeships have become in recent years, you are likely to find a program for nearly any industry in which you work or are interested in launching a career.
How to Find a Professional Apprenticeship
There are two primary ways to find a professional apprenticeship. The first is to do a Google search.
Identify the skills and job title you want and add the word “apprenticeship.” Take a look at some of the results. The more you look around, the more words you’ll have to add to your query for a better-defined apprenticeship search.
Second, locate a brand or company that is famous for offering the kind of job you want. Many of these larger companies offer professional apprenticeships to attract top talent.
As we mentioned above, there are more new collar jobs available than there are skilled workers. But you will also find employers in other industries using the same recruitment and training tactics.
Top Apprenticeship Programs
Speaking of “new-collar,” IBM is credited with coining the term. The IBM apprenticeship program targets young people who want to skip the college route and jump right into technical training.
IBM’s program is extensive, with over 25 careers available to target. Among these apprenticeship roles are data scientist, project manager, software engineer, hardware designer, and more.
If you’re interested in the world of commercial risk management, Zurich North America trains some of the sharpest insurance claims professionals in the world.
Graduates of Zurich North America’s apprenticeship program are certified and receive an associate’s degree, all while working as insurance employees.
Many people use free online instruction to gain basic tech skills. If you’re someone who has learned a computer coding language or two in your free time, LaunchCode can connect you with an apprenticeship that pays.
LaunchCode partners with tech companies that are willing to train new employees. However, these candidates must have bare minimum tech skills. Of all the apprenticeship programs listed here, LaunchCode is best known for helping people master new skills to help them re-enter the job market.
If you’re fascinated by the world of cybersecurity, you may enjoy an apprenticeship with CyberDefenses. The program features classroom training along with hands-on experience “in the field.”
CyberDefenses helps their graduates with job placement upon completion of their training, including filling open positions at CyberDefenses.
In the world of finance, it is often still necessary to acquire a four-year college degree. That said, it can be challenging to land a decent-paying job without industry experience.
That’s why JP Morgan Chase started its own financial services apprenticeship. Students receive classroom instruction, live project training, and mentoring by JP Morgan experts. Those who complete the program may also be offered a position at the company.
If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, such as becoming a medical assistant, coder/biller, or community health worker, you might be interested in the H-Cap registered apprenticeship program.
This apprenticeship pays its trainees by working directly with healthcare employers. The program includes core competency training to help trainees achieve higher-paying jobs as soon as possible. Graduates receive a “national occupational credential” in their field.
While it is true that education and experience aren’t important for many sales jobs, they do matter when it comes to the best sales positions. That’s why Sales Bootcamp Powered by Vendition built a program focused on sales in tech.
As one of the shorter programs listed here, this apprenticeship lasts only three months, but it includes real-life experience and vocational certifications.
In Conclusion: Other Places to Find White-Collar, New-Collar Apprenticeships
In your search for the ideal white-collar or new-collar apprenticeship, you may be able to find a suitable program on job boards. Additionally, networking efforts could eventually lead to a professional apprenticeship in your desired field.
Make sure that the program you consider will help you achieve your career goals within the time frame you desire. Once you complete your training, you will have accelerated your career path in a surprisingly short period.