Apprenticeship Participant FAQs

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a career pathway that allows an individual to become an employee of a company. From day one, the apprentice earns an income, gains real-world job experience, and receives classroom training and education. Apprenticeships allow employers to develop their own workforce by equipping individuals with work experience, classroom instruction, and nationally-recognized credentials.

What are the benefits?

  • Become an employee of your sponsoring company on day one.
  • Receive the training, support and the resources you need to learn new skills, earn industry credentials, and increase your ability to develop your career.
  • Education and job training are incorporated into your work week: you are being paid to learn and gain new skills.
  • Education and training at no cost to you.

What is the difference between an internship and an apprenticeship?

  • An internship allows students to work in their expected career field, either during a semester or over the summer. Internships may be paid or unpaid and may or may not provide academic credit. They are usually one-time experiences. Internships are connected to an academic program with course requirements designed and monitored by faculty.
  • An apprenticeship is a career pathway that includes a paid-work component and an educational or instructional component, where an individual can obtain workplace-relevant knowledge and skills (DOL.gov).

Do I have to pay for an apprenticeship?

No, the apprenticeship is paid for by your sponsoring employer. The apprentice does not have to pay for related technical instruction (RTI).

As an apprentice, am I an employee of the company?

Yes, you are an employee from your first day in the program. Apprentices are paid employees of the company that hires and sponsors them.

What programs are already in place?

Apprenticeship programs currently exist in cybersecurity, cloud computing, and many other areas. Since the summer of 2017, NVCC has been and continues to be the RTI provider in the region for the Amazon Military Technical Apprenticeship. For a list of the current apprenticeships in Virginia, visit the Department of Labor and Industry website.

What do the hiring and apprenticeship timelines look like?

  • Application Process: The timeline from application to selection will vary depending on the employer. Generally, it can take between one to three months.
  • Apprenticeship: Apprenticeship requires classroom training and on-the-job learning. Apprenticeships must provide a minimum of 144 related technical instruction (RTI) hours. This includes time in the classroom to learn skills for the job.
  • The on-the-job (OJT) portion can last up to 2,000 hours, or 1 year of full-time employment. Some employers will combine classroom training and job training, while others will begin with classroom instruction and then move on to job training.

What is related technical instruction (RTI)?

Related technical instruction is integrated into an apprenticeship. This instruction includes classroom education or coursework that directly applies to the job that the apprentice is learning. Apprenticeships are required to include at least 144 hours of instructor led training.

What is my commitment? Is there a payback?

As an apprentice, you’re asked to dedicate yourself to the work and commit your time. You will be required to meet the goals and expectations set forth by your employer for the apprenticeship program. It is important to review your contract when you’re hired, and ask your employer any questions you have.

Sometimes apprentices are asked to “payback” their employer, if they leave the program early or are dismissed. These requirements vary by employer. Be sure to ask your employer if there is a payback requirement.

Do I earn college credit?

Currently NOVA is unable to grant college credit for your certification training, however, the college is reviewing the policy. You will earn general continuing education units (CEUs) as part of your apprenticeship instruction.

How much time should I set aside for studying?

We encourage apprentices to study outside of the class time in order to pass certification exams. A good rule of thumb is that for every hour in the classroom, apprentices can expect to study for two hours outside of class.

What equipment do I need?

We advise apprentices to discuss with their employers whether they will need to purchase additional equipment. Some employers may provide or reimburse you for these costs.

How do I qualify?

  1. Submit your resume to TechApprenticeshipVA.org
  2. Employers will review your resume
  3. Employers will contact you if they decide to conduct an interview

What will I be paid?

Compensation will vary depending on the sponsoring employer as well as the apprenticeship position for which you are hired.

What if I want to quit the apprenticeship?

We encourage you to speak to your sponsoring company to understand the ramifications of leaving the apprenticeship program. Each sponsoring company may have their own stipulations.

What types of apprenticeship programs are available?

There are currently three tech-related apprenticeship models: cloud, cybersecurity and technical.

Each model has different occupations and certifications attached to the apprenticeship position.

What happens when I’m done with the apprenticeship?

Upon completion of the apprenticeship, you will receive a Department of Labor journey worker card which identifies you as having been an apprentice. You will also continue your work as a full-time employee of the employer. The process is called “conversion.”

Can I use my GI Bill while I’m in an apprenticeship program?

This option may be available. Please contact apprentice@nvcc.edu for more information.

Who do I contact?

Resources: