Who Issues? Optional/Required? Unique Features Key Requirements
Certificate of Completion issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship Optional, but in certain construction projects strongly incentivized by federal law Industry funded and operated – may be sponsored by single or multiple employers, with or without a union as a sponsoring partner On-the-Job Training supplemented by Classroom Instruction
Apprenticeship icon

Who Issues? Registered Apprenticeship is an industry-based career preparation system for skilled workers that is overseen by state and federal agencies. Completion of a Registered Apprenticeship is documented by a Certificate of Completion that is issued by the Office of Apprenticeship of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Optional or Required? Registered Apprenticeship is an optional system, but in the case of construction projects that are supported by certain types of federal funding, federal law provides strong financial incentives for employers to enroll in Registered Apprenticeship programs all those workers on the project who are not yet qualified in their trade at the journeyman (apprenticeship completed) level.

Unique Features Registered Apprenticeship programs prepare apprentices for careers in skilled trades by employing them in full-time on-the-job training positions, supplemented by related classroom training (called related instruction) that is typically conducted after normal working hours. The on-the-job training component of Registered Apprenticeship is required to provide the apprentices with opportunities to learn all the aspects of their trade, with the expectation that, upon completion, the apprentices will be well-rounded craft workers. Registered Apprenticeship programs are funded and operated by industry sponsors, which can operate in any one of four ways:

  1. a single employer can sponsor a Registered Apprenticeship program without a partner
  2. a single employer can sponsor a Registered Apprenticeship program in partnership with a labor union
  3. a group of employers can sponsor a Registered Apprenticeship program without a partnering union
  4. a group of employers can sponsor a Registered Apprenticeship program in partnership with a labor union

Registered Apprenticeship is the dominant form of preparation for skilled workers in the unionized sector of the construction industry, with well-established programs for Carpenters, Plumbers, Electricians and many other categories of skilled workers. Registered Apprenticeship also is a prominent form of training in the manufacturing industry, particularly (but not exclusively) in the unionized sector and particularly for skilled workers in the “metal trades,” such as Machinists and Tool and Die Workers.

What is funded through COOL? COOL does not directly fund apprenticeships; however, the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) is a formal military training program that provides active duty Marine Corps Service members the opportunity to improve their job skills and to complete their civilian apprenticeship requirements while they are on active duty.

How to get more information on COOL? General information on the USMAP program can be found on the USMAP website. MOS-specific information can be found on the Summary Page under Related Credentials on the tab called “Apprenticeship.” Additional information about Registered Apprenticeship in the civilian sector can be found at the U.S. Department of Labor website.