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Apprenticeships offer probably the best method for becoming trained in a blue-collar job, not to mention the fastest track to full time work, since companies place apprentices in jobs upon completion of the program.

Each year, more than 440,000 Americans become apprentices within one of the country's thirty-seven thousand apprentice programs. The programs, operated in conjunction with unions, trade groups, government organizations, and businesses, welcome people sixteen and older interested in working in blue-collar jobs.

The upshot of an apprenticeship, besides not having to pay for formal education, is that students who are enrolled in these programs (usually lasting from one to six years) get paid while they're learning, albeit at reduced rates from a full-time job. Still, it beats sitting in a classroom, shelling out thousands in tuition every semester, only to come out with knowledge of general theories but not practical experience.

Besides providing a certificate of completion in the line of work studied, many apprenticeships offer students the opportunity to obtain an associate's degree as well. If you want to become a trade employee, an apprenticeship is generally valued by employers over other forms of training, because apprenticeships tend to teach higher standards of safety than other educational methods, saving organizations money on workers' compensation claims. Graduates of these programs are also seen as more highly motivated.

Some of the most popular apprenticeships are electricians, carpenters, plumber/pipe fitter/sprinkler fitters, sheet metal workers, structural steel workers, elevator constructors, roofers, bricklayers, construction laborers, painters, boilermakers, heating/air-conditioning installers, millwrights, machinists, tool and die makers, and insulation workers.

Each of the above mentioned positions offer excellent job growth, good hourly wages and consistent, year round work.

**Source: "Real World Careers: Why College Is Not The Only Path To Becoming Rich" by Betsy Cummings


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