When you hear the word “apprentice,” what comes to mind? 

If you’re a fan of pop culture, you’re probably thinking of characters from Star Wars or a dimly-lit reality TV series set in a boardroom, hosted by a real-estate-tycoon-turned-US-president. 

For many, the idea of an apprenticeship sounds like the primary work-training program of yesteryear. These master-and-student learning environments, though mutually beneficial, may feel incredibly dated—like sending postcards or attending a drive-in movie. But is this the case? 

Nope. In fact, apprenticeships have never been more appealing to an assortment of industries—including construction! 

How does become a master of their trade? 

The construction industry is always in need of skilled professionals—from carpenters and plumbers to electricians, machine operators, HVAC specialists, and beyond. But how does one learn these lucrative skills? Well, there are a few different ways. 

  • Trade schools are a great way to learn any number of valuable skills—from electrical systems to welding, masonry, and beyond. Yes, they may come with tuitions, but most schools offer financial aid programs or ways to finance your education. 
  • On-the-job experience is another route to learning your trade. It’s common for a construction professional to start from the bottom and work their way up as they develop their skills. While this method has worked for many in the construction industry, it’s far from the quickest way to acquire lucrative skills.

Lastly, and the topic of this piece: apprenticeships!

What is implied with a construction apprenticeship? 

Apprenticeships are best defined as a learning arrangement between someone wanting to learn a specialized trade and an experienced professional or organization willing to take this student under their wing. How much does it cost to learn this way? Well, that’s where apprenticeships shine—they’ll usually pay you! That is, as long as you’re a dutiful worker. 

Construction apprenticeships may be structured through an individual, a construction company, or even a third-party organization. 

  • For individual apprenticeships, these usually come by way of knowing the right people—perhaps a family friend could use the help on some masonry jobs and could use the help of an apprentice who is willing to learn. 
  • A construction company may list out their apprenticeships along with the rest of their job postings. While they may not pay nearly as much as even less-specialized positions on their staff, they tend to have exponentially more career advancement potential. 
  • Some apprenticeships may also be hosted by third-party organizations, such as non-profits who work with companies or even government-sponsored programs. Some examples of these include Oklahoma Works, the Construction Industries Board, or Oklahoma Commerce.  

For many, apprenticeships remain a great way to learn a valuable trade and gain on-the-job experience for their resume while avoiding the debt pitfalls that usually come with financing secondary education. 

Looking for a construction apprenticeship in Oklahoma? 

Whether you’re looking to learn more about construction professionals in Oklahoma or to expand your career, you’re invited to learn more about Cowen Construction in Tulsa, OK