Apprentice Program

Below you’ll find some frequently asked questions and answers regarding the Apprentice Program.

Any person meeting the minimum requirements may apply to become a carpenter apprentice. Women, minorities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.

Apprenticeship is a training program where you earn wages while learning to become a skilled carpenter. Apprenticeship combines classroom studies with on-the-job training supervised by a trade professional. Much like a college education, it takes several years to become fully trained in the trade that you choose except you get paid while coming to school and also during the on-the-job training.

The rewards of apprenticeship training are the good wages and benefits you receive as a member in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (over a half million members in the United States and Canada). These members work for qualified contractors under the protection of union contracts. This means you will become eligible to have health insurance, a pension and an annuity.

Wanting a career in any part of the carpentry trade is a worthy goal, but it is often difficult to achieve. Historically, the knowledge needed to perform the tasks safely, proficiently and correctly was handed down generation to generation, from one skilled craftsman to the next. History proves the knowledge of only one aspect of a trade limits apprentices from reaching their full potential. Therefore, craftsmen need to understand both the work they specialize in and how it might affect and relate to the particular tasks of other tradesmen.

By completing the nearly 6,000 hours of work experience required to graduate the training program, apprentices gain journeyman status and become the best trained, most well-rounded and preferred candidates available for employment in the carpentry industry.

An apprentice is someone who is learning a trade by working under the guidance of skilled workers called journeymen. It’s on-the-job training. You earn while you learn and are paid a wage from the first day you’re hired by a contractor.

  • Paid “scholarship” with supervised training
  • Progressively increasing wages with excellent benefits
  • Nationally recognized credential: Apprenticeship Certificate
  • Improved job security and standard of living
  • Opportunity for college credits
  • Pride and dignity of completing the most comprehensive vocational carpentry training program offered anywhere

Pre-apprenticeship offers persons wishing to join the union with no experience the training necessary to work as beginning carpenters. There are three pre-apprentice programs:

  • General Carpentry @ 9 weeks
  • Concrete Form Builders @ 9 weeks
  • Mill Cabinet @ 9 weeks.

Most apprenticeships last four years. Apprentices attend one week of training every three months as long as they have work hours. The exact rate of pay depends on the type of carpentry program that apprentices are enrolled in. The standard rate for an apprentice is:

  • 1st Year @ 40% of journeyman wages
  • 2nd Year @ 50% of journeyman wages
  • 3rd Year @ 65% of journeyman wages
  • 4th Year @ 80% of journeyman wages.

Yes. A “NON-REFUNDABLE” Application Processing Fee of $25.00 (Cashier’s Check or Money Order – NO CASH) must be submitted with all applications.

There is an application fee of $25.00 and the purchase of the books needed for your apprenticeship costing approximately $225.00. That is all you will have to pay the training program. In fact, you will be paid a stipend during the week that you are attending school. It’s a scholarship for you to earn a career without the debt associated with college degrees.

Registration Process

When the referral agencies are notified by the Apprenticeship Program that openings are available, the Locals will notify the applicants. The applicants must come to the Apprenticeship Program Office located at 1256 Estes Avenue, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 to fill out an application and begin the registration process.

The office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. At that time, applicants must meet the minimum qualifications and present the prescribed documents.

Each applicant who meets all of the criteria shall be eligible to take the Aptitude and Qualifying Tests required for entry in the program. Tests are held at various times, measuring reading comprehension, mathematic computation, reasoning power and natural talent for carpentry. Applicants are notified by mail of testing dates and times.

Following the Aptitude Tests, a mandatory Orientation Session is held for all applicants.