The process for becoming a union apprentice is different across many unions and trades, but they all follow similar guidelines. To be considered for apprenticeship, the candidate must usually complete some sort of pre-apprenticeship training program. These are often offered at community colleges, universities, high schools, vocational training centers and some unions directly.
Select the trade that you would like to work in before beginning your apprenticeship training. For example, the training programs for elevator workers and electricians are very different from one another. Find an organization in your area that provides pre-apprenticeship training.
Enroll in the pre-apprenticeship training course. Most of these will require at least moderate tuition fees, but some offer perks, such as subsidized tools and job placement assistance. Some unions receive substantial federal funds to subsidize pre-apprenticeship training programs for individuals who qualify. A high school diploma is required for the vast majority of pre-apprenticeship training programs.
Complete your pre-apprenticeship training course and take any standardized tests that might be required for you to apply for an apprenticeship. Pre-apprenticeship programs also usually require a physical fitness test. Unions look closely at test scores to determine who they will hire as an apprentice. The waiting lists for some trades in some areas can be substantial.
Apply for an apprenticeship with the local union council of your choice. Do not expect to get an apprenticeship immediately. Make friends in the trade in which you would like to work. Apply to multiple contractors that hire union members. Perseverance will increase your chances of success. Inquire about job placement programs affiliated with the pre-apprenticeship program you completed.
Consider re-taking your pre-apprenticeship exams to improve your score to increase your attractiveness to potential union employers. Think about applying for jobs with your local, state or the federal government as well to expand your opportunities.