Military Experience Makes Great Apprentices

Military personnel make excellent tradesmen and tradeswomen. Most service members bring a unique set of qualities such as integrity, teamwork, leadership, determination and perseverance, all being ideal traits to work in the skilled trades.

Jobs in the skilled trades require attention to detail, ability to follow directions, good attendance and be a productive member, who demonstrates a sense of teamwork. In most cases, transitioning military members or veterans possess these marketable traits.

Members of the military can take advantage of the current need for highly trained and highly skilled construction workers by joining a Registered Apprenticeship Program.

By becoming an apprentice, military service members can earn a great wage, health care benefits and a pension through the earn and learn model. Registered Apprenticeship Programs vary in length and have a number of different requirements, depending on the specific trade.

Once someone completes their apprenticeship, they top out as a journeyman.

Members of the armed forces and veterans are encouraged to explore a career in the skilled construction trades for a number of reasons:

  • On-the-job training
  • Livable wages
  • Health insurance
  • Retirement benefits

A career in the construction trades will alleviate the stress of searching for a job while transitioning back into civilian life or help veterans earn the wages they deserve.  The careers available in the construction trades allow veterans to provide for their families, while enjoying an exciting, challenging and rewarding career.

There are a number of programs, which help transitioning service members train for a career in the skilled trades before completing their service.

Helmets to Hardhats

For all of the trades, there is a program called Helmets to Hardhats. For over a decade, this organization has made its mission to help military service members successfully transition back into civilian life by offering them the means to secure a quality career in the construction industry.


The award-winning United Association Veteran In Piping Program offers free 18-week career training to active-duty transitioning military service members. The men and women who successfully apply to UA VIP receive both a piping industry classroom education and hands-on lab work designed to prepare them for a guaranteed job with a UA contractor in an agreed upon geographical location after they leave the service. The UA VIP Program is located at seven bases throughout the country.

SMART Heroes

The Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation union has a program called SMART Heroes. This specialized program provides seven weeks of sheet metal industry training (equivalent to the first year of apprenticeship training) to enlisted men and women prior to their discharge from the military. Upon completion, graduates have the opportunity for employment at any of 148 apprentice programs in the U.S. and are provided advanced placement as a second-year apprentice.

electrical training Alliance (etA) logo

In the Electrical industry, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the electrical training ALLIANCE have established a seven-week, pre-apprenticeship training to place service members in an IBEW apprenticeship. The training provides an opportunity for servicemen and women in their final six months of duty to complete their first year of apprenticeship training in an intensive, full-time course to secure a direct entry agreement for when the student is ready to transition into civilian life and begin a successful IBEW career.