Many professionals and students who are entering a new industry turn to job-oriented training programs to get their first taste of a field.
Job-based learning programs are great for individuals looking to enter a new field or transition from their current one. Some of these programs pay participants, while others require participants to pay a small fee.
Job-oriented training programs can help students learn applicable skills faster than traditional education courses. Identifying which type of job-based training program is right for you can be done by looking at the specific details of each type of course.
There are multiple types of job-based learning programs, with some of the most popular being apprenticeships, internships and on-the-job training programs. Apprenticeships are paid options that are most popular in trades and mechanical fields and often lead to a professional qualification and academic credit. Internships are more common in other industries like business, engineering and the natural sciences. They may be paid or unpaid and can often be put towards a student’s academic degree.
On the job training programs may be entry-level positions that include a training program or academic programs focused on professional development. There are several pros and cons to all types of job-based learning opportunities. Keep reading to learn more about job-oriented training programs available today.
Trade and Professional Apprenticeships
Several industries and trades welcome students to complete apprenticeships in the field. Through an apprenticeship, students begin spending part or all of their training time in the field with professionals already possessing the qualifications the students are working towards. By working directly underneath qualified professionals, students gain firsthand experience in their area of interest while networking with their peers and mentors.
In most cases, apprenticeships pay students an entry-level wage for their initial period of employment, before the student earns the necessary qualifications to begin completing the job on their own. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, apprenticeships are meant to operate on an earn-to-learn exchange of information and resources.
Students can find apprenticeships to become a dentist, carpenter, child care specialist, electrician, welder and much more. Unlike many internships, many apprenticeship programs do not require students to be working towards a college degree. For many students, apprenticeships are a more affordable and efficient alternative to attending a four year college and possibly an internship program.
Some apprenticeship programs have strict age requirements for enrollees, limiting participants to those between 16 and 24 years of age for example.
Typical apprenticeship programs combine education with on the job training for a period of one to four years. At the completion of the program, students are expected to have gained the knowledge and experience needed to earn the industry-specific qualifications necessary to work independently.
Many apprenticeship programs also include a career development element that helps successful students find gainful employment upon completion of the program. Students can expect an apprenticeship program to include at least 2,000 of on the job training and a minimum of 144 hours of classroom-based instruction. Students can find more and more apprenticeships available in industries like healthcare and technology that facilitate entrance into the field.
Academic and Professional Internships
Internships are similar to apprenticeships in many industries but are generally less rigorous and time-intensive. Students of almost any industry can find an internship in their field because internships are much less regulated than apprenticeship programs.
Through an internship, students gain on the job experience in a certain job role or company type for a set period of time. Sometimes students receive a small wage for their work but oftentimes internships are unpaid job-based training programs.
Students who are currently working towards an academic degree can usually earn academic credit for their participation in an approved internship program. Some internship programs are only open to students who are currently enrolled in an accredited academic program.
Thanks to there being less limitations on the structure of internships, interested students can find many types of internship programs to learn about various aspects of a field of position. Many students use internships to get an idea of whether they would like to pursue further studies or development in a given industry or for a given job role.
Some established professionals use internships to test out the transferability of their skillset and decide whether they would like to transition to a new sector. Internships can be completed in person or online.
Many students think that getting an internship is not feasible because they cannot afford to work for free. While there are more unpaid internships available on the market than paid opportunities, interested students should make sure they find and apply to the few programs that do offer compensation. Many institutes of higher education and nonprofit organizations are willing to help pay an intern to work for a program that cannot compensate the intern, so interested students should also try to find information on these types of funding options.
While interning at a company for free or a lower wage than usual is not an attractive option on its face, students and professionals should remember that it is common for internships to turn into jobs at the successful completion of a program. Working as an intern may be the only way for students to get their proverbial foot into the door of a new industry.
On-The-Job Training Programs
Companies and organizations in a wide range of industries also offer new professionals in their fields the opportunity to take advantage of on-the-job training programs. While internships and apprenticeships are both specific types of on-the-job training, some companies have their own types of entry-level and advanced training programs. Sometimes, these programs help new graduates gain a comprehensive understanding of a new industry or company approach.
Other companies use on-the-job training to develop their current employees in ways that can be useful to both the company and individual workers in the future. In most cases, training performed on the job is done in an informal environment by company managers, administrators and coworkers.
Many companies and organizations embrace various forms of on-the-job training for a few different reasons. When training new recruits, they can help shape the employee’s work style and understanding of the industry from the beginning. This helps establish company loyalty and work efficiency.
New employees are happy for the training because they can gain new skills and work their way up in a company organization that they are interested in. Through this type of training, employees are able to benefit greatly from the mentorship of their peers in the industry while building a strong network of colleagues.
Another popular type of on-the-job training program is dedicated to existing employees who would like to expand their skillset. These employee development programs are great for strengthening the company’s workforce and their expertise in their industry. From the perspective of employees, advanced learning opportunities keep their jobs interesting and help them understand where they would like to take their career in the future.
While many companies have some form of on-the-job training program, some do not advertise their internal development processes. In these cases, employees should inquire directly with the company’s Human Resources department to get more information.