What is a Trade School?

What Are The Benefits & Where Can I Work?

Trade Schools, also known as Vocational Schools, are a type of educational institution designed to teach technical skills and theory-based principles in preparation for direct entry into the workforce or to supplement post-secondary education while in the workforce.

Students who chose to participate in a trade school or vocational school often pursue employment and career training in the skilled trades. Apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship are key components of this system, supporting job and career advancement opportunities for skilled workers in industries such as advanced manufacturing, food processing, maritime manufacturing, space exploration, automation, aerospace and defense, medical manufacturing, plastics, transportation, logistics, clean energy, and computer electronics.

The benefit of trade or vocational schools is the direct transfer of knowledge from skilled professionals to students or apprentices through one-on-one mentorship and instruction. Curriculum developed by trade schools is often created in collaboration with industry leaders, local businesses, and subject matter experts to ensure students are taught the most relevant skills needed that for industry.

Apprentices enrolled through AJAC work at companies that have agreed to enroll their employees as apprentices, also known as partnering employers or training agents. These employers hand-select their employees who aspire to become journeymen and women. Once enrolled, apprentices can immediately begin to record their on-the-job training hours and will begin to take their required apprenticeship classes (see more below).

Earn A Certificate or Journey-Level Credential Through AJAC

Upon completion of a trade school or vocational school, students will earn either an industry-recognized certificate or journey-level credential. These credentials verify the student or apprentice has met the program requirements for practical and theory based learning.

The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) is registered through the State of Washington to offer both a pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs for Washington State residents.

Certificate Programs | Pre-Apprenticeship

The Manufacturing Academy, a pre-apprenticeship program developed by AJAC, is a short-term, certificate-based program that prepares students for entry-level employment in aerospace and advanced manufacturing and serves as a springboard to next-step career training through apprenticeship. .

Manufacturing Academy students learn both soft skills and technical skills such as applied math, blueprint reading, interview techniques, and industry tours with AJAC partnering companies. Upon completion, students have the basic foundational skills to find gainful entry-level employment and meet the minimum qualifications to pursue additional career pathways in advanced manufacturing through AJAC’s portfolio of apprenticeship programs.

Journey-Level Credential | Apprenticeship

In Washington State, to earn a journey-level credential, apprentices must be enrolled in a program approved by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, the governing body of apprenticeships in Washington.

Students interested in becoming an AJAC apprentice can pursue opportunities in occupations such as machinist, industrial maintenance technician, metal fabricator, tool and die maker, machine operator, production technician, automation technician, and plastic process technician.

Each apprenticeship program’s competencies vary by the occupation, and range from two to five years in length. Apprentices spend 93% of their time learning hands-on with mentors while working full-time for a partnering company. 7% of each apprenticeship also includes related supplemental instruction, more commonly known as RSI. Apprenticeship RSI classes, taught by industry professionals, teach the theory behind the occupation by connecting skills and concepts from the classroom to the shop floor.

Upon completion, AJAC apprentices receive a certificate of completion and a nationally-recognized journey-level card from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

How Do I Get Started?

Whether you are looking to become a pre-apprentice or apprentice, AJAC offers a variety of pathways for individuals to skill-up and find rewarding careers within the advanced manufacturing industries. Students can complete our Getting Started form at any time to submit their information to AJAC.

To learn about our pre-apprenticeship, the Manufacturing Academy, please visit: https://www.ajactraining.org/apprenticeship/pre-apprenticeships/

To learn how you can become an apprentice, please visit: https://www.ajactraining.org/apprenticeship/getting-started/.