Skip to Content
Agencies | Governor
Search Virginia.Gov


About DOLI

Best State for Business Ranking Best State for Business Ranking Best State for Business Ranking


Regional Offices Location Map Abingdon Field Office Lynchburg Field Office Roanoke Regional Office Verona Field Office Manassas Field Office Richmond Headquarters Tidewater Regional Office Central Virginia Regional Office

1938-2018  Happy 80th Anniversary Virginia Registered Apprenticeship!

10 Questions

10 Questions to Consider

10 Steps to Consider

10 Steps to Land Your Dream Job


Overview: Virginia Registered Apprenticeship Program

Registered Apprenticeship was established in Virginia in 1938 with the signing of the Virginia Apprenticeship Act. Registered Apprenticeship has been an employment training solution that serves the business community in attracting employees and providing mentorship and industry specific training creating skilled, productive journey workers. In Virginia, the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) maintains approximately 15,000 apprentices serving in the private and public sectors, and in the military settings. Approximately 2,200 employers participate as sponsors of Registered Apprenticeship programs.

Registered Apprenticeship Basics

An employer registers with DOLI as a sponsor in one or more occupations that are approved, apprenticeable occupations. The employer recruits and selects their apprentices in the manner of their choosing. Apprentices receive wages when they begin work, and receive pay increases as they meet benchmarks for skill attainment. This rewards and motivates apprentices as they advance through their training. An apprentice must be paid at least the minimum federal hourly wage.

Structured On-the-Job Training

Apprenticeship always includes an on-the-job training (OJT) component. Apprentices receive hands-on training from an experienced mentor at the job site in the specified occupation. A registered apprentice completes a minimum of 2,000 hours of supervised OJT. Workplace training focuses on the skills and knowledge an apprentice must learn during the program to be fully proficient on the job. This training is based on national industry standards customized to the needs of the particular employer. Work hours are recorded by the apprentice and approved by their supervisor.

Apprenticeship Related Instruction

One of the unique aspects of a Registered Apprenticeship Program is that it combines OJT with related technical instruction which provides academic knowledge correlating to the occupation. DOLI’s Apprenticeship Related Educational Specialist and Consultants collaborate with business to source the curriculum, which often incorporates established national-level skill standards. A minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction is required for each year of an apprenticeship. The related instruction may be provided by community colleges, technical schools, online or on-site by the company/sponsor

Nationally-recognized Credential

Upon completion of a Registered Apprenticeship program, the apprentice receives a nationally recognized credential which consists of a Completion Certificate and journeyworker card. This is a portable credential that signifies to employers that employees with the journey worker status are fully qualified for the job.

Overview:  Virginia Youth Registered Apprenticeship

One of DOLI’s missions is to improve opportunities for businesses and employees in the Commonwealth and to contribute to economic development and quality of life for all Virginians. One opportunity is a Youth Registered Apprenticeship (YRA) program.  Through a coordinated effort involving business and industry, YRA addresses the dual role of preparing students for the world of work and providing Virginia with a highly skilled workforce.

Local school systems can work with business and industry partners to identify opportunities for youth employment based upon the occupational instruction offered at the school.

The objective of YRA is to expand the state’s skilled workforce by providing young people with career opportunities while completing their high school education.    Part-time student apprenticeship is available to students where programs have been established in accordance with agreements with local public school divisions.

Youth Registered Apprenticeship:  A Stepping Stone to a Career

Youth Registered Apprenticeship (YRA) integrates school-based and work-based learning to help students gain employability and occupational skills.  Local programs provide training based on statewide youth apprenticeship curriculum guidelines, endorsed by business and industry. Students are instructed by qualified teachers and skilled journeyworker worksite experts.

Students are simultaneously enrolled in academic classes to meet high school graduation requirements and in occupation specific related instruction classes.  Once an employer becomes an approved YRA sponsor, the student is hired and registered as an apprentice. The participating sponsor/employer provides supervision of a skilled mentor and the student continues on with the Career Technical Education (CTE) training at his/her school.

Youth Registered Apprenticeship Key Elements

·    Industry-developed skill standards
·    Safety education
·    Exposure to industry
·    Skilled mentors assigned to train the students
·    Paid on-the-job work experience that meets Occupational Program Requirements
·    Related classroom instruction concurrent with work-based learning
·    Curriculum guidelines for all programs
·    Performance evaluation of demonstrated competencies
·    State-issued YRA Certificate of Participation is an entrance to Registered Apprenticeship Program
·    YRA Timeline

High school juniors or seniors may be eligible for employment with a company depending on the hours and skill sets that may be required.  Establishing a YRA program begins a process of building a career pathway for a student with a possibility of obtaining several credentials or working toward college degrees. Part-time employment and hours worked will be determined by the company. All work hours will be documented and will be credited toward the completion of a Registered Apprenticeship program. There are no minimum or maximum work hour requirements in the program. The related technical instruction will start from the high school CTE programs and may meet one or two years of the related instruction required for a Registered Apprentice Program.

A DOLI Registered Apprenticeship Consultant will work with each school system in conjunction with business and industry partners, students and parents to ensure that the objectives are met for each program. Once job opportunities have been identified, the school will facilitate the hiring process working with the employers’ needs.

Youth Apprenticeship Facts

1.   An occupation, in order to be apprenticeable is defined as:
a.   learned in a practical way;
b.   clearly identifiable and recognized throughout an industry;
c.   involves manual, mechanical or technical skills which require at least 2000 hours of on the job training;
d.   requires a minimum of 144 hours of related technical  instruction.

2.   YRA programs are subject to the same ratios of supervision which govern registered apprenticeship (typically one journeyworker to one apprentice).

3.   Youth apprentices must be employed in occupations not considered hazardous or in one of the occupations considered hazardous containing a regulatory exception for apprentices and student learners (further guidelines provided).

4.   Wages must be based on a progressive wage schedule.

5.   The following apply to high school apprentices:

a.   The minimum age is 16;
b.   Apprenticeship may be part-time or full-time (summer hours);
c.   Upon graduation, apprentices may continue as full-time adult apprentices, subject to all  standard  on-the-job  and  related  instruction  requirements,  if  they  and  their employer agree;

school diploma. They must be in good standing with their educational institution and must maintain passing grades and have satisfactory attendance;
e.   Youth apprentices will be cancelled if the student leaves school.
f.    Youth  apprenticeship  requires  the  Apprenticeship  Agreement  and   registration requirements as standard apprenticeship.
g.   Youth must be enrolled in CTE programs.
h.   Students must have a Training Agreement form (Department of Education) signed by the student, parent, employer, teacher, coordinator and school administrator prior to registration.
i.   YRA certificates, which recognize participation in an apprenticeship
program, are prepared by the DOLI and presented to students at their high school graduation exercises.

Virginia ’s  Child  Labor  Laws  Regarding  Youth  Employment

The Department of Labor and Industry and the U.S. Department of Labor are committed to helping young workers find those positive and early employment experiences that can be so important to their development, but the work must be safe. The youth employment provisions were enacted to ensure that when young people work, the work does not jeopardize their health, well-being or educational opportunities.

Both Federal and State laws govern the employment of young workers and when both are applicable, the law with the stricter standard must be obeyed.

Statutory authority for youth registered apprenticeship programs can be found in the Code of Virginia, Chapter 5 (Child Labor) Sections 40.1-78 through 40.1-116 and Chapter 6 (Voluntary Apprenticeship) Sections 40.1-117 through 40.1-126.

1. Apprentices aged 16 and 17, regardless of whether they are student or standard apprentices, are not permitted to participate in the following occupations:

a. Manufacturing or storage occupations involving explosives;
b. Occupations of motor vehicle drivers and outside helpers;
c. Logging and sawmilling occupations;
d. Occupations involving exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiation;
e. Power-driven hoisting apparatus occupations;
f. Occupations in connection with any mining operation;
g. Occupations involving excavation operations;
h. Occupations involved in the manufacture of brick, tile, and kindred products; i. Occupations involved in wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking operations; j. Fire-fighting.
k. Other prohibited duties referenced in 16VAC15-30-200 and occupations.

There  are  some  occupations  recognized  as  hazardous  that  student  apprentices  are permitted to participate in before they reach the age of 18. Section 40.1-100 A.9. of the Code of Virginia permits persons 16 and 17 who are registered apprentices to participate in the following occupations because of an exemption provided by the regulation. Below is the list of hazardous occupations that contain the exemption allowing persons 16 and
17 to participate. The citation in parentheses is the regulation that governs the particular occupation:

a. Power-driven woodworking machine occupations (16VAC15-30-60);
b. Power-driven metal forming, punching, and shearing machine occupations (16VAC15-30-90);
c. Occupations involving slaughtering, meat-packing orprocessing orrendering (16VAC15-30-110);
d. Power-driven paper products machine occupations (16VAC15-30-130);
e. Occupations involved in the operation of power-driven circular saws, band saws and guillotine shears (16VAC15-30-150);
f. Occupations in roofing operations (16VAC15-30-170)
g. Power-driven bakery machine occupations (16VAC15-30-120)

Next Step

The Department of Labor and Industry, Division of Registered Apprenticeship will continue to develop and disseminate information to promote YRA for High School Students.

For more information about YRA please contact:


Attachment I: U.S. Department of Labor, Guide on Child Labor Laws for Apprentice Minor

Attachment I.


Federal and State Child Labor Laws:
§    The USDOL Wage and Hour Division enforces Federal child labor laws, as authorized under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938.

§    While Federal law addresses child labor, many states have enacted more stringent laws that further define how Registered Apprenticeship programs can operate. The FLSA does not preempt state laws that impose stricter standards. Please consult State Child Labor Laws: ( Note, in some states, minor workers may be required to obtain a work permit.

Minimum Age for Employment under FLSA:

·    Minors must be age 16 to work in nonagricultural employment for unlimited hours in occupations not declared hazardous by law.
·    Minors must be age 18 to work in nonagricultural employment in occupations declared as hazardous. However, there are certain exceptions from the hazardous occupation orders for individuals employed as apprentices.

(1) Under the FLSA, 14 is the minimum age for nonagricultural employment in specified occupations outside of school hours for limited periods of time each day and each week.
HO 5.* Occupations involved in the operation of power-driven woodworking machines.
HO 8.* Occupations involved in the operation of power-driven metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines.
HO 10. Occupations involved in the operation of power-driven meat-processing machines and occupations involving slaughtering, meat and poultry packing or processing (including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines) or rendering. HO 12.* Occupations involved in the operation of balers, compactors, and paper-products machines.
HO 14.* Occupations involved in the operation of circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs.
HO 16.* Occupations in roofing operations and all work on or about a roof.
HO 17.* Occupations in excavation operations.

Hazardous Occupation Exemptions for Apprentices Age 18 and under:
·    Only nonagricultural Hazardous Occupations Orders (HO) Nos. 5, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 17 contain exemptions for 16- and 17-year-old apprentices.
·    These exemptions apply when: 1) apprentices are employed in an apprenticable trade; 2) the hazardous work is incidental to his or her training; 3) such work is intermittent and for  short  periods  of  time  under  direct  and  close  supervision  of  a  journeyman  as  a necessary part of the apprenticeship training; and 4) the apprentice is registered with DOL (or state agency) or is employed under a written apprenticeship agreement which is found by the Secretary of Labor to conform substantially with such federal or state standards (see 29 C.F.R. 570.50(b).
·    For minors engaged in agricultural occupations, no specific exemptions are listed for apprentices’ involvement in hazardous activities. Exceptions from the agricultural hazardous occupation orders are provided for various student learners.
See 29 C.F.R.570.72.

Child Labor Law Resources:
§    Federal Child Labor Law Guidance from USDOL’s Wage and Hour Division:
§    Child Labor Bulletin 101: on FLSA which contains certain exemptions on hazardous activities and wages for minor apprentices working in nonagricultural occupations.
§    Child Labor Bulletin 102: on FLSA which contains regulations for minors engaged in agricultural occupations.
§    Youth Rules! Website:
§    Resources on States’ Child Labor Laws:

Employment - Public Records - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy - VOSH Training - Site Map - Contact Us - Feedback - YouTube
Virginia Department of Labor and Industry - Headquarters: Main Street Centre Bldg. 600 East Main Street, Suite 207, Richmond, Virginia 23219-4101
Telephone Number - Office: 804.371.2327 TDD: Fax: 804.786.2376 - Our Hours are from 8:15 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday - Friday