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Trades & Apprenticeship Information

What is the Difference Between Trade School and a Trade Apprenticeship in Oregon? 

Trade school in Oregon is found at your community colleges. You can use Oregon Promise to pay for trade school.

An Oregon TRADE APPRENTICESHIP (union or non-union) requires:

  • The student must be 18.

  • The student must have a driver's license. 

  • The student must be drug-free.

  • The student must have their DIPLOMA in hand.*

The high school diploma is an issue, for you! Why? You will not have your diploma until late June of your graduation year ~ even if you are an early grad. Thus, you will not be able to apply until you have passed your FAFSA/ORSAA deadlines & Oregon Promise deadlines.

Thus, if you are aiming for a trade apprenticeship, also file FAFSA/ORSAA and Oregon Promise by June 1st for regular graduates and by late January for early graduates! 

Aim and plan for two different pathways. See if the trade apprenticeship door opens. If it does not, you can go take classes in a trade program at any Oregon community college using Oregon Promise. 

Apprenticeship & Trade Videos

Apprenticeships: How They Work & Their Benefits By OSAC Oregon

Trades Step by Step Part 1- Overview of Apprenticeships & Pre-Apprenticeships for the Trades By OSAC Oregon


Apprenticeships are hands-on learning programs that expose students to real-life labor simulations. Much like an internship program, apprenticeships provide invaluable learning experiences in labor-intensive jobs. As an apprentice, you are treated like a full-time employee with a union membership attached. It’s an opportunity that gives you the chance to learn under the wing of an experienced professional.

Getting an apprenticeship license is a rewarding task but it comes with several perks and disadvantages. When it comes to apprentice training, these are the main things that need to be accounted for:

Apprenticeship Pros:

  • More hands-on training right away
  • Exposure to real-world labor scenarios
  • Paid learning experience
  • Apprentices earn higher wages
  • Education gained with no debt
  • Economical learning program
  • Creates a pathway towards your career
  • No need for a four-year degree

Apprenticeship Cons:

  • Good apprenticeship opportunities are hard to come by
  • Shorter holidays
  • Limited career options
  • Work schedule limitations
  • Redundancy of learning certain principles
  • Greater line of autonomy and responsibilities

Trade Schools

Attending a technical school can pave an exciting career path for you in any labor union group. Today, a large percentages of union workers have obtained a trade school education. This exciting training opportunity gives you the chance to learn new technical skills in an expedient amount of time. When you attend a trade school, you are a student learning the ropes from many experienced technicians.

Many people with union jobs have paid their union dues by attending trade schools. It’s a labor movement with many pros and cons. These are the things that must be accounted for if you are deciding on technical school:

Trade School Pros:

  • Instructional guidance
  • Personal development and sharper critical thinking
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Specialized training sessions
  • Better job experience
  • Takes 2 years or less to complete
  • Lessons from an experienced professional
  • Little to no tuition debt

Trade School Cons:

  • Larger financial commitment than an apprenticeship
  • No job guarantees
  • Limited availability of schools
  • Scope of work is only applicable to technical demands
  • Limited choice in career path

Oregon Trade & Apprenticeship Resources