Construction Industry Apprenticeships: Kickstart Your Career
solar installation construction worker

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships provide a high-quality, hands-on education pathway that can prepare individuals for industry-specific careers. They are a great way to gain the necessary work experience while learning a trade.

In most cases, apprenticeships are offered through an employer or program sponsor and are open to people from all backgrounds and education. They provide the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a particular industry as well as gain an advantage in the job market.

The programs typically involve on-the-job training, mentorship from experienced professionals, and classroom instruction. Once an apprenticeship is complete, individuals have a nationally recognized credential and valuable experience that can help them in future jobs.

Apprenticeships ensure a long successful career

Charting a successful career path can seem like a daunting endeavor.

Long-term happiness depends on finding a profession that has meaning and aligns with your interests, values, and basic skills. This will probably require some self-evaluation and soul searching. While it may seem like overkill, exercising due diligence on these efforts will ultimately set you up to excel at every job along the way.

For those interested in a career in construction, apprenticeships are a great way to gain the skillset and experience necessary to continue progressing into more advanced roles and ultimately reach future career goals.

Benefits of an apprenticeship

While some apprenticeships are unpaid, there are many paid apprenticeships that offer a great salary while learning on the job. Combining the ability to earn a living while getting a valuable education will help you have a work-life balance and follow a great career path with no tuition debt.­­­­

An apprenticeship in construction is a truly hands-on and engaging experience. While some days may be spent in a classroom, most days are on a jobsite working with mentors and veterans in the construction industry. Connecting and networking with seasoned construction workers is a great way to see what kind of future you can have, even without a diploma or degree.

Types of construction apprenticeships

For skilled trades, Mortenson offers different “earn while you learn” apprenticeship paths that take two to four years to complete – depending on the chosen focus and operating group. Some of our apprenticeships and general descriptions of work include:

Heavy Equipment Operator

Program length: 2-3 years
Uses machinery to move building supplies, dirt, and other materials on construction sites. The work includes using heavy equipment such as a dozer, loader, scraper, crane, Bobcat/skid-steer, and others that prepare land and construction sites for building structures, roads, and more.


Program length: 4 years
Works with and learns directly from a licensed or master electrician about common electrical systems and their installation, maintenance, and repair. While upholding the latest safety measures for installation, the work can include troubleshooting and repairing equipment, installing and/or replacing wiring for underground cabling and overhead lines, substation construction and connecting the project power grid to the existing distribution system.


Program length: 3-4 years
Assists in construction operations and following building specifications. Utilizing tools, heavy equipment and analyzing blueprints for essential components of the project. The work involves a variety of tasks like building structures, handling, and erection of materials (wood, vinyl, concrete, etc.), rough carpentry (hand-set walls, footings, drywall, setting gang wall forms, etc.), finish carpentry (doors, frames, hardware, cabinetry, etc.), and setting up and maintaining safety measures for job sites.


Program length: 2-3 years
Structural iron and steel workers erect, place, weld, fabricate, and join steel girders, columns, and other pieces to form structural frameworks. Most of the work involves erecting new structures, but some ironworkers also help demolish and rehabilitate older buildings and bridges.

Construction Laborer

Program length: 2 years
Performs tasks that involve physical labor on the construction site, such as loading and unloading equipment and maintaining a clean and safe job site. Learning about and working with tools and equipment (power and non-powered) such as hand tools, drills and jackhammers, forklifts, skid loaders, and power buggies.

How to become an apprentice with Mortenson

Start by applying for a skilled craft job with Mortenson. Once you have started your employment with us, you can apply to one of the apprenticeship programs we offer. However, your success in a Mortenson construction apprenticeship program depends on your determination and goals.

Advice from our apprenticeship program leader:

  • Show up on time all the time
  • Be totally committed to working hard every day
  • Ensure your safety and those working around you

By following these three pieces of advice, you can succeed in an apprenticeship, and you don't necessarily need a diploma or a degree. Check out our construction apprentice opportunities and connect with a recruiter to see what paths are available.

Priming your career opportunities

Once you successfully complete an apprentice program, you’ll have the skills and knowledge needed to be setup for success. If leadership skills are demonstrated during the apprenticeship, this can greatly increase the chances of a management role on a construction team.

The education received can also be applicable to other careers, not just in the construction industry. When a hiring manager sees the apprenticeship credential, it communicates a strong work ethic and ability to learn new skills on the job.

This experience can also help increase consideration when applying for promotions or higher-level positions within the construction industry. It’s possible to start as an apprentice and ultimately work your way up to a Superintendent position which has an estimated total pay range between $80,000 – $117,000 per year depending on location and labor competitiveness, according to

When looking at options to start a career, apprenticeships offer an education and a job rolled into one. Taking advantage of the “earn while you learn” concept can provide a strong foundation for a long and stable career in construction.