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What is the cost of an apprenticeship program?
With so much news about the high cost of secondary education, you may be wondering what your cost will be to start an apprenticeship program. While a typical College or University program can be expensive and leave many graduates with significant debt and job uncertainty, apprenticeship programs offer a much lower cost path to a career that pays well and is in high demand. During an apprenticeship program, you spend most of the year training on the job. While you train, you receive an hourly wage that increases each year and eventually brings you up to a full journeyperson salary by the time you complete the program. In addition to hands-on training, apprentices attend in-school technical training sessions at community colleges, technical institutes or training centres typically for six to eight weeks. Tuition costs vary depending on the trade, however they are typically $200 to $800 per session. Additional expenses may include books, equipment, tools, registration fees and possibly travel expenses. In 2006-2007, apprentices paid about $1,400 a year for tuition, textbooks, registration fees and tools. In comparison, college cost about $2,100 for tuition alone, and university cost about $4,500. Although you do not earn a salary during the school portion of the apprenticeship program, you may qualify for income support via Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. In addition to on the job earnings and EI income, you may be eligible for loans, grants or scholarships. The Government of Canada currently offers apprentices in designated Red Seal trades up to $4,000 in grants to pay tuition, travel, tools or other expenses through the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG) and the Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG).
It is easy to see that training as an apprentice in the skilled trades is a win-win situation in which you get the benefit of both hands-on learning with an employer as well as classroom learning, with the added bonus of being paid as you learn on the job.