Frequently Asked Questions About Apprenticeship

What is the Carpenters' Union?

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters is North America’s largest building-trades union, with more than a half-million members in the construction and wood-products industries. We recognize that for the union to remain strong, our signatory contractors need to succeed in today’s highly competitive marketplace – and they do that with workers committed to safety, productivity, and the proud legacy of our Brotherhood. Skills, safety, and productivity have brought our members fair wages, good benefits, and dignity in work and retirement since the Brotherhood was founded in 1881.

You can learn more about the Carpenters Union by visiting these websites:
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

Where can I learn more about the crafts that make up the UBC

The UBC represents one trade with many crafts. Our members touch every aspect of a construction project; they’re frequently first on the job and the last to leave. Carpenters create commercial, residential, and institutional structures through the skill and experience that is established only by union training.

Carpenters measure, saw, level, and fasten wood and other building materials. They install tile and insulation, acoustical ceilings, cabinets, siding, and much more. They work with many tools and materials to build houses, schools, places of worship, and hotels. They erect skyscrapers, hospitals, office buildings, and prisons and construct bridges, tunnels, and highways.

Carpenters make up the largest single group of skilled workers in the country. To be a carpenter is to be a member of one of the oldest and most respected trades in the world, and our varied work today stems from the many products that once were made entirely of wood.

Our members have vastly different skill sets, but they share the pride and commitment to excellence that comes with being part of the Brotherhood.

Carpenters
Carpenters work in many settings, from the building of small residential homes, to the fabrication of the most complex industrial settings. They weld metals, mold plastics, saw wood, form concrete, build scaffolds and layout the tallest buildings. Their tools are hammers, saws, lasers, digital and electric devices, as well as basic organizational skills. Carpenters work in a variety of conditions and have a wide range of skill levels.

Floorcoverers
Floorcoverers are responsible for floor covering work in banks, insurance companies, hospitals, school systems, industrial plants, institutions of higher learning, multi-unit housing sectors, both within the public and private sector. This work involves the installation of carpeting, sheet vinyl, vinyl tile, ceramic tile, wood, and laminates. Floorcoverers are members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

Piledrivers
Piledrivers are trained in the use of tools, equipment and materials that allow them to perform a wide variety of construction jobs. These jobs include installation, repair and removal of piles and foundations, building bridges, docks and retaining walls. Other projects include tunnel and bulkhead construction, and building coffer dams. Piledrivers often work closely with carpenters and are members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

Millwright

The millwrights are precision craftsmen who install, upgrade, maintain, diagnose, and repair industries’ most complex and intricate machinery to ensure they operate in perfect working order.

Qualified Millwrights have a working knowledge of moving interconnected parts, including drive shafts, bearing, gearing, conveyors, gas, nuclear and steam turbines. They must often combine the skills of many trades in order to fabricate or assemble industrial machinery, install equipment within thousandths of an inch, and later diagnose and maintain the machinery.

 

 

The US Department of Labor O*Net website has some useful information about UBC Crafts that you may want to review:
Carpentry or Dry-Wall Applicator
Pile Driving or Commercial Diving
Floor Laying or Carpet Installers
Mill Cabinet

Millwright 

 

You can also learn more about the UBC Crafts by visiting these websites:
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is a training program where you earn wages while learning to become a skilled carpenter. Apprenticeship combines classroom studies with on-the-job training supervised by a trade professional. Much like a college education, it takes several years to become fully trained in the trade that you choose. Unlike college, though, as an apprentice, you’ll earn while you learn. At first, you’ll make less money than skilled workers; but as you progress, you’ll get regular raises. Once you have mastered the craft, you will receive professional wages.

Who can be an apprentice?

Any woman or man meeting the minimum requirements! Women, minorities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.

You must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid driver’s license.

What are the rewards of apprenticeship training?

The rewards of apprenticeship training are the good wages and benefits you receive as a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. There are over half a million U.B.C. members in the United States and Canada. You’ll be working under the protection of a union contract for a good contractor. This means you will become eligible to have health insurance, a pension, and an annuity. It pays to be the best you can be: a well trained Union Carpenter.

Why is apprenticeship training best for me?

Having a desire to make a career in any facet of the carpentry trade is a commendable aspiration, but one which is often not easily attained. The knowledge of how to perform these tasks safely, proficiently, and correctly is a skill which historically has been handed down generation to generation, from one skilled craftsman to the next. History has proven that knowledge of only one limited aspect of the trade is never enough. To be successful in a career in the construction industry, a craftsman needs a well-rounded knowledge not only of the work in which he or she personally specializes, but how his or her work affects and ties in with all the other tradesmen and the particular tasks which they perform. By completing the 4,000 to 8,000 hours of work experience required to complete the apprentice program and become a journeyman through this program, you will be among the best, most well trained, well rounded, and most desirable candidates available for employment in this industry.

What do you mean by apprenticeship training?
  • An apprentice is someone who is learning a trade by working under the guidance of skilled workers called journeymen. It’s on-the-job training. You earn while you learn and are paid a wage from the first day you’re hired by a contractor.
  • To make a career in any facet of the carpentry trade requires the knowledge of how to perform these tasks safely, proficiently, and correctly.
  • Carpentry is a skill which historically has been handed down from one skilled craftsman to the next. History has proven that knowledge of only one limited aspect of the trade is never enough.
  • By completing the 4,000 to 8,000 hours of on-the-job training “work experience” required to complete the apprenticeship program and become a journeyman, you will be among the best, most well trained, well rounded, and most desirable candidates available for employment in this industry.
What are some benefits of apprenticeship?
  • Paid “scholarship” with supervised training
  • Progressively increasing wage with excellent benefits
  • Nationally recognized credential: Apprenticeship Certificate
  • Improved job security and standard of living
  • Opportunity for college credit
  • Pride and dignity of completing the most comprehensive vocational carpentry training program offered anywhere
How can I apply to become an apprentice?

In order to apply, you MUST attend an Information Session at our Edison Facility. Information Sessions are posted under “Become an Apprentice” and “How to Apply” tab on the Home Page. Your Pre Registeration reserves your  seat. If you can not attend, please email the school @ traininginfo@ncatf.org to remove you name from our reservation list, so another person can be afforded this opportunity.

This information session will cover:

  • The  6 Career Trades taught at our facilities
  • A snap shot of daily job duties
  • Your future pay & benefits structure.
  • A Question & Answer period will follow.
What do I need to apply for the Apprenticeship?

You will need a code given to you at the completion of your information session to access and begin the online Application.

Be prepared to supply personnel contact information, select a trade to apply to, Upload education transcripts, & work history documentation to successfully complete your application to the NCATF.

This information needs to be completed timely, within 7 days of the information session. After the 7 days your code and application will expire and you will need to attend another information session and repeat the process.

What can I do to better prepare myself for acceptance into the apprenticeship program?

It is important to realize that applications are assessed both in the context of an applicants particular application and in the context of an extremely competitive applicant pool. No minimum grade point average, class rank, specific training or experience is required to apply or to be accepted. However, the more thorough your application the more competitive your application will be. Finally, applicants competitive in our applicant pool reveal themselves and their personalities in well-written personal statements. Rather than tell us facts about themselves, they show us their uniqueness in a variety of different ways.

Some suggestions to Improve your application:

Before you enter any apprenticeship program, you should try to learn as much as you can about the specific apprenticeship program and the sponsoring organizations.

In work or in study, you should try to get some significant exposure to the specific craft you are interested in applying to. The US Department of Labor O*Net website has some useful information about UBC crafts that you may want to review:
Carpentry or Dry-Wall Applicator
Pile Driving or Commercial Diving
Floor Laying or Carpet Installers
Mill Cabinet
It is very valuable to take some outside classes in carpentry or related fields. We would strongly encourage you to take some courses or review basic mathematics, such as:

What is the test like?

The test is a combination of math and reading comprehension. A practice test can be found on our website at LINK

What grade do I need to pass the test?

You must pass the written test with a score of 70% or better.

Can I take a practice test?

A practice test is available on our website at LINK.

What happens after I take the test?

Once you pass the test, you will go on the wait list to be interviewed by the Local Union you are applying to. If your interview is successful, you will be scheduled for a physical and drug test when the Local has a need to recruit new apprentices.

How long is the waiting period?

We never estimate wait times as all recruitment is driven by the individual needs of each Local Union. Each stage in the recruitment process warrants different lengths of wait time.

Do I have to pass a drug test?

All prospective candidates must pass both a physical and drug test at the end of the recruitment process prior to being accepted into the program. The physical and drug tests are scheduled by the Training Centers.

Can women join?

Yes! Women are more than welcome to apply to the program through our regular recruitment process. Additionally, we have a Sisters in the Brotherhood (SIB) Pre-apprentice Program designed specifically for women that runs multiple times per year. Since the regular recruitment process is not always open, women are encouraged to contact the Edison Training Center and register for an informational session for the SIB Pre-apprentice Program. More information regarding the program can be found at LINK.