Want to know more about apprenticeship in the trades?  Watch these videos to explore your future career!

General Videos:
Apprenticeship:  The Original Four Year Degree, WA State


What is a Green Job?


Working in the Construction Industry


Trade Specific Videos: 
Boilermaker – Boilermakers are complete metal fabricators who build and repair ships, fishing boats, ferries, barges, cranes, offshore drilling platforms, boilers, tanks, pressure vessels, plate and structural fabrications.  Boilermakers perform welding, automatic and manual burning, blueprint reading, layout and template making, CAD (computer aided drawings), rigging, operation of mobile and stationary cranes, operation of shears, brakes, rolls, drill press, saws and all other metal fabrication equipment.


Boilermaker Career


Bricklayer -Bricklayers construct walls, fireplaces, commercial buildings, schools, as well as furnaces, kilns and other structures using brick, block, stone, and marble and granite.  Tilesetters install ceramic tile, marble, and granite on a variety of surfaces such as walls, floors, countertops, pools, showers, tubs, and the exterior of buildings.  There are also apprenticeships available in the trades of building restoration, caulking, and terrazzo.  These are specialized trades with good career potential.  


Bricklayer, why you should become one


Brickmasons and Blockmasons-Lay and bind building materials, such as brick, structural tile, concrete block, cinder block, glass block, and terra-cotta block, with mortar and other substances to construct or repair walls, partitions, arches, sewers, and other structures.


Building Inspector-Building inspectors check structures for structural flaws, safety issues (extremely flammable materials, missing fire alarms, malfunctioning sprinklers) and anything that may violate a local or national building code.


Bulldozer Operator-Operates tractor equipped with concave blade attached across front to gouge out, level, and distribute earth and to push trees and rocks from land preparatory to constructing roads and buildings or planting crops, or in mining, quarrying, and lumbering operations: Fastens attachments to tractor with clevis or wedge-pin hitches.


Carpet, Linoleum, Soft Tile Layers Installers - These workers install carpet, linoleum, and soft tile on floors, walls, and stairs at residential and commercial sites.  This includes the preparation of the surface, measuring and calculations, cutting and fitting, and sewing (carpets).


Carpenter -Carpenters work with power and hand tools.  They build forms for concrete and frame buildings, walls, footings, columns and stairs.  Wood framing includes house building, roofs, stairs, decking and sheathing.  Carpenters install doors, windows, storefronts and handrails, build cabinets, counter tops and finished stair handrails.  They also work on dry walling, wood flooring, metal jams and ceilings.  Carpenters do interior and exterior finish work, work with drywall and metal studs, install other interior systems, welding and many other related work processes.  They also must read blueprints, and must measure accurately and calculate dimensions.  They may be involved in the original construction or remodel of almost every kind of structure, including houses, commercial buildings, bridges, churches or factories, and highways


Carpenter, how to become a carpenter


Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers-Cement masons are responsible for all concrete construction, including pouring and finishing of slabs, steps, wall tops, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, and paving.  Cement Masons place and finish concrete according to specifications on roads, buildings, homes, sports arenas, and bridges – in fact, in almost all man-made structures.  They also set forms, repair concrete with cement-based products, epoxy injection and fiber wrap, and apply decorative and utilitarian toppings of epoxy and polymer-based cement products.  Cement masons are responsible for all preparation and repairing of concrete.  They also set forms and pins for slabs, steps, curbs and gutters, and paving.  They can make concrete look like any natural material, such as slate, brick, wood or stone, with color, stains, polishing, and stencils.  Both hand tools and many types of power equipment are used in cement finishing.


Construction Manager-Construction managers are responsible for seeing a construction project through from start to finish, including scheduling, coordinating, and hiring the right workers for the current job. There may also be times where the construction manager forgoes being responsible for a complete project and will only be responsible for part of it. Where construction managers are employed varies; they are either self-employed or work a salaried position for a construction company. Depending on their place of employment, construction managers are also known as project managers, constructors, construction superintendents, project engineers, program managers, construction supervisors, or general contractors. No matter the given title, they are all responsible for making sure a project runs smoothly, efficiently, on time, and, most importantly, on budget.


Construction Teamsters-The Washington Construction Teamsters Apprenticeship Program is a 3,000-hour on-the-job training program covering a variety of Teamster Construction Equipment, including truck and pup dump trucks, and belly dumps.  During the apprenticeship you will work on construction sites – learning the trade from qualified journey level teamsters.  Construction Teamsters work all over the state, many times in remote areas, and may be away from home for extended periods of time.  The work can be seasonal, (March through November) depending on the weather.  Employment is somewhat different than most industries in that a contractor hires only enough construction hands to complete a project.  Upon completion of a job, and during layoff, the apprentice must sign the out-of-work list at the union hall.

Concrete Worker-Concrete workers mix gravel, sand, water and cement to make concrete. They then work to move the concrete into position by using a concrete pump. Then the concrete is poured in to some type of formwork, such as temporary steel or wooden mold. Once the concrete is in a mold it must be spread and leveled, and it is then compacted using machinery. The concrete worker must then operate paving and troweling machines that will polish the surface of the concrete. Sometimes different jobs will require that the worker create various surface textures by using hand tools to shape and create designs. They may also need to mix and apply pigments where color is required. It is important for the worker to monitor how the elements, such as heat or cold air affecting the curing of the concrete, so that they may take preventative measures to prevent defects.


Crane and Tower Operators-Tower crane operators use crane equipment to move heavy loads for industries such as manufacturing, shipping and construction. Workers sit high above the ground in operating booths as they manipulate the crane boom to move equipment. Most workers in this field initially receive on-the-job training through apprenticeship programs.


Drywall Installer-Drywall consists of a thin layer of gypsum between two layers of heavy paper. It is used to make walls and ceilings in most buildings today because it is faster and cheaper to install than plaster. There are two kinds of drywall workers—installers and tapers—although many workers do both types of work. Installers, also called framers or hangers, fasten drywall panels to the inside framework of houses and other buildings. Tapers or finishers, prepare these panels for painting by taping and finishing joints and imperfections. In addition to drywall workers, ceiling tile installers and lathers also help to build walls and ceilings. Because drywall panels are manufactured in standard sizes—usually 4 feet by 8 or 12 feet—drywall installers must measure, cut, fit, and fasten them to the inside framework of buildings. Workers cut smaller pieces to go around doors and windows. Installers saw, drill, or cut holes in panels for electrical outlets, air-conditioning units, and plumbing. After making these alterations, installers may glue, nail, or screw the wallboard panels to the wood or metal framework, called studs. Because drywall is heavy and cumbersome, another worker usually helps the installer to position and secure the panel. Installers often use a lift when placing ceiling panels. The Work environment. As in many other construction trades, this work is sometimes physically strenuous. Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, lathers, and tapers spend most of the day on their feet, either standing, bending, stretching, or kneeling. Some tapers use stilts to tape and finish ceiling and angle joints. Installers have to lift and maneuver heavy, cumbersome drywall panels. Hazards include falls from ladders and scaffolds and injuries from power tools and from working with sharp tools, such as utility knives. Because sanding a joint compound to a smooth finish creates a great deal of dust, most finishers wear masks and goggles for protection. A 40-hour week is standard, but the workweeks often fluctuate depending on the workload.


Drywall and Interior Systems


Drywall Installers Job Description


Electrician-works in all phases of the electrical construction and service industry.  They do the electrical construction work on projects ranging from single-family residences to state-of-the-art industrial plants.  Workers install conduits and wire all lighting, along with switches and converters, to complex systems incorporating computerization and high technology in the installation and maintenance of electrical systems.  Their work includes both small and large commercial installation up to and including high-rise buildings.  Electricians also do repair and maintenance on all electrical installations.  The low voltage/sound and communication apprenticeship includes work processes in fiber optics, telephone systems, sound and fire alarm systems, LAN and structured wiring systems.




Glaziers, Residential and Commercial-Glaziers prepare and install various types of glass, mirrors, metal framing and glass and aluminum doors and entrances in and on buildings at residential, commercial and industrial sites.  Work is often performed with other trades people on new construction, remodeling and repair jobs.  Hand and power tools are used during the preparation and installation process.


Grader Operator-Operate one or several types of power construction equipment, such as motor graders, bulldozers, scrapers, compressors, pumps, derricks, shovels, tractors, or front-end loaders to excavate, move, and grade earth, erect structures, or pour concrete or other hard surface pavement. May repair and maintain equipment in addition to other duties.


Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers-Workers in this trade apply insulation materials to pipes, tanks, boilers, ducts, refrigeration equipment and other surfaces requiring thermal control of temperatures.  It requires much handling of insulation materials made of fiberglass, rubber, calcium silicate and urethane.  Asbestos workers also do removal of asbestos containing materials.

Heating and Refrigeration (HVAC) Repair-Heating and refrigeration technicians often specialize in either installation or repair, even though they are usually trained for both. They might also specialize in a specific type of equipment. While work can be seasonal, service contracts and regular maintenance plans can keep workers busy, as can diversifying specialties.


HVAC Repair


Heavy Equipment Mechanic-A Heavy Equipment Mechanic performs skilled tasks in the mechanical repair and maintenance of heavy trucks, earth moving, and related construction equipment road graders, gasoline and diesel powered tractors, garbage trucks, dump trucks, and dozers.


Heavy Equipment Operator; Grader, Bulldozer, Scraper Operator-Heavy equipment operators perform essential duties on construction projects across the country, using large machinery to regrade land, drive piles, lay asphalt and complete other tasks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2006, about 494,000 people worked as construction equipment operators in the United States.


Iron and Steel Structural Workers-Workers assemble and erect steel framework and other metal parts in buildings, on bridges, dams and other steel structures.  They raise, place and join steel girders and columns to form structural frameworks, including the welding of metal decking.

Ironworker Apprentice Competition Battle in Seattle, 2010


Laborer-Laborers work on highway construction projects, doing clearing, grade checking, stake hopping, culvert installation, equipment signaling and traffic control.  Laborers work on utility construction including excavation, shoring, pipelaying, manhole placement and construction, backfill, compaction, transferring of grades, and grade checking and measuring.  In building construction and housing, laborers’ work includes excavation, footing and foundations, carpenter tending, compaction, concrete placement, power and hand tools, general clean-up and mason tending (hod carrying) for brick layers.  Environmental laborers do asbestos removal, hazardous waste, and radiation clean-up.


Lathing, Acoustical, Drywall and Thermal Insulation-Lathing is a trade that is performed on both interior and exterior surfaces.  Complete buildings may be framed from structural steel studs, sheeting or metal lath and made ready for plaster by the lather.  Also many fancy ornamental shapes such as gothic arches, ellipses and domes are formed and shaped by the lathers’ skills.  Drywallers and metal stud framers use metal studs instead of wood studs.  Metal studs and drywall are used almost exclusively in commercial high-rise construction because of their superior fire rating.  Acoustical suspended ceilings are common in most tenant areas of high-rise buildings.  Computer room floors are also done by the acoustical worker.  Insulators work with both thermal and sound insulation using many variations of rolled and rigid insulation systems.

Loader Operator-Operates straight or articulated rubber-tired tractor-type vehicle equipped with front-mounted hydraulically powered bucket or scoop to lift and transport bulk materials to and from storage or processing areas, to feed conveyors, hoppers, or chutes, and to load trucks or railcars: Starts engine, shifts gears, presses pedals, and turns steering wheel to operate loader


Machinists-Machinists are highly skilled operators of machine tools used to make metal parts.  Machinists can make just about anything out of metal.  They follow blueprints, sketches or specific dimensions to make or repair machines, metal pieces and tools.  Skilled crafts include tool and die maker, maintenance machinist, marine machinist, hydro-electric maintenance machinist and general machinist.


Masonry (Bricklaying and Tilesetting)-Bricklayers construct walls, fireplaces, commercial buildings, schools, as well as furnaces, kilns and other structures using brick, block, stone, and marble and granite.  Tilesetters install ceramic tile, marble, and granite on a variety of surfaces such as walls, floors, countertops, pools, showers, tubs, and the exterior of buildings.  There are also apprenticeships available in the trades of building restoration, caulking, and terrazzo.  These are specialized trades with good career potential.


Operating Engineers-Operating engineers operate heavy construction equipment such as cranes, bulldozers, pavers, trench excavators and many other kinds of equipment used in constructing buildings, dams, airports and highways.  They also work in the sand and gravel, cement and asphalt industries; in the shipyards; on the water with dredges, oil refineries, oil pipelines, sewer and water construction, ports of major cities, municipal work with cities and counties, landscaping, scrap metal work, and the forest products industry.  Operating engineer apprentices can also work in the mechanical field as heavy-duty truck and equipment mechanics and in the field of technical engineer (surveyor).


Painter, Allied Trades-Painters and decorators prepare and paint a diverse array of surfaces.  There are three main areas of the industry: industrial (steel structures like ship tanks and bridges), commercial buildings (everything from small businesses to high skyscrapers), and residential buildings (homes and small apartments).  Painters need to be skilled with a wide variety of hand and power tools, depending upon the type of surface preparation and coating required.  Drywall finishing is the work of tapers, who fill in and smooth seams in sheets of drywall.


Piledriver-Piledrivers work with power and hand tools.  They drive all types of piling.  They work on docks, bridges and ferry landings.  There are wood, steel and concrete pilings.  They run chain saws and burning torches.  They use air tools to chip the piling.  They also build the formwork on the pilings and drill holes to put pilings into the ground and formwork on bridges.  They do new construction and rebuild old.  Piledrivers also do foundation work for buildings, welding and many other related work processes.


Plasterer-Plasterers finish interior walls and ceilings of buildings, applying plaster on masonry, metal, wirelath or gypsum.  They also apply cement on masonry, metal, and wirelath (stucco), using both hand and power tools.  Plasterers do hard, physical labor and must be able to lift, carry and handle at least 100 pounds.  It is important to be in excellent health, have a good sense of balance, good eyesight and fine motor skills, as well as the desire and ability to work hard.


Plumbers, Steamfitters,Pipefitters and Refrigeration Workers-Plumbers, steamfitters, pipefitters, and refrigeration fitters are all crafts people who install piping systems that carry water, steam, air and other liquids or gases necessary for sanitation, industrial production, heating and air conditioning, and many other uses.  They alter, remodel and repair existing piping systems and install plumbing fixtures, radiators and other heating units, some appliances, as well as refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.  They measure, cut and bend pipe, weld, braze, caulk, solder, and glue or thread joints at residential and commercial job sites.


Plumbing Apprenticeships


Project Manager-Residential and commercial construction projects require the coordinated efforts of many laborers and subcontractors. A construction project manager is responsible for bringing together all of the parties involved in a particular project.  A construction project manager’s primary responsibility is to ensure that construction occurs according to schedule and within budgetary guidelines without sacrificing quality.


Roofer-Workers install new roofs and repair and remove old roofs using a variety of materials.  They cover roofs with wood shingles, composition, shingles, asphalt and gravel, slate, tiles and single-ply materials.  The work is conducted on both commercial and residential buildings.


Sheet Metal Workers-Sheet metal workers fabricate, install and service heating, venting and air conditioning systems, blowpipe and industrial systems, metal roofing, coping and flashing, stainless steel work for restaurants, kitchens and hospitals.  They prepare shop and field drawings manually and with computer programs.  They provide HVAC/R service.


Stationary Engineers-Stationary engineers operate and maintain boilers, fans, pumps, air compressors, electric motors, engines, turbines, generators, refrigeration and HVAC systems, diesel engines, and heating systems in commercial and industrial buildings.  They monitor boiler water levels and burners, temperatures and pressures, heating, cooling and ventilation systems.  Stationary engineers also perform work as custodial engineers and as wastewater and water treatment engineers.


Surveyors -Land surveyors are licensed professionals who use global positioning systems (GPS) and other similar equipment to gather information about the layout, shape and position of a particular piece of land. This information is essential to city planners, construction planners, engineers, mapping specialists, miners, oil drillers and other professionals who need to plan their work around the features of a particular area.


Tile and Marble Setters-Responsible for installing tile, marble, terrazzo panels, and glass in buildings and residences. Applies tile to walls, ceilings, and floors for decorative purposes.


Welder -Welders work in a wide variety of manufacturing, industrial and construction jobs, and they are always in demand. Even when one industry is reducing its workforce, another is having problems finding enough skilled welders. Requirements begin with basic skills training, which can be acquired on the job or at a technical school.  Welders then can work their way up through an apprenticeship if they choose to and become journeyman welders.


Welder, Women in Welding


Welder, Working as a welder in Machine Careers


Welding Professionals, how they got started


Types of Construction Videos: 
Commercial Construction; hospitals, office buildings, hotels, bridges, dams

Green Construction-Green Construction is more than a buzz word – it means good, middle-class jobs and new infrastructure. See what green construction means to the men and women of America’s Building Trades unions.


Highway Construction