United Services Military Apprenticeship Program
The United States Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) is a training program that gives service members the opportunity to complete civilian apprenticeship requirements while they’re still on active duty.
Completion of an apprenticeship awards a nationally recognized Certificate of Completion from the Department of Labor (DoL), which can enhance employability during transition.
General USMAP Requirements
The USMAP is available to active Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel. Additionally, National Guard and Reservists who are on any of the following orders are also eligible to participate:
- Reserves on Active Duty
- Mobilization (MOB)
- Active Duty for Operational Support (ADOS)
- Active Duty for Training (ADT)
- Full Time Support (FTS)
Service members applying for USMAP must have at least 12 months remaining on active duty. This ensures you have enough time to complete an apprenticeship before your transition.
You must be working full-time and supervised in the trade of your choosing. So, extra duty and additional duties do not apply to an apprenticeship.
What is an Apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is an official training program that offers on-the-job training (OJT) and technical education in a job field or trade. The combination of hands-on work with formal training provides unsurpassed experience and industry credentials.
Service members can earn an apprenticeship with the military training and OJT from their current service, and they’d only need to record their work hours once enrolled in a program.
The classroom training gives USMAP participants the requisite background knowledge needed to effectively operate within their trade. There is a required 144 hours of apprenticeship-related training to complete a USMAP program.
For Navy and Coast Guard personnel, the “A” school or Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) training can meet these requirements.
For the Army and Marine Corps, the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) training can meet the apprenticeship requirements as well.
Moreover, personnel who have not completed any formal training or military schools, then college courses, vocational programs, and correspondence courses could satisfy these requirements as well.
This is obtained by working in the trade field, employing the skills obtained through formal training and experience.
The amount of OJT required depends on the trade field, as some require more on the job hours than others. Generally, participants must complete between 2,000 and 6,000 work hours to satisfy most apprenticeship requirements.
Types of Apprenticeships
There are two types of apprenticeships in USMAP, and they are based on experience.
A time-based apprenticeship is for those who are new to a trade and do not have the experience needed for a competency-based apprenticeship.
Progress is measured by the number of hours spent in training and on the job.
Competency-based apprenticeships are for service members E-5 and above who are considered experienced in their chosen occupation.
In this type of apprenticeship, participants must demonstrate and apply the knowledge, skills, and abilities required by their chosen trade.
The Path to Apprenticeship
There are four primary steps necessary to complete an apprenticeship.
- Review Available Trades
- Review Program Requirements
- Enroll in USMAP
- Complete Program Requirements
Review Available Trades
The USMAP has a “Find a Trade” tool, where participants search for trades available to them based on their MOS or Rating.
First, head to the Find a Trade tool, then select your service branch.
Next, under the “Select an MOS” drop-down menu, select your MOS or Rating. That will sort the available trades down to the ones applicable to your military job. Then, look through the “Select a Trade” drop-down menu to view the results.
For example, I was an Army Infantryman (11B), and when I went through this trade finding process, only one result was available to me: Computer Operator – 0817N. For you, there may be numerous opportunities, especially if you worked in a technical or vocational trade.
Review Program Requirements
Once you’ve searched for trades, review the requirements for each to determine which is the best fit for your situation and future goals.
Each apprenticeship will have two sets of requirements: the Time-based or Competency-based options as discussed above. Choose the one that best applies to your situation.
Enroll in USMAP
Once you’ve chosen a trade and the applicable options, it’s time to enroll in USMAP. This can be done online, and a login will be required.
Or, you can download an Apprentice Registration Application and mail it in once you’ve filled it out. Mail it to the following address:
Director, USMAP NETC USMAP
640 Roberts Ave., Bldg. 502
Complete Apprenticeship Requirements
For each opportunity, participants must submit periodic reports, usually monthly, to their supervisor for approval. The DoL requires these reports to ensure that the standards of the program are followed.
Once all the training and work hours have been completed, participants will submit a Final Report to their supervisor for review and approval. Once approved, it marks the end of the apprenticeship and the issuance of a DoL Certificate of Completion, which will be available online.
When applicable to the trade, the Department of Labor will issue Journeyman Cards.
Get Industry Certified
So, if you’re getting close to transitioning from the active service and you have trade-specific military training, I encourage you to take advantage of the USMAP opportunities.
In most cases, you already have the official training and you need only record the hours worked. In others, you need to prove your skills and knowledge base before meeting the apprenticeship requirements.
No matter where you find yourself, this opportunity can really enhance and ease the transition that lies ahead. Don’t miss out!
About the author
Robert Haynes is a retired Army infantryman who has a squad of kids and is married to an active duty Soldier. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who spent his last few years in the Army as a Drill Sergeant. He is now a full-time dad, freelance writer, and out-of-work comedian.