Message about Registered Apprenticeship Programs for Teacher Residencies


September 5, 2023 — It’s been nearly two years since the federal U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) established K-12 teaching as an apprenticeable occupation. Since that time, a massive effort has been underway across the education community to: understand what registered apprenticeship programs are; forge relationships between labor and education; identify and access workforce funding opportunities to support teaching; and establish policy and guidelines for the design and development of high-quality, registered apprenticeship programs. NCTR has been staying abreast of these new developments to share knowledge and guide our teacher residency programs in becoming a registered apprenticeship program for K-12 teachers.

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. DOL recently released the National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards (NGS) for Registered Apprenticeships for K-12 teachers. Developed by the Pathways Alliance, in which NCTR and other affiliate organizations are members, the guidelines are intended to guide states, school districts, and other apprenticeship sponsors in their efforts to align their programs to quality standards for preparing K-12 teachers. In fact, 21 states now have registered apprenticeship programs designed to prepare teachers. In recognition of the opportunity to grow registered apprenticeships as an accessible pathway to a diverse and effective teacher workforce, the U.S. DOL also recently awarded $65 million in apprenticeship expansion grant funds to 45 states, 35 of which identified the education sector and teaching as a focus area for the funding. 

Teacher residencies and registered apprenticeship programs share similar characteristics, including an overall mission to provide an accessible pathway for aspiring teachers to enter the workforce. Our goal at NCTR is to help the field understand the similarities between teacher residencies and registered apprenticeship programs for teacher residencies and explain how teacher residencies can support the foundation of a high-quality apprenticeship program for K-12 teachers. As is the case with residency-based teacher preparation, high-quality apprenticeships center the clinical experience, which is designed to prepare effective and diverse teachers with the skills to step into classrooms on the first day and impact student learning. The policy and funding advancements around teacher apprenticeships are remarkable; nevertheless, we know it will take time and effort to develop programs that are high-quality. For example, apprenticeship programs for teachers, much like teacher residency programs, require thoughtful, collaborative, coordinated efforts across partners to develop a scope and sequence of coursework that is integrated with on-the-job learning and that is fully aligned with states’ required teacher competencies and certification and licensure regulations.

NCTR is well-positioned and ready to support registered apprenticeship programs for teachers because it’s work that we already do. Since 2007, NCTR has designed and supported teacher residency programs that incorporate all of the elements of designing, implementing, and registering an apprenticeship program for teachers.  

This year, NCTR’s programming includes newly-designed curricula intended to help new teacher residencies understand the possibilities available via registered apprenticeships. We are also offering NCTR Network members consultative services via our Community Learning Experiences (CLEs) on how to develop a registered apprenticeship program as a teacher residency. 

We are eager to help the field apply what we have learned about the residency-based preparation of teachers to the expansion of registered apprenticeship programs for teacher residencies. To learn more about how we can help your state, school district, charter school, or institution of higher education, please contact NCTR’s Chief of Growth Jill Pitner at


Best Regards,

Erica Hines, NCTR Chief Program Officer

Cortney Rowland, Ph.D., NCTR Director of State and Federal Policy