NCTR Provides Further Guidance on Registered Apprenticeships


March 7, 2023 — As of November 2021, K-12 teaching became an “apprenticeable occupation” under the United States Department of Labor (DOL)’s Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP), and has created a new avenue to further support teacher preparation.

What does that mean for teacher residency programs? Registered apprenticeship programs and teacher residency programs have many elements in common. The Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is a work-based learning system that fulfills workforce needs by preparing individuals for skilled trades through paid on-the-job learning (OJL) with related technical instruction (RTI). Whether led by a school district, an institute of higher education, or a nonprofit organization, the 2021 designation paved the way for programs that train and provide workforce development for K-12 teachers to apply to become “registered apprenticeship” sites, providing access to workforce development and other dollars that can support sustainability.

NCTR invites you to view the FAQs below to help our teacher residencies and related organizations determine whether registered apprenticeship funds can help finance your teacher preparation programs.

To learn more about how the National Center for Teacher Residencies is supporting states, districts, teacher preparation programs, and teacher residency programs, please contact Cortney Rowland, Director of State and Federal Policy, at or Jill Pitner, Chief Growth Officer, at

FAQs About Registered Apprenticeships

What advantages might the Registered Apprenticeship Program provide?

Through direct wages for teacher candidates/residents/apprentices, more students can afford post-secondary education, increasing the teacher residency’s ability to recruit teacher candidates/residents/apprentices. Additionally, RAPs are designed to be rooted in cross-organizational collaboration with teaching opportunities designed collaboratively between a coursework provider (often a university) and an employer (school or school district) – these design elements are very much aligned with NCTR’s Partnering and Designing for Equity, the first lever named in our Levers for Equitable Teacher Residencies, standards that support the build, launch and sustainability of a high-quality, effective, and equitable teacher residency program. 

  • The RAP offers opportunities for connections with alumni, community, schools, and graduates.

What are the key standards of a registered apprenticeship program?

The federal legislation indicates a registered apprenticeship program can be time-based, competency-based, or hybrid; state-by-state policies may vary. NCTR is working in collaboration with The Pathways Alliance, a coalition of organizations dedicated to supporting a strong and diverse teacher pathway, to create national guidelines for registered teacher apprenticeship programs in line with current federal standards.

What are the funding opportunities for registered apprenticeships?

(NOTE: Registered apprenticeship status does not guarantee funding – programs “unlock” or “become eligible” for various funding opportunities once they are registered.)

Once registered by DOL (or their state apprenticeship agency), state and local workforce boards can determine how Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I funds can be used to support RAPs for teachers. (The state of Tennessee has taken particularly big strides to establish RA eligibility for teachers.) Possible WIOA funds uses include, but are not limited to:

  • Individual Training Accounts to cover the costs associated with coursework
  • Pre-apprenticeship training (if the state has established eligibility for this)
  • Costs related to enhancing the skills of a paraprofessional seeking a full teaching license
  • Up to 50% of the wage rate paid for on-the-job training, when through a contract
  • Opportunities exist for these positions to be customizable to the LEAs needs
  • In some cases, the coursework provider may obtain this funding to cover the costs for the necessary courses for an entire cohort of apprentices
  • Supportive services for WIOA participants who are apprentices, including books, supplies, child care assistance, transportation, tools, and uniforms
  • Federal COVID-19 relief funds can also be used to further resource the aforementioned offerings.

Additional helpful details are available in the Department of Labor “Playbook.” 

What are common myths about the Registered Apprenticeship Program?

  • Myth 1: Apprenticeships must be full time.
  • Myth 2: Apprenticeships are inflexible, and discourage degree completion.
  • Myth 3: The Getting Started website is challenging to navigate.

Have any NCTR Network teacher residencies accessed registered apprenticeship funds?

Yes! Dallas College and Alternative Pathways to Educator Certification (APEC) are both RAPs.

Does my state have an office for the management of registered apprenticeship programs? Who should I contact within my state to learn more?

The ApprenticeShip USA web page contains contact information of individuals in each state who handle registered apprenticeships. You can contact them to learn about your individual state’s apprenticeship model and program development for registered apprenticeships. They can also connect you with community-based organizations and support as well as advise on available funding sources. (NOTE: There are significant variations state to state regarding the management of RA programming.) 

Additional Resource from NCTR

About a year ago, NCTR scribed a memo that clarifies and summarizes many of the considerations relevant to teacher residencies. This memo remains a very helpful tool and we encourage you to read it. 

Finally, NCTR is also developing other forms of support for teacher residencies interested in applying to become registered apprenticeships. Stay tuned to learn more!