How to Build Standards of Apprenticeship for Your Business

Establishing robust Standards of Apprenticeship is both a requirement and a strategic move that empowers your organization and apprentices.

How to build Standards of Apprenticeship
William Lippolis

William Lippolis

Founder & CEO

Building a talent pipeline that meets your needs is likely a primary reason for launching your Apprenticeship program. Configuring Standards of Apprenticeship and gaining U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) approval is the first step to getting up and running.

To meet U.S. DOL requirements, you must decide who you want to train, what skills they need to have, how you will provide instruction, and how you will define those decisions in your Standards of Apprenticeship—a document that clarifies the essential requirements, expectations, and results of your Registered Apprenticeship.

Once the U.S. DOL signs off on your standards, your Registered Apprenticeship can begin.

If you are perplexed about how to configure Standards of Apprenticeship, you’re not alone. Fortunately, setting up the criteria for Apprenticeship is not as hard as it looks. Once these elements are complete, they establish a structure for teaching and sharpening skills that serve your company and apprentices for the long term.


How to Build Your Standards of Apprenticeship

Developing Standards of Apprenticeship is a necessary starting point when developing a Registered Apprenticeship Program. The U.S. DOL must approve these Standards before your program can begin.

The Standards of Apprenticeship are guidelines and requirements that comprise the foundational elements of your program. These legally binding documents set the framework for Apprenticeships and outline expectations for apprentices. Great Standards lead to positive outcomes.

Areas of note within these documents include:

  • Occupation. You must specify which job or trade the Apprenticeship Program is for. There are over 1,000 qualified occupations listed by the U.S. DOL. Select an occupation that aligns with your business demands and is needed within your industry.
  •  Program Length. How long will the program last? An Apprenticeship may last 1-6 years. The period of an Apprenticeship may differ from one employer to the next, considering the complexity of the profession, industry, and the type of program.
  • Job Competencies. Identify the job competencies and abilities apprentices need to develop in order to complete the program. These include aptitude in both technical skills and soft skills, such as communication and problem-solving.
  • Training Curriculum. After deciding which skills to cultivate, the next step is to craft a training program that includes classroom teaching, guidance, and practical experience in the field. Create the curriculum so it builds on knowledge and abilities gained from previous Apprenticeship stages. This way, as apprentices progress through the program, they acquire increasingly advanced skills and take on greater responsibilities.
  • Wage Scale. Determine how wages will increase as apprentices master new competencies. Wages for apprentices are dictated by their experience level and the work they do. They also increase as apprentices master new skills. Ensure the wage you propose is in line with industry standards and complies with federal and state laws.
  • Performance Standards. Determine how you will measure apprentice progress. Establish performance objectives for apprentices to meet—reaching these benchmarks will help apprentices to progress in the program and complete it successfully. Gauging progress can involve on-the-job assessments, reviews, and examinations.

The U.S. DOL Standards Builder lets you customize and register your program in a centralized place. This tool guides you through questions concerning your organization and the occupations for your Apprenticeship. It also allows you to create a preliminary version of your Standards. You can also customize the criteria to fit your business before presenting Standards to the U.S. DOL. Once the U.S. DOL gives your program the green light, you can move forward.


Need help building your Apprenticeship Program? Check out our guide that covers  the basics. 


Building your Standards

The U.S. DOL has made creating Standards of Apprenticeship easier than ever. But configuring Standards to your business and streamlining their implementation is a much heavier lift and can be an ongoing challenge.

This is where Apprenticeship Management Software shines. Without the help of management software, you could rely on your team to complete the necessary paperwork. The team would then develop custom spreadsheets and other methods of organizing data that are tough to track and maintain.

These methods are often ineffective and consume considerable time, resources, and know-how. Not only is it time-consuming to construct a program in Excel, but it leaves you vulnerable to your tools becoming unusable if the creator of the program leaves. In contrast, customizable and comprehensive management software like ApprentiScope offers the specific configuration Apprenticeship Programs require.

With U.S. DOL approval in hand, you’re ready to integrate your Standards into an Apprenticeship Management Software. Follow these simple steps to build your program in ApprentiScope:

  1. Enter Standards of Apprenticeship Information. This includes information about the Apprenticeship, occupation, wages and wage schedules, behavioral soft skills, work processes and on-the-job training, and related technical instruction (RTI).
  2. Customize the Tool. ApprentiScope is customizable and spans beyond performance management software. The tool delivers unique configuration and automation capabilities for your Apprenticeships.  
  3. Invite Key Personnel. The next step is to invite users under the occupation, including apprentices, supervisors, mentors, educators, and Sponsors who will monitor Apprenticeship progress and funding per apprentice. 
  4. Manage your Programs. Once you’ve invited your team to the system, you can start tracking apprentice progress within that occupation, ensuring all requirements are satisfied and RAPIDS data is accurate.
  5. Automate RAPIDS Reporting. ApprentiScope’s pre-built RAPIDS templates simplify populating, exporting, and batch uploading reports directly into RAPIDS, the U.S. DOL’s electronic registration and approval system. RAPIDS updates are required every time a program adds a new apprentice. During an audit, you can retrieve this data for U.S. DOL review.

Entering this data into the software allows ApprentiScope to track apprentices and all related data by apprentice from their first day on the job until they complete the Apprenticeship Program. This functionality makes it much easier to create robust and reliable records without adding work to your plate.


Related Content: How Apprenticeship Sponsors Can Spend Less Time on Administrative Tasks



Establishing robust Standards of Apprenticeship for your business is both a requirement and a strategic move that empowers your organization and the apprentices. It creates a framework for skill development, nurtures a talent pipeline, and shapes the future leaders of your industry. 

With effective apprenticeship management software, the task becomes significantly streamlined, enabling you to monitor progress, ensure quality, and make data-driven decisions. Implementing a well-structured apprenticeship program is not just an investment in individuals, it's an investment in the longevity and success of your business. 


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