What is Related Technical Instruction in an Apprenticeship?

Successful Apprenticeship Programs have thorough Related Technical Instruction outlines to ensure apprentices gain skills they need to be great employees.

What is Related Technical Instruction in an Apprenticeship?
William Lippolis

William Lippolis

Founder & CEO


The primary goal of every Apprenticeship is for apprentices to acquire the skills they need to be successful in an occupation. Successful Apprenticeships accomplish this through a combination of On-the-Job Training, Related Technical Instruction, and attentive mentorship.

Related Technical Instruction (RTI) is a critical component of Registered Apprenticeships, as it supplements On-the-Job Training (OJT) work with coursework designed to fill in knowledge gaps that could be missed otherwise. While it might seem daunting to develop this curriculum, you don’t have to do it alone.

Many programs partner with local educational institutions or outside consultants to create coursework uniquely tailored to the skills their apprentices need.


Related Technical Instruction for Apprentices: a Closer Look

Under the supervision of a skilled journeyworker, apprentices receive hands-on training and mentoring on the job. RTI supplements this training with classroom instruction, lab learning, textbook readings, and written exams to further hone apprentices’ skills. 

RTI delivers theoretical knowledge and technical skills that help apprentices perform their jobs effectively and with a deeper understanding of safety, industry-specific regulations, and industry-specific technologies and tools. The best way to deliver RTI is through a combination of classroom instruction, online or in-person courses, and laboratory or simulation work environments.

To understand how this might work, consider an apprentice in a heavy-duty truck maintenance Apprenticeship. This individual might take classes on truck engine repair, then repair trucks in a lab with industry-specific tools while adhering to all regulations and safety standards. Later, they might be tested on their skills in a hands-on demonstration of a specific repair or in a written test.

Large organizations with deep resources may build their RTI curriculum in-house and offer it on-site. More commonly, employers turn to community colleges and local tech schools or training institutions for this education because of the time it takes to develop and administer RTI. A lot of trade schools have already built their curriculum around specific Apprenticeships. There are existing programs in every occupation imaginable, from IT to engine repair, cosmetology to construction, and healthcare to veterinary tech.

Because RTI hours can vary by occupation, if a similar Apprenticeship already exists, it’s best to follow the precedent for established RTI requirements. With a new Apprenticeship Program, you can set what you feel is needed and get it approved with the USDOL in your Standards of Apprenticeship.


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


How to Build RTI for your Apprenticeship Program

There are several steps to follow when building an RTI outline for a Registered Apprenticeship.

  1. Know What’s Needed. Understand the skills and knowledge needed by the occupation and industry for which the program is being developed. To develop a baseline of skills for the job, consult with industry experts, conduct job analysis, and review existing curriculum.
  2. Build a Curriculum. Once you know the skills you need, develop a curriculum to acquire that knowledge. An appropriate curriculum will meet the needs of both the employer and the apprentice and will include a mix of classroom instruction and hands-on OJT training.
  3. Develop Tools for Classroom Training. Create lesson plans and instructional materials designed to build the knowledge and skills of an apprentice in identified areas. The materials should support learning objectives defined in the curriculum and the skill sets of the intended students. All lesson plans should include a means of measuring student progress.
  4. Test it Out. Pilot the program with a small group of apprentices to review and test the curriculum, lesson plans, and instructional materials. Also, have industry experts evaluate the effectiveness of all materials.
  5. Make Needed Changes. After others have tested the program, make revisions based on their feedback.
  6. Decide How to Deliver RTI. Some Apprenticeships give apprentices two months of education before they start work. Here, apprentices spend 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week in class and doing homework, followed by exams. Other programs may teach skills in the classroom as they are being developed on the job.
  7. Organize Records. Track the progress of apprentices with an Apprenticeship Management System. The records will show the need for any adjustments in the curriculum.
  8. Know the Law. The USDOL guides how Apprenticeships operate, but state Apprenticeship agencies, industry experts, and other relevant organizations may also set industry-specific standards and regulations.
  9. Get Advice. Consult with the USDOL, state Apprenticeship agencies, industry experts, industry associations, and other relevant entities to ensure RTI hits all standards and requirements for the occupation.
  10. Revisit RTI. No occupation remains stagnant. Technology and processes change and improve as time marches on. Revisit RTI at least annually and adjust it to meet new industry developments.


How to Track Apprentice RTI and Meet USDOL Compliance

Tracking RTI offered in an Apprenticeship Program is a key part of complying with USDOL rules and regulations

Employers must keep detailed records of the RTI apprentices receive, including the dates and times of class participation and the topics covered. They can record this data in many ways, from pen and paper to spreadsheets to Apprenticeship Management Systems. However, employers track this information, and the data will help monitor apprentice progress and measure program effectiveness. 

The data to be tracked can include the following:

  • Attendance. It’s vital to know if apprentices are attending their RTI classes and meeting the attendance requirements of the Apprenticeship.
  • Evaluations. Track how apprentices progress through written tests, practical exams, and performance evaluations. The results should reside in a central location so employers always know how apprentices are doing.
  • Progress Reports. Give apprentices a report card so they can see their progress. The reports also need to record RTI performance and attendance. Share these progress reports with the employer and Apprenticeship Program Sponsor.
  • Program Reviews. Evaluate the Apprenticeship Program annually and adjust it to address identified deficiencies. Record the results of these evaluations and show what changes were made.
  • State Compliance. Many states have specific requirements for tracking and reporting RTI. It’s vital to track that information to comply with state regulations.

Related Content: Training Approaches in Registered Apprenticeship Programs


Apprenticeship Management Software for RTI Tracking

In the past, employers expected apprentices to track each task and time spent learning it in USDOL-provided apprentice journals. Now employers track this data in spreadsheets and emails, which can be a disorganized means of maintaining information. 

A more efficient way to track required records is with an Apprenticeship Management System. Software programs like ApprentiScope help employers efficiently track all aspects of their Apprenticeship Programs, from recruitment to compliance, OJT to RTI.

Without an internal tracking system, record-keeping and compliance becomes cumbersome. A software tool removes the headache and overhead of management from an Apprenticeship Program.


Reap the Benefits of RTI

Every successful Apprenticeship Program has a thorough On-the-Job Training schedule and Related Technical Instruction outline.

Both of these components will work together to ensure our apprentices acquire the skills they need to be a great employee. There are many ways to offer RTI and build it into an Apprenticeship Program. Following the steps identified above will put your program on a path to success.


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