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Apprenticeships: A Career Path of the Future

ACC student / medical assistant apprentice working in classroom at the Littleton Campus.

Apprenticeships have a rich history and can be found as far back as ancient Egypt and Babylon where artisans would teach the next generation to carry on their craft or trade. This type of training has continued over time and more recently has been prevalent in trade industries. Modern apprenticeships are growing to allow opportunities in more diverse industries, and even though apprenticeships are not a new concept they are having new life breathed into them through creative partnerships and curriculum design. Arapahoe Community College has been a leader in developing quality apprenticeship programs for over 4 years and has even assisted colleges around the country with creating their own apprenticeship programs.

An apprenticeship is typically a 1–2-year experience where the individual is both an employee and a student. They are hired on with the employer and work full or part time while also participating in an educational program where they will receive a certificate or associate degree. There are 4 specific components that make an apprenticeship successful:  

  1. Partnership
    A successful apprenticeship includes partnership with an invested employer and a committed educational program. The benefit to this is that the employer is able to train the apprentice specifically to their systems, procedures, and culture, while the student is receiving a well-rounded education.
  2. Choice
    Apprenticeships give learners opportunities they may not normally have available to them. In the past, students may have had to choose between school and work, but apprenticeships allow a point of entry into work they feel passionate about while giving students the opportunity to obtain postsecondary vocational certification.
  3. Benefit
    There is great benefit on both the side of the employer and the apprentice when it comes to an apprenticeship. The employer has the convenience of training a quality employee who will hopefully stay and grow within the company. We have seen, within our employer partners, that employee retention is high when the individual starts as an apprentice. Many times, employers offer tuition assistance giving the great benefit of a low-cost education to students. This allows the students to focus on their education and practicing their skills without the added stress of paying for the program. Also, at the completion of the program the apprentice will have the opportunity to obtain a nationally recognized industry credential, giving them the necessary qualifications and capacity for advancement.  
  4. Mentorship
    Often, students are more successful in a customized apprenticeship than they would be in a more traditional education model. One of the biggest reasons for this is high-quality mentorship. The apprentice is receiving dedicated teaching and feedback from a preceptor or mentor while they are at work. This one-on-one attention really helps the student accelerate their skill building while gaining confidence in the field. At ACC, the apprentice also receives dedicated support from our apprenticeship team to help them navigate the world of postsecondary education and offer individualized support to help them succeed.

Check out the videos below to hear directly from some of our apprentices about their experiences going through the ACC Medical Assistant Apprenticeship and find more information about the different apprenticeships we offer




College / Employer