There is great interest by the healthcare industry in Registered Apprenticeship and some initial success in registering and implementing programs. Employers and unions see the value of the structured training model to prepare workers for the discipline of healthcare occupations. Applying an apprenticeship approach offers the potential to significantly improve worker skill development and retention and improve patient care. All healthcare apprenticeship programs meet and most exceed state and federal requirements. Registered Apprenticeship can be an integral part of healthcare reform by providing rigorous training to frontline healthcare workers that helps professionalize and stabilize these occupations. It also prepares employees to be able to climb a career ladder into higher-level occupations. The model is currently being evaluated by a joint HHS-DOL study, but anecdotal evidence from providers shows that Registered Apprenticeship helps to address several key issues in healthcare:

Recruitment and Retention

Job seekers who have a clear understanding of position requirements and have an opportunity for advancement along a career lattice are more likely to remain in their jobs longer. The “earn while you learn” aspect of the apprenticeship program helps to retain workers as they become loyal to an organization that invests in them and helps advance their careers. Soft skills instruction such as problem-solving, communications and stress management prepares new hiresworkplace challenges. And finally, the mentoring component supports new hires as they acclimate to the demands of the job. Employers agree that the model helps create a pipeline of workers that start at the entry-level and advance to higher positions.

Cost-effective Training Method

Staff replacement and recruitment are among the highest costs to healthcare providers. By increasing retention, recruitment costs decrease. Employers indicate that they prefer training their own employees to recruiting new hires. The chief operating officer of Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston said, “Investing in improving worker skill sets is less costly than recruitment expenses.”

Improved Quality of Patient Care

Healthcare professionals trained through Registered Apprenticeship gain knowledge, hands-on experience and confidence, which in turn improves the quality of patient care, according to employer interviews. Additionally, most apprentices go through programs that exceed state and federal requirements which have made them better at their profession.

Increased Diversity

The model is helping to increase diversity, according to healthcare providers, not only for the entry-level occupations but also as a pipeline and career ladder to higher level jobs. A goal of many of the providers is to create a workforce that approximates the composition of the patients they serve.


  • Ambulance Attendant (EMT)
  • Biomedical Equipment Technician
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Advanced Certified Nursing Assistant Geriatric
  • Certified Nursing Assistant Restorative Certified Nursing Assistant Dementia
  • Certified Nursing Assistant Mentor Contour Wire Specialist
  • Denture Dental Assistant
  • Dental Equipment Installation and Service
  • Dental Laboratory Technician Electro-medical Equipment Repairer
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Embalmer
  • Health Care Sanitary Technician Health Support Specialist Health
  • Unit Coordinator Home Health Aide Home Health Director Laboratory Assistant
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Long-term Care Nurse Manager
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Medical Secretary
  • Medical Transcriptionist Nurse
  • Licensed Practical Optical Instrument Assembler Optician
  • Optician (optical goods)
  • Orthotics Technician
  • Orthotist Orthodontic Technician
  • Paramedic
  • Pharmacist Assistant
  • Pharmacy Support Lattice Pharmacy Service Associate Level I
  • Pharmacy Support Technician Level II Lead Pharmacy Technician Level III
  • Podiatric Assistant Prosthetics Technician
  • Surgical Technologist Veterinary
  • Laboratory Animal Technician

SOURCE: A US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Report discusses apprenticeships in healthcare. 


Healthcare Apprenticeships
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