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Find answers to frequently asked questions related to Oklahoma apprenticeships and internships.

An apprenticeship is a program that combines paid on-the-job training with related classroom instruction, resulting in industry-recognized credentials.

Registered Apprenticeships are high-quality, work-based learning models, which meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor.

No, actually there are over 1,200 apprenticeable occupations in nearly a dozen major industries including:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Aerospace and Defense
  • Agriculture and Biosciences
  • Construction
  • Creative Industries
  • Education, Training and Development
  • Energy
  • Health Care
  • Information and Financial Services
  • Transportation and Distribution

To view a list of all Registered Apprenticeship occupations, visit:

Apprenticeship programs range in length from one to six years. The national average is four years. However, the length of an apprenticeship depends on the model the program sponsor uses and each program is unique.

Every person has a unique learning style and life goals, so there isn’t one best way to prepare for a career. Apprenticeships allow job seekers to head straight into the workforce without piling up debt from student loans. They can earn a paycheck while training for a specific industry and occupation. These programs can also be a pathway to further education, including a college degree.

Registered Apprenticeships are a tried-and-true approach for preparing workers for a stable, long-term career. Any credential earned through a Registered Apprentice program is nationally recognized and transferable within each industry. In addition, these programs can be a pathway to further education, including a college degree.

From the first day of work, apprentices receive a paycheck guaranteed to increase as their training progresses. Registered Apprenticeship programs require at least one pay bump during the course of the program when certain skill sets are mastered. Most programs offer more than one pay increase throughout the term of the program.

Apprentices, on average, earn $50,000 per year upon completing their program. Registered Apprenticeship graduates make an average of $240,037 more than comparable job seekers in their lifetimes.

Click here to see companies who offer Registered Apprenticeships in Oklahoma. Prospective apprentices can find contact information for the companies/programs in which they are interested and apply with individual companies.

Apprenticeships and internships both offer on-the-job training. The main differences are the length and intensity of programs. Typically, an internship lasts from three months to one year, while apprenticeships are typically one to six years in length, with a national average of four years. Internships focus on general skills development, while apprenticeships provide specialized training in specific occupational skills. Apprenticeships are full-time, paid positions, while internships are generally part-time and may or may not be paid. Interns are not obligated to work for the employer after the internship is over. If you start early enough to do a few internships, you can use the first internships to get a feel for what career you’d like to pursue and the later internships to build your experience.

Internships are an excellent way to learn about an industry of interest while also acquiring some of the necessary skills and tools for success in that industry. Internships can also satisfy certain college program requirements and possibly allow the student to earn college credit, enriching the college experience and preparing for entrance into the workforce. Students can use internship opportunities as a great way of building a relationship with an employer in an industry of interest. This relationship can open doors to future positions and networking opportunities that can strengthen one’s career. Students participating in an internship are typically more engaged in their learning and develop a better work ethic and more skills and abilities. These interns later become more dedicated employees and involved community members. By providing experiential learning while still in school, internships can give students real-life experience in their potential future choice of career.

Though employment isn’t guaranteed at the end of an internship, many employers use internships as a way to train and evaluate future employees. In fact, a 2009 NACE survey of U.S. employers with interns found that 67% of those interns were given job offers after their terms were complete.

Internships may or may not be paid — though, if they are unpaid, they’re usually subject to stringent labor guidelines.

It is the responsibility of each employer to determine whether an internship should be paid or unpaid based on labor laws. Each employer’s human resources department should be familiar with labor laws in order to determine eligibility based on the organization’s specific internship opportunity. Minimum wage and overtime laws cannot be avoided merely by labeling a position as an internship.

The FLSA requires “for-profit” employers to pay employees for their work. Interns and students, however, may not be “employees” under the FLSA—in which case the FLSA does not require compensation for their work.

Refer to The FLSA Test for Unpaid Interns and Students

Students who took paid internships were more likely to get a full-time job post-graduation, as well as make a higher salary than students who took unpaid internships, according to a survey of the graduating class of 2015 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.


According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), no youth under 18 may be employed at any time in the following occupations, unless specifically exempt. General exemptions apply to all of these occupations, while limited apprentice/student-learner exemptions apply to those occupations marked with an *. A description of these exemptions follows the hazardous occupations list.

The rules prohibiting working in hazardous occupations (HO) apply either on an industry basis, or on an occupational basis no matter what industry the job is in. These rules prohibit work in, or with the following:

HO 1. Manufacturing and storing of explosives.
HO 2. Driving a motor vehicle and being an outside helper on a motor vehicle.
HO 3. Coal mining.
HO 4. Forest fire fighting and fire prevention, timber tract management, forestry services, logging, and saw mill occupations.
HO 5.* Power-driven woodworking machines.
HO 6. Exposure to radioactive substances.
HO 7. Power-driven hoisting apparatus.
HO 8.* Power-driven metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines.
HO 9. Mining, other than coal mining.
HO 10. Meat and poultry packing or processing (including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines).
HO 11. Power-driven bakery machines.
HO 12.* Balers, compactors, and paper-products machines.
HO 13. Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products.
HO 14.* Power-driven circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs.
HO 15. Wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking operations.
HO 16.* Roofing operations and all work on or about a roof.
HO 17.* Excavation operations.

You can obtain more detail about any, or all of the above listings, by reviewing the child labor regulations.

Non-Agricultural Exemptions

Complete Child Labor Exemptions

The Fair Labor Standards Act provides for certain exemptions. The child labor rules do not apply to:

  • Youth employed as actors or performers in motion pictures, theatrical, radio, or television productions;
  • Youth engaged in the delivery of newspapers to consumers;
  • Youth working at home in the making of wreaths composed of natural holly, pine, cedar, or other evergreens (including the harvesting of the evergreens).

Partial Exemptions from Hazardous Order Prohibitions

Limited exemptions from some of the hazardous occupations rules allow 16- and 17- year-old apprentices and student-learners to perform otherwise prohibited work (hazardous jobs) under certain conditions. The hazardous occupations in which youth may work if the those conditions are met are: HO #5 Power-driven woodworking machines; HO #8 Power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machines; HO #10 Meat and poultry slaughtering, packing, or processing (including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines); HO #12 Power-driven paper-product machines, including scrap paper balers and paper box compactors; HO #14 Power-driven circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs; HO #16 Roofing operations and all work on or about a roof; and HO #17 Excavation operations.

There are no similar exemptions from the hazardous occupations rules for youth younger than 16. 14- and 15-year-olds, however, may be employed in approved school-administered and school-supervised Work Experience and Career Exploration Programs (WECEP) or Work Study Programs (WSP). Such programs allow variations in the rules and permit employment during school hours. WECEP participants may also be employed in otherwise prohibited occupations for which an official exception has been authorized by the Department of Labor.

FLSA Section 13(c)(7) creates a limited exemption from the youth employment provisions for certain minors 14 through 17 years of age who are excused from compulsory school attendance beyond the eighth grade. This exemption allows eligible youth to be employed inside and outside of businesses that use machinery to process wood products (such as sawmills, furniture manufacturers, garden shed and gazebo manufacturers, cabinet makers and pallet shops) with some restrictions, but does not allow them to operate or assist in the operation of power-driven woodworking machinery.

Note: All states have child labor rules, mandatory school attendance laws, and determine the minimum age at which youth may operate motor vehicles. Check Oklahoma’s state rules at:


For more information visit:

United States Department of Labor (USDOL)

Yes, the internship may fill the requirement of elective courses as the schedule permits. Refer to the “Apprenticeships, Internships and Mentorships (AIM) Act of 2016”

70 O.S. § 1210.528-1.2

“A. Beginning with the 2017 – 2018 school year, the governing body of each public, private, magnet, charter, or virtual charter school in this state (the school) is authorized to enter into an agreement with private or public organizations for the purpose of creating apprenticeship, internship and mentorship programs. Apprenticeships, internships and mentorships may be available to high school juniors and seniors as permitted by each school. The apprenticeship, internship or mentorship may fill the requirement of elective courses as the student’s schedule permits. A student may not use the apprenticeship, internship or mentorship to replace any other state education requirement.

  1. The governing body of each school shall have the authority to adopt policies regarding the creation of apprenticeships, internships and mentorships that include the registration and qualifications for private or public organizations to participate in the apprenticeship, internship or mentorship program”

Students may earn elective credit for an internship. OSDE has designated a code to use when enrolling a student into an internship course. This course code is for a semester elective and can be used for first and second semester.

Course Code: 2790                 Internship – Juniors
Course Code: 2791                 Internship – Seniors

8102 – Business Information Technology Internship

8468 – Culinary Arts Internship

8622 – Marketing Internship

Internships provide an opportunity for students to have an authentic experience related to the career pathway established in their career academic plan. 

For more information and to learn about Oklahoma school district internship programs and resources go to: