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Overview and Key Terms

Executive Summary

This playbook outlines the management of the apprenticeship experience and covers the concepts listed below. The audience for this playbook is K-12 district partners. This page provides an overview of the benefits of participating in an apprenticeship teaching degree program, roles, key terms, and timelines.

  • Review Standards and Frameworks from your Sponsor’s Recognized Apprenticeship Program

  • Recruiting & Hiring Apprentices

  • Get Set Up with the Craft Tracker

  • Oversee Apprentices


There are many benefits to K-12 districts of participating in an apprenticeship teaching degree program:

  1. Build a homegrown, more diverse teaching pipeline: Apprenticeship degree programs allow prospective teachers to work and earn an income while studying and completing their credentials. This makes teaching more accessible to a broader group of people, enabling people from diverse backgrounds to join the teaching force and expanding the overall pipeline of teachers.

  2. Attract new teachers who are better qualified: Apprentices are practicing, receiving feedback, and reflecting in an integrated way, meaning that when they start as a teacher, they will already have experience and can be more effective from the very beginning.

  3. Bring in new teachers who know your schools: Apprentices observe teaching on a day-to-day basis and are part of your school community while they are learning how to teach, so they have relationships and know your school’s procedures before their first day as a teacher.

  4. Build career pathways: Apprentices may serve as paraprofessionals or instructional assistants in your classrooms, and then grow into a teaching role, making these jobs more attractive and offering true career progressions within your district.

  5. Offer a unique benefit to prospective candidates: The opportunity to work while earning a degree and credential at a low (or no) cost is not yet available everywhere making this a way that districts can differentiate themselves to prospective candidates at minimal or no extra cost.


An apprenticeship program requires three groups to work together:

  • Sponsor: The sponsor is responsible for data collection, reporting, and monitoring the registered apprenticeship program. If federal funds are received, the sponsor will collect these funds and distribute them. The Craft tracker is designed to make data collection and reporting simpler by being the primary platform that apprentices use to track their work while gathering all of the elements required by the PIRL reports, which is hundreds of points of data for each learner on a quarterly basis. (Use of the Craft tracker is optional - your state may already have its own tool that serves this purpose.) Serving as the sponsor may enable a state department of education to ensure the quality of educator preparation programs (EPPs). It is strongly recommended that state departments of education play the role of sponsor because otherwise, other bodies, such as nonprofits, school districts, and EPPs, may seek to fill the sponsor role in your state.

  • Employer: The employer provides apprentices with a job that enables them to demonstrate mastery of on-the-job competencies they will need as a teacher. Often, apprentices serve as paraprofessionals or instructional assistants/aides because those positions are already located in a K-12 classroom. It’s worth noting that this makes offering a registered apprenticeship for the K-12 teaching occupation a great recruitment tool for vacancies in these roles as candidates have the opportunity to become the teacher of record in 1-4 years and earn an increase in pay. The employer also provides a mentor who will coach and oversee the apprentice.

  • Related instruction provider: The related instruction provider, which in the context of registered apprenticeship for the K-12 teaching occupation will consistently be an educator preparation provider, offers courses and instruction in pedagogy, practice, and content, and supports the apprentice to complete their degree and/or obtain their post-Bachelors credential.

Key Terms

  • Craft Tracker: The Craft Tracker is an online tool that allows aspiring teachers to track the completion of activities for apprenticeship funding and to meet degree and credential requirements.

  • Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL): Each state maintains an eligible training provider list which includes training providers that are approved to train apprentices. For teaching apprentices, these are usually schools of education at a local college or university.

  • Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP): RAPs are career pathway programs that combine paid work experience and classroom instruction and are approved by the U.S. Department of Labor or a State Apprenticeship Agency.

  • Local workforce board: A local workforce board is a governmentally appointed group and/or agency that plans and provides oversight to workforce programs and services in their area.

  • Participant Individual Record Layout (PIRL): This is a federal reporting requirement of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) (Source: U.S. Department of Labor). A sample is here. The Craft tracker is built to pull all of the elements required by the PIRL reports, which is hundreds of points of data for each learner on a quarterly basis.


  • Before your apprenticeship program begins:

    • Review standards and frameworks from your sponsor’s Recognized Apprenticeship Program

    • Give apprentices a compliant work assignment, such as a classroom aide or paraprofessional FTE position

    • Support apprentices in applying with their local workforce board

    • Assign evaluators

    • Get set up in the Craft tracker

  • Ongoing:

    • Your mentor teachers review and approve or return activities that apprentices have completed in the Craft tracker

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