Earnings Potential

Unlike college, an apprenticeship offers you the opportunity to make a living wage while you are learning a skilled trade. At the end of the five-year program, the Apprentice’s earning power often far exceeds that of most college graduates.

As training progresses and skill levels increase, Apprentices are guaranteed to receive increases to their base wage rate and total wage package. An Apprentice will earn over $275,000 in base rate wages (take home wages) throughout their five-year Apprenticeship Program; fringe benefits (health insurance, pension, etc.) are paid above and beyond the take home wages. As a total wage package, including fringe benefits, an Apprentice will earn over $470,000 throughout their five-year apprenticeship.

A Journeyworker earns $41.96 in take home wages per hour equaling annual take home wages over $83,000. The total hourly wage package, including fringe benefits, equals $64.99 per hour, equaling an annual salary of over $135,000.

Per the collective bargaining agreement between the Local 400 membership and the signatory contractors that employ Local 400 members, Local 400 members receive a contractual wage and fringe benefit package increase on an annual basis. On average, the total wage package, including fringe benefits, increase averaged $2.10 per hour on an annual basis over the last 5 years (3.46%); of the $2.10, the membership received an average increase of $1.51 to their take home wages per hour (3.90%).

Click here to review the current wage rate and fringe benefit package.   

 Often people think that you must earn a four-year degree to be successful; while that is true in some occupations, it does not accurately represent all occupations and industries.   

 Consider this example:  

  • A four-year college graduate spends approximately $32,000 on college tuition and then secures a job post-graduation with a starting annual salary of $50,000. 
  • A Local 400 apprenticeship program graduate will earn over $275,000 in base rate wages (take home wages) throughout their five-year Apprenticeship Program with zero student debt.  As a total package, including fringe benefits, an Apprentice will earn over $470,000 throughout their five-year apprenticeship.   

 If each graduate works 2,080 hours per year and receives an annual 3% increase to their wages until their 25 year class reunion: 

  • The four-year college graduate will earn approximately $1,430,000.  Keep in mind that the $32,000 in student debt must be paid and fringe benefits (health insurance, vision insurance, dental insurance, 401(k) program, etc.) are additional deductions to be paid from the total. 
  • The Apprenticeship Program Graduate will earn base rate wages (take home wages) of approximately $2,600,000 and a total wage package, including fringe benefits, of approximately $4,100,000.  

Student debt and the earnings potential while training are two important factors to consider when evaluating your future.  The earnings potential does not end here!   

 An extremely important aspect of any career is the training and education it requires.  As you research possible occupations, be sure to review the type of training needed to be successful.  Although most career occupations require post-secondary education, they do not necessarily require a college degree.  After completion of an apprenticeship program, the Apprentice earns a nationally recognized credential; this means that employers in that industry will recognize its value.  Apprenticeship Programs are the foundation and building block for lifelong learning with the possibility to obtain higher levels of employment in a specific occupation or the industry.  As a skilled Journeyworker, your on-the-job knowledge is invaluable.  To name a few, below are potential career pathways: 

  • On the Jobsite/Shop: Project/Shop Union Steward, Project/Shop Certified Weld Inspector, Foreman, Superintendent 
  • Administrative: Engineer, Architect, Virtual Designer (3-D Modeling, CAD/BIM), Estimator, Management, Business Owner 
  • Blended Roles (On the Jobsite/Shop and Administrative): Project Manager, Project Planner/Scheduler, Purchasing Agent, Operations Manager, Service Manager, Labor Coordinator, Safety Coordinator/Manager 
  • Union Hall: Apprenticeship Program Instructor, Welding Coordinator, Training Coordinator, Business Agent, Business Manager  

 The opportunities are endless.