What is Apprenticeship?

What is Apprenticeship?

More people are looking back at a proven form of education: the apprenticeship, especially as the costs of higher education continue to climb. Government data shows apprenticeships are making a rebound among young people, adults already established in the workforce, and military veterans.


An apprenticeship is a structured training program in which the individual apprentice works full-time for a sponsoring employer, learning the skills of the trade through on-the-job training. An apprenticeship is employer-driven and provides unified learning and skills development via classroom instruction and on-the-job experience, assuring a lifelong earning opportunity in an exciting industry.

Yes. Individual apprentices start working when they enter an apprenticeship, with steady wage increases as they advance in their knowledge, skills, and abilities. This is how apprenticeship is different from other types of work-based training.

In 2019 nationwide, there were over 633,000 apprentices obtaining the skills they need to succeed, while earning the wages they need to build financial security. Between 2009 and 2019, the number of registered apprenticeship programs across the nation increased by 128%.

The U.S. Department of Labor identifies five components to typical apprenticeship programs:

  • 1- Business Involvement - Employers are the foundation of every apprenticeship program. They play an active role with the apprentice and remain involved every step of the way.

  • 2- Structured On-the-Job Training - Apprenticeships always include an on-the-job training component. Apprentices receive hands-on training from an experienced mentor at the job site. On-the-job training focuses on the skills and knowledge an apprentice must learn during the program to be fully proficient on the job.

  • 3- Related Instruction - One of the unique aspects of apprenticeships is they combine on-the-job learning with related instruction on the technical and academic competencies which apply to the job. Education partners collaborate with business to offer training delivered at a school, online, or at the job site.

  • 4- Rewards for Skill Gains - Apprentices receive wages when they begin work and pay increases as they meet benchmarks for skill attainment. This helps reward and motivate apprentices as they advance through their training.

  • 5- Nationally-Recognized Credential - Every graduate of a registered apprenticeship program receives a nationally recognized credential. This is a portable credential which signifies to employers that apprentices are fully qualified for the job.
  • FNGLA’s formed an apprenticeship committee from the many diverse specialties within our industry to define specific apprenticeship program standards and align them with our industry’s occupational standards. FNGLA’s Nursery & Landscape Apprenticeship Program aligns with the Association’s industry certifications, as well as the Florida Department of Education Curriculum Frameworks for Nursery Operations and Landscape and Turf Management.

    Apprentices can follow one of three different pathways:

    Horticulture Technician is designed for those choosing a career in production nurseries or greenhouses or in retail sales. They can earn FNGLA’s Certified Horticulture Professional (FCHP) designation.

    Landscape Technician is designed for those choosing a career in landscape installation or maintenance. They can earn FNGLA’s Certified Landscape Technician (FCLT) and/or Maintenance Technician (FCLMT) designations.

    Irrigation Technician is designed for those choosing a career in landscape irrigation. They can earn FNGLA’s Certified Landscape Irrigation Service Technician (FCLIST) designation.

    Since this program is an FNGLA member benefit, businesses wishing to take part must be an FNGLA member. For apprentices, the program is open to any individual, 16 years of age and older, who wants to be an apprentice, regardless of experience or membership status.

    All apprentices, regardless of their specialty, are required to complete 144 hours of education at some point during their apprenticeship. Following is the outline of instruction -- the core of FNGLA’s Nursery & Landscape Apprenticeship Program:

  • Describe the horticulture industry.
  • Identify and develop safety practices in the workplace.
  • Determine procedures to operate, repair, and maintain tools and equipment.
  • Describe the principles and requirements for plant growth.
  • Identify properties of growing media.
  • Develop crop fertilization schedules.
  • Identify pests and explain integrated pest management approaches.
  • Identify and classify plants.
  • Identify appropriate plant and turf irrigation practices.
  • Explain plant propagation principles.
  • Develop plans to harvest, transport, and install plant materials.
  • Explain principles of landscape design and maintenance.
  • Describe criteria for turfgrass selection and maintenance.
  • Explain requirements for interior plant growth and maintenance.
  • Apply best management practices in the horticulture industry.
  • Demonstrate leadership, employability, communications, and human relations skills.