The Apprentice School—founded in 1919 at Newport News Shipbuilding—is the preeminent apprenticeship program in the nation and offers four-, five-, and eight-year apprenticeships in nineteen shipbuilding disciplines and eight advanced programs of study. The Apprentice School is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education and registered with the Virginia Apprenticeship Council. The school offers apprentices the opportunity to earn college credit, receive competitive pay and benefits and learn a trade. The school is committed to fostering apprentices’ development of craftsmanship, scholarship and leadership.

Founded in 1919

when Homer L. Ferguson issued Executive Order No. 24

10,000+ Grads

The majority of our graduates went straight into shipbuilding careers.


The Apprentice School is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education.

7840 Roswell Road Building 300, Suite 325 Atlanta, GA 30350 Telephone: 770-396-3898 / FAX: 770-396-3790


The mission of The Apprentice School is:

To contribute to the profitability and growth of Newport News Shipbuilding by recruiting, training and developing men and women for careers in shipbuilding.

To provide the company with a continuous supply of journeypersons who possess the skills, knowledge and pride of workmanship which have traditionally distinguished the shipbuilding craftsman.

To develop core leadership principles in all students along with the character and technical competence that is required to fully meet the challenges of a shipbuilding career.

Core Values


Integrity is at the heart of who we are and what we do. We are each personally accountable for the highest standards of ethics and integrity. We will fulfill our commitments as responsible citizens and employees. We will consistently treat customers and company resources with the respect they deserve.


We value our employees above all else and will not compromise on maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for them. We expect everyone to actively participate and take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of those around them. Employees can report safety concerns without fear of reprisal and are empowered to stop work if an operation presents significant risk or danger. We continuously evaluate and improve our operations to understand and mitigate risk.


We are committed to being honest and fair with our customers, our employees, our stockholders and each other. We will be truthful, trustworthy and honorable in all aspects of our work.


We are committed to an engaged workforce. Our employees are very involved in what they do and take ownership of their work and their work processes. Engagement is a heightened level of ownership where employees want to do whatever they can for the benefit of their internal and external customers, and for the success of the organization as a whole.


We seek and accept personal responsibility for our actions and results. We keep promises and commitments made to others. We are responsible for ensuring quality is a component of everything we do. We take pride in providing outstanding customer service.


We hold ourselves to a very high standard of performance. We are committed to improving our company performance while upholding our strong values. Superior performance and quality ensure future trust and confidence in our products. We promote continuous improvement, innovation, and creativity.


Craft Instructors

Over 100 years ago, the school introduced the role of craft instructor to help apprentices develop the core leadership principles and craftsmanship necessary for a successful shipbuilding career. Today, almost 70 craft instructors ensure apprentices receive the training and the types of jobs they need to develop targeted skill sets, document the apprentices’ skills development and provide them with regular and consistent evaluations.

Academic Instructors

The Apprentice School’s 14 academic instructors deliver the courses in business, communications, drafting, mathematics, physics and ship construction. Academic instructors create classroom experiences to prepare apprentices for work in their shipbuilding trades, to continue their education in one of the school’s advanced programs and to further their education through Newport News Shipbuilding’s Educational Assistance Program.

Leadership Development

Apprentices become leaders in the classroom and on the waterfront through the development of The Apprentice School’s nine leadership principles:

Decision Making

Graduates of The Apprentice School are well prepared to continue Newport News Shipbuilding’s long tradition of building the most complex and powerful naval vessels in the world.

Relationship to Newport News Shipbuilding

Because of the unique nature of apprenticeship, The Apprentice School and its leadership are structured within Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. Huntington Ingalls designs, builds and maintains nuclear and non-nuclear ships for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard and provides after-market services for military ships around the globe. The Apprentice School provides quality training and education for Newport News Shipbuilding.


Apprentices complete 1,000 hours of course work in the Trade Related Education Curriculum (TREC) and World Class Shipbuilder Curriculum (WCSC). The curricula complement on-the-job training with a strong foundation in shipbuilding discipline theory and prepare apprentices to further their education.

Shipbuilding Disciplines

Coatings Specialist
Preparation and application of industrial coatings…

Complex electrical systems, including lighting, power…

Heating and Air Conditioning
Repair and maintenance of climate-control equipment

Heavy Metal Fabricator
Creating industrial steel components…

Learning how to minimize energy loss through efficient insulation…

Learning the precision skill of industrial machining…

Maintenance Electrician
Repair and maintenance of electrical equipment and facilities…

Maintenance Pipefitter
Learning to repair and maintain various piping systems and facilities…

Learning about the repair and installation of machinery…

Learning the craft of creating finished castings for metal pours…

Non-Destructive Tester
The science of inspecting materials for defects…

Outside Machinist
The installation and testing of a ship’s major machinery…

Woodworking to create patterns for metal castings…

Learning to install, inspect, test and operate various ship systems…

Learning to operate cranes and other handling equipment…

Sheet Metal Worker
Learning about construction of items made with sheet metal…

The structural phases of building a ship’s steel hull…

Learning the craft of welding and related aspects of shipbuilding…

Welding Equipment Repair
Welding equipment maintenance and welding basics…

Advanced Disciplines
Explore our advanced disciplines

Advanced Disciplines

Apprentices who excel in the World Class Shipbuilder Curriculum and Trades Related Education Courses and their shipbuilding discipline may be considered for an advanced discipline, where they complete strategically timed on-the-job training and academic coursework toward an associate degree offered in partnership with local community colleges.

« back to Programs

Advanced Shipyard Operations
A four-year program with all time, except for special rotations, spent in a waterfront trade…

Cost Estimator
Estimating apprentices will evaluate customer requirements, job scope, and more…

Metrology Technician
Apprentices learn industrial measurement as well as develop accuracy control plans…

Marine Designer
Apprentices prepare a variety of engineering documents including drawings, reports…

Modeling and Simulation Program Analyst
Analysis of data to assess designs, improve processes, and make critical business decisions…

Nuclear Test Technician
Oversees all elements of reactor plant testing, mechanical and electrical, as well as to coordinate testing with trades, inspection..

Production Planner
Rotations bring experience in program planning and scheduling, work breakdown structure, operational planning, and shop floor planning…

Marine Engineer
Waterfront and engineering job rotations and coursework produce lifelong opportunities . . .

Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain Management apprentices will spend time in procurement groups where they will be…

Applicants must also mail official transcripts from all high schools and post secondary schools attended to:

Q How is The Apprentice School different from a two- or four-year college?

The registered apprenticeship offered by the school is a full-time job. Apprentices are selected and hired to the program as vacancies occur. On-the-job training and trade theory courses in assigned shipbuilding disciplines begin immediately after hire. An apprentice's work week is devoted to rigorous academic and trade theory course work and on-the-job training in shipbuilding trades. Academic course work begins within the first six months of apprenticeship.

Q What shipbuilding trades are offered?

An apprentice is placed in a shipbuilding discipline selected during the application process and works in that trade for the duration of his or her apprenticeship. Advanced disciplines are for current apprentices selected for these programs and are not available upon hire.

Q Do apprentices work in all the shipbuilding disciplines during their apprenticeship?

An apprentice is placed in one of three disciplines selected during the application process and works in that trade for the duration of his or her apprenticeship.

Q Do apprentices graduate with a college degree?

All apprentices graduate with a certificate of apprenticeship. Apprentices who excel in the World Class Shipbuilder Curriculum, Trade Related Education Curriculum and their shipbuilding discipline may be considered for an advanced discipline, where they complete strategically timed on-the-job training and academic coursework toward an associate degree offered in partnership with local community colleges.

Q Does The Apprentice School accept transfer credit from an accredited two- or four-year college?

Transfer credit may be awarded for some World Class Shipbuilder Curriculum courses based on official transcript grades from accredited postsecondary education institutions and on math and english placement test results. Transfer credit is also considered based upon the course work requirements of individual advanced disciplines.

Q How long does it take to complete an apprenticeship?

The average apprenticeship is completed in four to five years.

Q Are apprentice graduates required to work for Newport News Shipbuilding after graduation?

While many Apprentice School alumni go on to enjoy lucrative and fulfilling careers with Newport News Shipbuilding, continued employment with the company post apprenticeship is not required.

Q What are the minimum requirements to apply?

All applicants must fulfill the following minimum requirements for consideration of an interview:

Be at least 18 years of age. Current high school seniors may apply for early admission before reaching age 18.
Have a high school education with a passing grade in at least four of the following courses:
Algebra I
Algebra II
Vocational/Technical Education or Computer Science
Advanced Mathematics
Principles of Technology
(Please Note: Meeting the minimum requirements specified does not ensure selection.)
Be physically able to perform the essential duties of the shipbuilding discipline requested or assigned.
Be able to obtain the proper security clearance. Due to the nature of the work performed at Newport News Shipbuilding, U.S. citizenship is required. Applicants will be subject to a U.S. government security investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information.
Current employees of Newport News Shipbuilding must have good attendance and job performance records.
(Note: Meeting the minimum requirements specified does not ensure selection.)

Q Does meeting the minimum requirements ensure selection for The Apprentice School?

Admission to The Apprentice School is competitive, and many applicants possess college degrees and have completed military service. Meeting the minimum requirements does not ensure selection.

Q What is the application fee?

The application fee is $45 and is non-refundable. Applicants are encouraged to ensure they meet the minimum requirements for consideration before applying. Current employees of Newport News Shipbuilding and veterans are exempt from the processing fee. Please contact the admissions office for fee exemption at 757-380-3809.

Q What methods of payment are accepted?

The application fee must be paid online by credit card or in person at the Admissions Office by check or money order.

Physical Address –
The Apprentice School
Admissions Office
3101 Washington Ave. 1st Floor
Newport News, VA 23607

Q For an application to be considered, are transcripts required from all high schools and colleges attended?

Yes, transcripts are required from all high schools and colleges attended regardless of degree completion.

Q Are incomplete applications or those of applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements considered?

Only complete applications of applicants who meet the minimum requirements are considered.

Q How can an applicant check the status of his or her application?

An applicant will receive information about application status via the email address used when applying. Check your spam email to ensure updates were not sent inadvertently by your email provider.

Q After interviewing, when can an applicant expect to learn whether he or she has been offered admission to The Apprentice School?

the school chooses to extend an offer to an applicant, he or she can expect to receive an offer within 60 to 90 days after the interview.

Q What items are required for the interview?

An original or certified copy of the applicant's birth certificate is required. Photocopies are not accepted.

Q What items are suggested for the interview?

Copies of certifications, qualifications, résumé, and letters of recommendation, while not required for the interview, are helpful.

Q How long does the interview last?

A typical employment interview lasts approximately three hours and includes an overview of The Apprentice School, a guided tour of the shipyard and an employment interview.

Q If selected for an apprentice position, when can I expect to start?

Based on the needs of the company, start dates vary throughout the year and is typically the first week of a month.

Q What sports does The Apprentice School offer?

Builders Athletics offers Division III-level competition in football, wrestling, men's and women's basketball, baseball and golf.

Q Who does an applicant contact about playing a sport at the school?

Visit to learn more about Builder Athletics and complete a recruit questionnaire.

Q Are intramural sports offered by The Apprentice School?

While intramural sports are not currently offered, a variety of opportunities are available for apprentices to develop their leadership skills, network and show their school spirit.

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