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NEWS | April 30, 2014

The road to apprenticeship

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Jason Pastrick Naval Nuclear Power Training Command

The military offers opportunities to active-duty service members which allows them to earn apprenticeships and certifications based on their military knowledge.

One option is the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program.

"USMAP is a formal military training program executed by the Center for Personal and Professional Development that provides active-duty Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy service members the opportunity to improve their job skills and to complete their civilian apprenticeship requirements while they are on active duty," said Karen Stanbery, Navy College Office Charleston director. "Upon completion, the U.S. Department of Labor provides a nationally recognized Certificate of Completion."

In addition to improving professional development, USMAP ensures documentation of training and skills attained while on active duty. For example, an electronics technician can choose the electronics mechanic apprenticeship and record the hours they are already working to track progress toward that certificate.

"It's really easy," said Chief Petty Officer Ervin Chase, Naval Nuclear Power Training Command staff member and program participant. "Based on your rating or Navy Enlisted Classification, you select an apprenticeship through USMAP. Based on the apprenticeship you select, you have to complete a certain number of hours in certain subcategories specific to that apprenticeship."

Chief Petty Officer David LaBreche, a machinist's mate and Command Career Counselor at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, serves as point of contact for Sailors seeking to participate in USMAP.

"It's important to realize these apprenticeships don't require any extra effort besides documenting hours you're already working," said LaBreche. "By not enrolling in USMAP, service members are missing out on recognition of hours worked."

By completing an apprenticeship program, service members can save time and money by not having to complete them in the civilian sector.

"With USMAP, you're saving two years that it would take to get an apprenticeship after you get out of the military," said LaBreche.

Another important benefit of USMAP is that the certificates provide documented verification of completed work which can be beneficial while still serving and also in the civilian sector.

"By documenting what you do, you're showing what skills you have acquired," said Chase. "With USMAP, now you have a third party verifying that you've done, say, 1,500 hours of maintenance or diagnostics."

Students at a training command, such as NNPTC, are not eligible to enroll in USMAP, but they are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the program early in their career.

"Too many sailors are unfamiliar of this fantastic program," said Stanbery. "Though they can't seek apprenticeships while at NNPTC, students can better plan their futures and hit the fleet running after they graduate."

By visiting, service members can browse trades related to their ratings and begin the enrollment process. Weekly, monthly and annual records must be kept and submitted for all tracked hours.

For more information, visit or contact your command career counselor.