How To Find On-the-Job Training Programs

Learn how to take the next step in your career path

Manager teaching employee about computer programming

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When you’re ready to start or change your career but don’t have the time or financial resources to invest in a degree or continue paid education, a position that provides on-the-job training can help you get started on the next step of your career path.

With a shortage of workers for some occupations, employers are changing or eliminating educational requirements and implementing paid training systems to recruit employees for in-demand jobs. In addition to traditional blue-collar occupations that provide paid apprenticeships, on-the-job training is expanding to white-collar jobs, including health care, technology, and tech-related professions, where there is a worker shortage.

Learn about how on-the-job training works, the different types of paid training programs, and how to find companies that provide training for new hires without experience.

Key Takeaways

  • On-the-job training provides new hires with the opportunity to learn a job while working and receiving a paycheck.
  • Types of on-the-job training include apprenticeships, co-ops, internships, and certificate, company training, and continuing education programs. 
  • Spend some time researching job options with paid training so your job search can be targeted to a role and employer that are a good fit.
  • Use online resources to look for companies that are hiring for on-the-job training programs. 
  • Before you apply, check your eligibility, be sure you meet educational requirements, and line up references who can attest to your ability to learn and become a productive employee.

What Is On-the-Job Training?

Organizations that offer on-the-job training pay employees to learn while they are working at a job. On-the-job training provides new hires with the opportunity to learn a job while working and receiving a paycheck. Experience isn’t required for this type of position—the employer trains the employee, and may also provide supplemental learning to assist with obtaining licensing or certification.

There are a variety of occupations and industries that provide training for new hires, especially for positions that are in demand and hard to fill. For example, CVS has a Health Pharmacy Training Program that includes 120 days of training for new pharmacy technicians and provides resources to help employees obtain their pharmacy technician license. Meanwhile, transport company Roehl offers paid CDL training for truck drivers, along with experience on the road with a certified driver trainer.  

Additionally, car rental brand Enterprise’s Management Training Program offers college graduates the opportunity to start a career with on-the-job training, formal learning, and mentoring. And for those interested in a skilled trades career, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers offers an apprenticeship program that includes on-the-job training, classroom learning, and college courses. 

Types of Paid Training Programs

How can you get paid to learn a job? There are a variety of paid training options to choose from. The type of training you need will depend on the position and the job requirements. You may also be able to obtain certification or a license as part of the training process.

Paid training programs include apprenticeships, certificate programs, company training programs, short-term training programs, and for students, internships and co-ops.

Apprenticeships: Paid apprenticeships are available in the construction, information technology, business and finance, health care, hospitality, transportation, and manufacturing industries. During an apprenticeship, workers are paid and also receive classroom training.

Certificate programs: Some organizations that hire for positions where there is a worker shortage, including health and medical employers, offer paid training that leads to certification. For example, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities may offer free certified nursing assistant (CNA) training in order to attract candidates for employment. 

Company training programs: Company on-the-job training programs are designed to teach new hires the skills and abilities they need to succeed on the job and in the workplace. Employers who offer this type of training hire entry-level candidates without experience and provide formal training. 

Company continuing education programs: The company you’re currently working for may offer free skills training and paid college tuition for employees. For example, Amazon’s Career Choice program funds full college tuition and fees, high school diplomas, GEDs, English as a second language (ESL) certifications, and skills training programs in data center maintenance and technology, general IT, user experience, and research design. 

Check with your manager or human resources department for information on what’s available at your employer.

Co-ops: A co-op, formally known as a cooperative work experience, is a program for high school and college students to get paid while learning about a job and attending classes. This type of program is arranged through high school guidance offices and college career services or academic advising departments. 

Internships: Internships aren’t always paid, but when they are it’s another opportunity to earn while you learn about an occupation or industry. An internship is a short-term work experience, and participants may be able to earn college credit. 

Short-term paid training programs: Short-term training programs are a variation of company training programs. With these programs, the training is shorter than a formal company training program. For example, security guards are required to participate in an eight-hour training course before they are hired and 16 hours of on-the-job training. Paid home health aide training is available, with 75 hours of classroom and supervised training required, as another example. 

For many opportunities, you will need at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. If you’re short on the credentials you need, here’s how to find equivalency programs so you can earn your degree. Also, check out online GED programs that will help you get the credentials you need.

Explore Options That Fit Your Interests

Before you start looking for a job, it’s a good idea to explore options. Even if you’re being paid to learn a job, it’s important that the job is a match for your interests, abilities, and career goals. 

  • Take a career test: Take a freecareer aptitude test to help you narrow down your interests. 
  • Choose a job goal: Use CareerOneStop’s tools to help find a job you’ll enjoy, and one where employers are hiring. 
  • Figure out what training you need: Once you have some ideas of what you’d like to do, explore training options to determine what you’ll need to do to get hired.

Find Companies That Provide On-the-Job Training

There are several ways to find companies that will train new hires. One of the quickest is to search job boards to find employers that are hiring trainees now for immediate openings. You can also use state job boards to find additional openings.

Job Sites

Search the top job sites using keywords such as “on the job training, experience not required, no experience, training provided, trainee, trainee program, and apprentice” to find job listings that are a fit for your interests.

State Job Banks 

Visit your state job bank and CareerOneStop’s Job Finder, and search using keywords such as training and apprenticeship to find available positions in your state.

The Best Companies

Review Training Magazine’s list of the training top 100 organizations to see if any of the companies listed are of interest.

Find Training Programs and Apprenticeships

There are online resources that can be used to find apprenticeships and training programs that will give you the skills you need for success in the workplace. 

  • Apprenticeship Job Finder: Search for open apprenticeship job opportunities and apprenticeship programs from employers across the country.
  • Job Corps: Job Corps provides career technical training in high-growth industries for students ages 16-24. The program is free for eligible participants.
  • Local Training Finder: Use CareerOneStop’s Local Training Finder to find training programs near your location. 

Other options to consider are free and low-cost short-term training programs that can help you gain new skills, find a job, get promoted, and earn more money. 

Before You Apply

Once you’ve found a company you’d like to work for, an apprenticeship program you’re interested in, or a training program you would like to participate in, take some time to learn the information you will need to apply and to get your application materials in order. The application process will run smoothly if you’ve got everything you need ready to apply.

Check Your Eligibility

Even though training is provided while you’re working, there will be qualifications the employer is seeking in candidates for employment. 

Check the eligibility requirements (they should be listed in the job posting) to ensure you’re qualified to apply. 

For example, for the Roehl truck driving program, you’ll need to meet both the minimum age requirement and CDL physical requirements.

Meanwhile, Walgreens’ Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship requires fluency in English, except in Puerto Rico. Preferred qualifications include six months of retail experience and good math and computer skills.

Prepare Your Application Materials

Depending on the position, you may not need a resume and cover letter to apply. However, you should have a list of your education, work experience, contact information, and the other information you’ll need to complete a job application. Also, make a list of the skills you have that will help you qualify for the job.

Get References

You may need references, so line up two or three people who can vouch for your skills and qualifications. If you don’t have work references, there are other types of references you can use to attest to your ability to do the job.