The apprenticeship model is leading the way in preparing workers to compete in today’s ever-changing economy. Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training (OJT) and related classroom instruction, whereby students learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation.


IBEW-NECA electrical training programs take place under the supervision of journey-level, state-certified trade professionals. The apprenticeship provides a living wage with regular promotions, along with health benefits and retirement pension for you and your family. As well, in partnership with Santa Rosa Junior College, you will be earning credits toward an Associate Degree with no college debt upon graduation.


We receive about 300 applicants every year for our electrical training programs. It is a highly selective process, as we're only able to accept around 15 to 30 new apprentices each year. Since we're investing roughly $50,000 toward your education and future success, we're looking for career-minded individuals* who demonstrate exceptional aptitude, integrity, motivation, and work ethic. For those outstanding candidates with math proficiency and mechanical skills, the REJATC offers training and employment toward a dignified, lifelong career in the electrical industry.


* In accordance with Title 29 (part 30) of the Code of Federal Regulations, the Redwood Empire JATC ensures equal opportunity to all applicants and apprentices, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, age (40 years or older), genetic information, or disability.

There are two different training programs offered: Inside Wireman and Sound & Communication. Each program provides a living wage, health benefits (medical, dental & vision), and retirement pension, based on hours worked.




The Inside Wireman program is a five-year apprenticeship that consists of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training (OJT) and 900 hours of classroom instruction.


Classes are held four times a year, from September through May, in dedicated week-long sessions* at our electrical training center in Santa Rosa. Apprentices earn a living wage while they work and learn, with salary starting at 40% of Journeyman wages. Over the course of the program, there are stepwise salary increases of 5% upon successful completion of classroom instruction and every 750-1,000 hours worked. Current starting salary for a beginning Inside Wireman apprentice is $23.04/hr.


The Inside Wireman installs and maintains all of the electrical conduits, wires, cables, motor controls, and panelboards found in commercial and industrial facilities. Whereas an Outside Lineman focuses on the distribution network that brings electricity from its sources of generation to customers, the Inside Wireman is connecting and managing that power source for the customer's electrical systems.


The work of an Inside Wireman covers a wide range of facilities, including hospitals, universities, manufacturing plants, scientific institutes, wineries, and other businesses. One day the Inside Wireman may be installing an energy management, fire alarm, or security system in a high-rise building, and the next day he/she may be installing conduit in a ditch outside of another commercial property.


Many of the conduit systems are exposed and must be installed to exacting standards, using neat, precise, and workmanlike craftsmanship. Each type of installation requires specific knowledge, skills, and tasks, and the apprenticeship training provides them all.


* Apprentices will be eligible for state unemployment benefits during their week-long sessions of classroom instruction.




The Sound & Communication (S&C) Installer/Technician program is a three-year apprenticeship that consists of 4,800 hours of on-the-job training (OJT) and 480 hours of classroom instruction.


Classes are held one day per month, from September through May, at the Northern California Sound & Communication technology training center in San Leandro. Apprentices earn a living wage while they work and learn, with salary starting at 55% of Installer wages. Over the course of the program, there are stepwise salary increases of 5% upon successful completion of classroom instruction and every 800 hours worked. Current starting salary for a beginning S&C Installer apprentice is up to $24.04/hr., depending on location.


Alongside the Inside Wireman, the S&C Installer performs installation and maintenance of sound and communication systems in commercial and industrial facilities. The S&C Installer is trained on the skills and craftsmanship to implement the network of wiring, cabling, and components for high-end computer, video, voice/data, sound/audio, security, and fire/life safety systems.

Programs Available

Apprentice candidates are applying for a career in the electrical industry, not simply for a job or coursework. The application process takes many months to complete. Depending on when you apply, it may be upwards of a year before you are potentially accepted into the training program.


As a quick overview, there are four general steps in the application process:


(1) Qualifying individuals submit all of their application materials, in person, at the REJATC on the specified application days (i.e., the first Wednesday of January, April, July, and October).


(2) About a month after application day, applicants take a standardized aptitude test at the electrical training center, to assess their skills in algebraic functions and reading comprehension.


(3) About a month after the aptitude test, applicants who have received a passing score will have an interview with the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, comprised of IBEW-NECA members.


(4) Based on this interview, candidates are ranked according to their suitability for the apprenticeship program to which they applied. Roughly 30 new apprentices are invited into our programs each year.




The apprenticeship training programs are open to all applicants who meet the minimum basic requirements, described below.


  • You must be at least 17½ years old to apply, and 18 years or older at the time of selection.

  • You must possess a valid driver's license.

  • You must be a high school graduate, or have a G.E.D. or its equivalent; or have a two-year Associate Degree or higher.

  • You must have completed one full year (i.e., two semesters) of high school algebra, or a higher level course such as trigonometry or calculus -- or, alternately, one semester of college algebra (or higher math) -- and received a grade of "C" or better.

    • If you do not have proof of completing algebra, or a higher level course such as trigonometry or calculus, you may complete the Online Tech Math course through the Electrical Training Alliance.

    • NOTE: Courses such as pre-algebra, intro to algebra, and geometry do not count toward this math requirement.

  • You must be physically and mentally able to safely perform, or learn to safely perform, the essential functions of the job, either with or without reasonable accommodations. This includes:

    • Getting to and from work at job sites, as assigned, anywhere within the geographical region that the apprenticeship program covers.

    • Attending all related classroom instruction and training, as required.

    • Reading, hearing, and understanding instructions and warnings in English.

    • Climbing and working from ladders, scaffolds, poles, and towers of various heights.

    • Crawling and working in confined spaces, such as attics, manholes, and crawlspaces.

    • Finger dexterity and the ability to discern color-coded wiring for safe connections.

  • You must consent to a drug screening prior to acceptance into the apprenticeship program. Applicants testing positive for any controlled substance will not be accepted for training.


Individuals are exempt from the requirements for high school graduation (or its equivalent) and algebra (or higher course), if they are able to document one of the following:


  • A minimum of 2,000 hours of electrical construction work experience, recognized by the State of California.

  • Military experience with an honorable discharge within the last five years. Veterans may submit form DD-214 with their application, for possible consideration of any related military training.


The REJATC does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, genetic information, or disability.




Applications for entry into the REJATC training programs are accepted, in person only, on the first Wednesday of January, April, July, and October. If the first Wednesday happens to be a holiday (i.e., New Year's Day or Independence Day), then applications will be accepted on the following day. The hours to submit your application are between 1:00pm and 4:30pm at the electrical training center: 1726 Corby Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95407.


On the specified application day and time, you may drop off your completed application materials, including your sealed academic transcripts and photocopies of all supporting documents. Here is the required documentation that you must provide on application day:


  • Your completed application form, accurately responding to all questions. Please use the fillable PDF form to type in your info. You will need to print out your form to submit on application day.

  • A photocopy of your current, valid driver's license.

  • Proof of high school graduation (e.g., a photocopy of diploma, G.E.D. certificate, or equivalent); or, in lieu of a high school diploma or its equivalent, proof of a two-year Associate Degree or higher.

    • Your academic transcripts often will show the date/proof of your graduation. You may request two copies of your official transcripts from your school. Keep one copy in its sealed envelope to submit on application day, and open the other copy to verify that your graduation date is included. If so, you may not need to bring your high school diploma or its equivalent.

  • An official, sealed transcript for high school and/or college, showing courses and grades.

    • Your transcripts must show two semesters of high school algebra (or higher math), or one semester of college algebra (or higher math), with a grade of "C" or better.

    • As referenced in the requirements section, above, courses such as pre-algebra, intro to algebra, and geometry do not satisfy the math requirement.

    • In the absence of high school or college algebra (or higher math), you can provide proof of completing the Online Tech Math course through the Electrical Training Alliance.

    • All records and transcripts must be in English. If the documentation is not in English, applicants will need to translate it before submitting their materials on application day. LINGOMOD and A.P.I.E. provide professional translation services.

  • To waive the requirements for high school graduation (or its equivalent) and algebra (or higher math), you can provide official documentation for having completed 2,000 hours of electrical construction work experience in the State of California; or, for military veterans, you can provide your form DD-214 from within the last five years.


You may find and fill out all the forms you need to apply, including for any special accommodations, in the Form Downloads section, below.


If you would like apply to the Sound & Communication training program, you may do so directly from the Northern California JATC website.


NOTE: First and foremost, the caliber of candidates we're seeking should be able to demonstrate their ability to follow instructions. Please only submit the required documents, listed above. We do not need your cover letter, resume, letters of reference, social security card, or anything else. Though you may use a paper clip to hold your materials together, please do not fold or staple your documents. If you are missing any of the required documents, your application will not be processed.




After applicants successfully submit all of their application materials, the next step in the process is the standardized aptitude test. On application day, qualified applicants will be given the date, time, and location for the test. It will be scheduled about one month following application day, usually during the second week of February, May, August, and November. The examination takes 2½ hours, and it assesses one's skills in algebraic functions and reading comprehension.


There are several free resources online (e.g., the Khan Academy) that you may use to brush up on your math skills, for example, if you need or want. As well, in partnership with the Electrical Training Alliance, you may take advantage of the Electric Prep online courses, which are specifically designed to prepare you for the apprenticeship aptitude test. (Please see our FAQ section, below, for more information on this online course.)


For your reference, here is a small sample of questions for what the aptitude test may be like, including algebraic functions & reading comprehension (and an answer key for the sample questions). This is not from the actual test, but it may give you some idea of what to expect.


Please be sure to arrive at the aptitude test ahead of your scheduled time, because once the testing begins, the doors are closed and there will be no further admittance. You must bring a valid driver's license with you for identification purposes. NOTE: It may take between four to six weeks to receive results for the aptitude test.




Applicants who receive a minimum qualifying score on the aptitude test will be scheduled for an in-person interview with the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, comprised of local IBEW-NECA members. The interviews are scheduled about four to six weeks following the aptitude test, in March, June, September, and December. The interviews usually last about 20 minutes for each applicant.


The interview committee takes into consideration an applicant's attributes, such as: education, ability & skills, work experience, reliability, interest, attitude, judgment, and cooperation. You should be able to articulate clearly why you want to build a career in the electrical industry. Please read through the entire REJATC website to familiarize yourself with IBEW-NECA and its apprenticeships.


Following the interview, each applicant is rated and merged into the pool of eligible apprentice candidates. In the final step of the process, the training committee will select the top-ranked candidates for placement in the apprenticeship's on-the-job training (OJT) and classroom instruction.




Based on the in-person interview, applicants receive an overall ranking score for their candidacy. They are added to a list of eligible apprentice candidates according to this final ranking score. Candidates remain on the ranking list for up to two years, at which time they would have to reapply for renewed consideration.


As apprenticeship positions become available, candidates with the highest scores are invited, in the order of their ranking, to become a full-time apprentice as part of the REJATC. New positions for the training programs often become available in May and June, as contract work picks up and cohorts of apprentices are graduating into professional Journeyman status.


Given the highly selective nature of the application process, we are only able to welcome about 15 to 30 new apprentices each year into our training programs. Applicants may reapply after two years if their ranking has expired; or they may make a one-time request to re-interview after a minimum of 90 days from their original interview, if there have been significant changes to their qualifications (i.e., completing at least 450 hours of work-related experience and/or two college-level electrical courses).


Prior to being indentured as new apprentices (signing a training/employment agreement), selected candidates must be at least 18 years of age, possess a valid driver's license, and also pass a drug screening. If the candidate has a positive test for any controlled substance, he/she will not be accepted into the training program.


Once you're officially admitted into the program, you may request credit for previous work experience. Proper documentation is required. The decision of the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee will be final, in determining how your work experience may be applied toward your total hours of on-the-job training (OJT).

How to Apply

The information for the training programs available, and how to apply, is given in the sections above. Please review them carefully, if you have not already done so. Meanwhile, here are several common questions that may also be helpful as guidance.




You may find the application for the REJATC apprenticeships in the Form Downloads section, below. The PDF (next to the lightning bolt) is fillable online. However, you'll need to print out the completed application and bring it with you to submit, in person, on application day (see above for more details).


If you would like to apply for the Sound & Communication training program, you may fill out and submit your application through the Northern California JATC website.


NOTE: If you are not able to print out the application (e.g., at home or from the public library), you may contact us with a request for any special accommodations.




The North Bay Trades Introduction Program (TIP) is a free apprenticeship preparation & readiness workshop. The program is designed especially for those who do not have trade experience, who are seeking to start or change careers. Priority is given to disadvantaged adults, women, and veterans.


For those accepted into the program, TIP provides an introductory overview and skills training to prepare for apprenticeships in the building and construction trades. The course includes guest speakers, occupational safety and health administration certifications, and hands-on instruction with tools and materials at union worksites and training centers.


TIP is offered at different times and locations in the North Bay throughout the year. The program usually lasts for 10 weeks (128 hours), though sometimes the training is condensed into four weeks. The standard course begins with a concentrated 40-hour week, followed by evening classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the remaining weeks.


Interested individuals are encouraged to register for an orientation meeting, in helping to decide whether TIP offers the right path toward your future career in the building trades. When applying for apprenticeships, at the discretion of the interview committee, TIP graduates may be given favorable consideration in the ranking of apprentice candidates.


Tradeswomen, Inc. is another excellent resource which provides free monthly workshops to assist women candidates in learning about and cultivating careers in the skilled trades. For general info to prepare for unionized work, Building California Construction Careers may be a useful introduction.




If you do not meet the math requirements to apply for apprenticeship (see above), you may complete the Online Tech Math course. This technical course has been designed for individuals to learn or refresh the math skills used in the electrical construction industry.


As a cooperative effort between the Electrical Training Alliance and the University of Tennessee's Independent Study Program, you can register for the online math course and complete it (within four months) at your own convenience and pace. The registration fee is $125, which includes a scientific calculator and math textbook that will be sent to you in the mail.


In contrast, the Electric Prep online courses help to prepare individuals for the application process and apprenticeship program. Some of the courses are free (e.g., providing a better understanding of the work and benefits of becoming an IBEW-NECA electrical worker), while other courses may cost between $30-$50 (e.g., preparing you specifically for the aptitude test or committee interview).




Qualified applicants are informed of their aptitude testing date when they submit their completed materials on application day, which is the first Wednesday in January, April, July, and October.


About four to six weeks after the aptitude test, applicants with a qualifying score are notified of their committee interview date, which typically takes place in March, June, September, and December.

In general, new apprentices are accepted into our training programs in May and June. Your ranking among prospective candidates is valid for two years from the date of your committee interview.


Please know that apprentice candidates are applying for a career in the electrical industry. The entire process takes many months, or even a year or longer, to be accepted into the training program.




In order to improve your ranking score, you will have to re-interview with the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee. Applicants may make a one-time request to re-interview after a minimum of 90 days from their original interview, if there have been significant changes to their qualifications (i.e., gaining at least 450 hours of work experience in the electrical construction industry, or successfully completing at least two college-level trade related courses).


Apprentice candidates are also welcome to reapply to the REJATC after two years, when their ranking expires from their original application and committee interview.




There are a few expenses that you should consider, as part of your training. These associated costs may include, but are not limited to: Having a laptop for home use and classroom instruction; books; transportation; special clothing for harsh environments; and union dues & work assessments.




Apprentices and Journeymen may find a calendar for the electrical training center on the About Us page, updated with schedules for classes as they become available.




The apprenticeship training programs include full health benefits (medical, dental & vision) for you and your family. Apprentices also begin earning contributions toward pension retirement funds after the first 1,000 hours of on-the-job training (OJT). For more information on the IBEW-NECA organizations and community, please visit our About Us page.


In addition to receiving a living wage while you work and learn, you can be earning debt-free college credit toward an Associate Degree in partnership with the Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC). As an apprentice, you have access to all of the SRJC student services, including free counseling, tutorial centers, and child care, among many others.




■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■  ■ 




If you have questions about the apprenticeship programs or application process that have not been addressed in the information sections above, please contact the REJATC training center.

Frequently Asked Questions