Shipyard Apprenticeship Programs!

Last Updated/Verified: Mar 17, 2024

Shipyard Apprenticeship Programs and Schools for Welders, Fitters, Electricians and All Ship Building Crafts

The Apprenticeship Programs Listed Below are from the three best shipbuilders in the world. All three of these ship builders build ships for the United States NAVY and other elite maritime organizations who demand the best! They need people in all crafts ranging from electricians to welders and every skill in between.

The reason these shipyards hire apprentices is that they just cannot find the skill levels needed anywhere else. Welders who work in industrial construction or regular welding jobs are not trained to weld in tight spaces or on exotic metals. This means you get the best training possible and at the same time you are gaining valuable work experience. On top of that you get paid to learn and most likely will be making more money than the majority of welding students who already graduated or even a lot of established welders.

Benefits of Joining a Shipyard Apprenticeship Program

The first and most important benefit is, shipyard apprenticeship programs make a Serious Long Term Investment Into Your Future!

Let's talk about the benefits of joining an apprenticeship welding program. If you want to learn to weld then here is what a ship building program will teach you that no other apprenticeship program or welding school can. To start you need to understand that you will most likely do more welding in a year at a shipyard then most welders do in five years at a power plant. Shipyards welders spend most the entire day behind their hood. Below are some other benefits:

  • Welding in all positions (some very odd spaces and angles).
  • Welding pipe in restricted positions (sometimes a inch or less from the wall and ceiling).
  • Welding with mirrors.
  • Welding exotic alloys like copper nickel and titanium (too expensive for schools to teach).
  • Welding with ceramic backing tape.
  • Welding on high strength alloys.

As a shipyard apprentices you will get the type of training that will prepare you for any welding job period! No place else is anyone is going to spend the time and amount of money to teach you these skills! That is a fact and even if you have finished welding school a program like these are well worth it! They will make you a better welder or fitter and you will earn a nice pay check while doing it! Think of it this way, you are not learning the bare minimum but instead you are Mastering Your Craft!

How to Get a Welding Job with No Experience – Pipe, Structural or Fitting Jobs

Chances are if you finished welding school the main problem is getting a job because you have no experience. It sucks and I have been there but there is a solution! Pack your bags and sign up for an apprenticeship program. You will Get the Right Experience; Get Paid More than Many Experienced Welders and you will Master the Art of Welding.

If you are worried about not knowing anyone. Guess what? Most of the people in these shipyards are in the same situation you are in. By the end of the first day you will have friends and contacts to rely on. If I had known that I would have joined the day I left welding school. That is the way things work on the road. Everyone is in the same situation as you and everyone needs everyone because their friends and family are hundreds or thousands of miles away. As for places to stay, the shipyards have weekly deals with hotels and long term housing. There are communities build around all of these shipyards that do nothing but house their workers. It is standard operating procedure. So if you are new to welding, have just finished school or have been welding for years but want to master pipe or exotic metals. Then do yourself the greatest favor by having a shipyard Invest Into Your Future! A shipyards apprenticeship training program will get you any welding job that you want!

List of Shipyard Apprenticeship Programs

Huntington Ingalls Ship Building

Huntington Ingalls is HUGE! Some of the stuff you will get a chance to work on are nuclear powered submarines, aircraft carriers and NAVY destroyers with technology like laser guided missile defense systems. Did I mention that You Get Paid Well to Learn! This is real experience that you can’t get anywhere else. Huntington Ingalls owns the following shipyards and businesses that have all of the opportunities you could want:

Ingalls Ship Building Pascagoula, Mississippi
Avondale Ship Building New Orleans, Louisiana
Continental Maritime of San Diego California
Newport News Ship Building Newport News Virginia
Newport News Energy
Newport News Industrial
Newport News Nuclear

Here are the Apprenticeship Schools for Huntington Ingalls:

Newport News Shipbuilding Apprenticeship School is located in Newport News Virginia. This is the largest and best place to learn the skills you need for life. The Newport News shipyard is 550 plus acres and over 2.5 miles long. That is BIG! If you can, this is the place you want to learn from and get the experience you need! Even if it is thousands of miles away it is worth relocating to!

Ingalls Apprentice School is for their to serve Pascagoula, Mississippi, New Orleans, Louisiana and San Diego, California shipyards. This is just another location for Ingalls Shipbuilding serving different areas.

BAE Systems

BAE Systems is another Major ShipBuilder. They are a HUGE company but spread throughout the world. They have people in the United States, The United Kingdom, Australia, Saudi Arabia and even India. You can be a part of building just about every type of ship, submarine and defense system out there. Their apprenticeship programs and schools can be found through their dedicated website for recruiting. One awesome thing about BAE Systems is you can travel all over the world working for them.

This is The BEA Systems Apprentice School Website

Below are the BEA Systems shipyard locations in the United States. Just remember this is a global company and there is a lot more opportunity then just the US for the right talent.

Norfolk Shipbuilding and Dry dock Norfolk, Virginia
San Diego Ship Repair San Diego California
BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair
BAE Systems Hawaii Shipyards Peal Harbor Hawaii
BAE Systems Shipyard Jacksonville, Florida
BAE Systems Ship Repairs Mayport Florida
BAE Systems Shipyard Mobile, Alabama

NAVY Sea System Command – NAVSEA

The NAVY Sea System Command is a NAVY operation that has civilian workers who maintain the ships and defense systems that are used by the military. They have apprenticeship programs that last up to 4 years with multiple locations. I would highly recommend this program to people who are not good dealing with politics that come with most welding jobs. Lets face the facts. Most jobs in general are about who you know and how much they like you. The NAVY is all about results and they treat people very fairly! My personal belief is that if the rest of the world operated like the US Military then the world would be a much better place. They have their act together and know exactly what they are doing! Below are the locations that they have programs in:
Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Maine
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington
Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hawaii
Most civilian military jobs are found through USAJobs.Gov . That site is for all military related jobs. You can also click on the links above for exact shipyards and see if they posted a job in that page.

Austal Ship Systems and Support

Austal is a Australian company that builds ships around the world and yes it is a forth shipyard after the page title said three.. They do not have a big market in the United States but do have one strength. That is aluminum welding and fabrication. Every year they accept applications for their apprenticeship program. Again they are not as big as the other shipyards but if aluminum is your thing then they are the best at it. Here is their job and apprenticeship site: