New applications are currently being accepted for applicants who seek to work (& live) in the Portland area, Eugene area, Corvallis area, Central Oregon (Bend area), or Southern Oregon
One way to qualify for the state LRT licensing exam is to complete a Oregon-registered apprenticeship program requiring 4000 hours of on-the-job training combined with 288 hours of related education (2 years if working full time and attending classes regularly). The LRT license and apprenticeship program are governed through state law and administrative rule by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).
To apply for this program, applicants must:
Be at least 17 years of age and may not be registered until they are at least 18
Have graduated high school or obtained the equivalent GED or college diploma
Have successfully completed 1 year of high school mathematics or an equivalent post high-school placement test or course with a grade of C or better
Please note! Although these are the minimum qualifications required to be placed in the pool of eligible applicants, applicants wishing to score competitively must submit additional documentation. See below for how applications are scored. Please keep in mind that this is a highly competitive program and only applicants who score in the top tier (typically > 75 points) will receive an opportunity to enter the program:
High school / GED : up to 5 points depending on GPA and courses completed (you must provide a copy of your high school transcript or GED certificate to earn points)
College or trade school: up to 5 points depending on graduation and courses completed (you must provide a copy of your transcripts to earn points)
Related programs: up to 15 points (allocated at 1 point per 10 contact hours; you must provide copies of any certificates of completion to earn points). Note, to earn points for related programs, applicants may either choose to either: 1) Begin the apprentice related training classes, 2) Complete an approved pre-apprenticeship program 3) Complete classes at Clackamas Community College's Renewable Energy Technologies program, 4) Obtain a PV Associate credential from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) or 5) submit other renewable energy coursework to be evaluated by the committee.
Proof of employment: up to 25 points; 2 points per month for trades-related work / 1 point per month for any employment (you must provide letters of recommendation with dates of employment and job roles held from employers on company letterhead)
Interview with committee: up to 50 points (interviews are held on a rolling basis within 60 days of application submittal)
To apply to be ranked in the pool of eligible applicants for Portland, Eugene, Corvallis, Central Oregon (Bend region), or Southern Oregon, please FIRST read the below FAQs and then click on the online application link under "Essential Documents"
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT WHEN APPLYING FOR THIS PROGRAM?
After you submit your application along with the required supporting documentation, the committee administration will confirm that you meet the minimum eligibility requirements. If so, you will be contacted for an interview, typically within 60 days. Keep in mind, this is not a job interview. This is an interview to determine if you are a good fit for the program. Your score on the interview, combined with your score on your application materials (see above), will determine your ranking in the pool of eligible applicants for the regions you selected to work in. Only the highest ranking applicants for a given region will be able to interview for an apprentice position once a registered training agent is ready to hire on a new apprentice. Should you be hired on, this is the point at which you would become a registered apprentice and begin the program.
DO I NEED TO APPLY FOR THIS APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM OR APPLY AND WAIT UNTIL I REACH THE TOP OF THE ELIGIBLE APPLICANT LIST TO START LOOKING FOR OPEN SOLAR INSTALLATION POSITIONS?
No! Finding an entry-level non-licensed role is actually a great way to get started. Many LRT training agents (employers) actually prefer to hire folks into non-licensed roles that contribute to solar installation work, such as a laborer, racking technician, or warehouse assistant. After proving to your employer that you are an honest AND reliable worker that can meet the demands of solar installation work, you could THEN be brought off of the eligible applicant list (as long as you are ranked among the top eligible applicants for your selected region) by that employer. You could also choose to work in a non-licensed entry-level role for some time before applying to the apprenticeship program, to ensure your interest in pursuing the program.
HOW MUCH MONEY WILL I EARN AS AN APPRENTICE? As a new apprentice, your starting wage would be a minimum of 50% of the current journey-level LRT wage, though employers may choose to pay you more based on your experience. The current average journey-level LRT wage among registered training agents (effective Sept 2021) is $33.10/hour; apprentices are required to earn a minimum percentage of this wage depending on their progress in the program:
1st term apprentice (0 to 1000 hrs.): 50% of journey-level wage = $16.55 / hr.
2nd term apprentice (1000 to 2000 hrs.): 60% of journey-level wage = $ 19.86 / hr.
3rd term apprentice (2000 to 3000 hrs.): 70% of journey-level wage = $ 23.17 / hr.
4th term apprentice (3000 to 4000 hrs.): 80% of journey-level wage = $24.68 / hr.
Journey-level LRT wage: $33.10 (average*)
*Note: Once an apprentice completes the program, passes the state licensing exam, and earns their LRT license, employers are no longer required to pay a certain wage. $33.10 represents the average LRT wage among active LRT training agents in the state. Due to high demand for licensed LRTs, especially in certain areas, some employers pay above the average journey-level wage.
CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE RELATED TRAINING (EDUCATION) THAT APPRENTICES MUST COMPLETE AS PART OF THIS PROGRAM?
All classes are available online through Solar Energy International (SEI) and the Independent Electrical Contractors of Oregon (IEC). The 288-hour LRT related training pathway can be found here. Some of the SEI courses can be taken "on-demand", while others require you to enroll in a 6-week online session; the 12-week online IEC sessions begin every September and January. Apprentices typically complete these courses on evenings/weekends/days off; employers are not required to provide days off for education hours. In total, the education costs total approximately $3000 for the 288 required education hours (~$1500 per year if completed in 2 years). Your employer is not obligated to pay for these classes, though some employers provide tuition assistance. SEI also offers scholarships that you may be eligible to apply for. Please note, tuition costs are not covered by the RE-JATC for this apprenticeship program.
CAN I GET STARTED ON THE RELATED TRAINING COURSES NOW, BEFORE I BEGIN THE PROGRAM?
Absolutely! In fact, completing some of the related training courses prior to applying for the program (or while waiting on the eligible applicant list) is a great way to improve your ranking. Each 10 hours of related training counts towards 1 point (out of the 15 maximum points) in the "Related Programs" section of the program application, and would retroactively count towards related training hours once you enter the program. In addition to earning application points through SEI or IEC courses, applicants can also take courses through Clackamas Community College's Renewable Energy Technology Program, or complete a pre-apprenticeship program. See the application points section above for more information on these options.
DO I NEED TO APPLY TO THIS PROGRAM TO WORK IN THE OREGON SOLAR INDUSTRY?
Not necessarily! There are many jobs in the solar industry which do not require a trades license- for example site surveyor, warehouse assistant, technical salesperson, PV system designer or engineer, customer service representative, project manager, solar racking technician, as well as a variety of roles in administration, HR, and finance. Only individuals performing solar electrical work must complete an electrical apprenticeship program. Check out the Oregon Solar and Storage Industry Association's Career Page for open positions, many of which do not require that you complete an apprenticeship program.
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