Apprenticeship in the pipe trades is a highly selective program, each candidate is carefully screened. No one with drug or alcohol problems can qualify and acceptance for training depends on the applicant's qualifications and the manpower needs of the Local at the time of the selection process.

Each member local of the New England States Pipe Trades has their own selection process and Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC). This committee consists of persons with considerable experience representing both the Mechanical Contractors Association and the UA Locals. The apprenticeship program is five years of intensive technical training consisting of at least 8,500 to 10,000 hours of on-the-job training and approximately 1,080 hours of related training in the classroom.

The New England States Pipe Trades have Apprenticeship Programs for steam fitting, sprinkler fitting, plumbing, pipefitting and refrigeration. Apprentices train in one of these categories depending upon the local which accepts you into apprenticeship school. Each skill requires learning a vast body of specific knowledge. Apprentices receive detailed instruction in job safety, health, industry regulations, and the fundamental skills required for working with tools of the trade.

As apprentices advance through the program, job-site experience is supplemented with classroom instruction in OSHA safety and health training, pipe trades mathematics, reading blueprints and isometric drawings, computer-aided design (CAD), sanitation, codes, mechanical codes, process pipe welding, control systems, elements of hydraulics and heat, physics with an emphasis on liquids and gases, and plumbing, steam fitting, or refrigeration and air conditioning theory.

The pay structure for an apprentice to journeymen is going to vary based upon the contract negotiated by each local. All apprentices are paid by experience with annual raises as they learn and progress to journeymen status.