Start Your Career

The Campaign for Historic Trades focuses on the traditional and modern skills needed to maintain, preserve, restore, rehabilitate, reconstruct, and deconstruct historic structures.

A broad spectrum of jobs fall into the categories of historic trades construction, maintenance, public history, and more. As such, there is no one answer to the question: How do I become a historic tradesperson?

The fundamental way to navigate the career field is through a combination of experience, education, training, and employment. These categories can be separate or overlap. A formal apprenticeship encompasses all of these components and provides the framework to envision a career path.

Experience

Meaningful time spent in hands-on activities that increase tactile understanding. These can introduce you to one or more trades, or provide you with a newer or deeper understanding of a trade.

Education

Intentional learning and knowledge building related to the trades. Education informs how and why we do what we do.

Training

Structured and supervised hands-on experience that builds on existing skillsets and leads to a higher level of employment.

Employment

Receiving fair wages for work in an occupational setting. It is the execution of skill and knowledge with the goal of efficient and correct project completion. 

How to Get Started

Obtain these fundamentals in a variety of ways:

Volunteer

Find volunteer opportunities on our events calendar
Best for people unsure about what they want to do or if they want to pursue this as a career field. This is a great way to get practical experience before making major life changes or commitments. Volunteers are not compensated for their time.

Interest Engagement

Workshops

Find workshops on our events calendar
Workshops offer new or deeper understandings of certain topics, and can help people decide if they want to commit to a historic trades career or learn about a specific trade. They provide hands-on instruction with tools in a controlled setting. The goal of workshops is participant understanding, rather than project completion. This will not simulate occupational settings or learning.

Interest Engagement or Continuing Education

Classes

Find classes on our events calendar
Accredited or articulable, classes have clearly defined learning outcomes and instruct on the hows and whys of the means and methods of trades work. Classes often also provide a hands-on component as part of the learning experience.

Interest Engagement, Continuing Education, or Accredited Courses

Pre-apprenticeships

Find pre-apprenticeships and practicums on our events calendar
Pre-apprenticeships are on-ramps to Registered Apprenticeship Programs and meant for people intent on pursuing a career. Pre-apprenticeships are structured training programs that prepare people with job skills for general construction and/or preservation. Practicums are not official pre-apprenticeships and do not lead into a RAP but emulate the model of a pre-apprenticeship.

Pre-apprenticeships and Practicums 

Jobs

Entry-level jobs provide an on-ramp into the field and don’t necessarily require experience or education to start. Quality employers will provide guidance and training for new entrants.

Find employment events on our events calendar

National Park Service

Find opportunities with the NPS here
The National Park Service (NPS) runs programs to onboard preservation trades employees into the workforce. These options are best for people who know they want to get into preservation. Experience is preferred but not required. Some of these qualify as youth programming and are only available to people ages 18 – 30 and veterans up to age 35.
Learn more about NPS programs here

Pre-apprenticeships and Practicums and Continuing Education

Apprenticeships and Internships

Find apprenticeship and internship opportunities here
Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) are certified with the Department of Labor. They involve an agreement between the apprentice, the employer, and the apprenticeship sponsor. It is structured employment that guarantees training, education and correlating compensation from the employer. The apprentice agrees to meet certain thresholds to achieve these benchmarks and receive apprenticeship certification upon completion. Unofficial apprenticeships are considered internships. Internships are not regulated by third parties, so the training, education, and compensation is determined by the employer without external verification processes.

Apprenticeships and Internships

There are many ways for individuals, businesses, organizations, and philanthropic groups to support The Campaign. Find out how.