Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I enroll/when can I enroll?
A. If you are a program sponsor or an apprentice, please contact Rick Bruno, the Iowa Training Consultant. See Page 4 for his contact information. Penn Foster has "open enrollment", allowing you to enroll at any time. In just a few short minutes, we can have your apprentice(s) enrolled, in compliance with the licensing law and ready to begin their studies.

Q. What does an apprentice need to do to get started?
A. Apprentices must be "sponsored" by an employer (contractor or company) who will provide them with OJL (on-the-job-learning), to go along with the RTI (Related Technical Instruction...aka "book work") that Penn Foster provides.

Q. What does an employer need to do to get started?

A. The sponsoring employer must register their Apprenticeship program with the DOL's Office of Apprenticeship (DOLOA) in Des Moines. Their main number is 515-284-4691. There is no fee to register. The employer must choose an approved RTI (Related Technical Instruction...aka "book work") provider, which Penn Foster is.

Q. Does your program meet all requirements of the 2008 licensing law?
A. Yes. These programs are approved by the US DOL's Iowa Office of Apprenticeship (DOLOA).


Q. What are the minimum requirements?
A. The DOLOA requires 144 hours of RTI (Related Training Instruction...the "book work"), along with 2,000 hour per year of OJL (on-the-job-learning, which is provided by the sponsoring employer). The Electrical, Plumber and HVAC Apprenticeships are 8,000 hour programs, meaning they are 4-year program, requiring a minimum of 8,000 hours of OJL and 576 hours of RTI (Related Technical Instruction...aka "book work" at 144 hours per year x 4 years). All Penn Foster apprenticeships will contain at least 145 hours of training per year.

Q. What does your program cost?
A. For the minimum hours of training required by the US DOLOA (including the Electrical Board's "Core" content requirement), the program will average under $1,600 (+ s/h) per year, per apprentice. PLEASE NOTE: Penn Foster  does not charge any other fees (textbooks, registration fee, lab fee, etc). This generally means that Penn Foster will be a more cost-effective choice versus other providers.

Q. How can I track my apprentice(s) progress?
A. Penn Foster provides each employer with a login to our LPP (Learning Progress Portal), which allows access to your apprentice(s) records in real time (what coursese they are enrolled in, which courses they've tested on and what they've scored). The DOLOA will provides access to the RAPIDS system, which permits employers to record their apprentice(s) OJL hours.

Q. How do I track my apprentice(s) RTI ("book work") hours?
A. Penn Foster ships and charges one year at a time, removing the need to "track" RTI hours. As each Year contains at least 144 hours, when the apprentice finishes their current set of books within the one year "anniversary" of their enrollment date, you'll know they have met their minimum required hours. Thus, completion of the full 4 year program will also meet the required minimum of at least 576 hours of RTI.

Q. Can the apprentice complete their RTI ("book work") hours before my year is up?
A. Yes, all Penn Foster programs are self-paced and apprentices can complete their training as quickly as they'd like. However, please note that their OJL hours cannot be completed in less than 4 years.

Q. Does the apprentice have access to an Instructor?
A. Yes. Instructional support is available via a toll-free number or by email.

Q. Can I get credit for prior schooling or experience?
A. Most times, yes. All credit evaluation is on a "case-by-case" basis. Please call Rick Bruno at 518-894-5125 for more information on submitting transcripts for review.

Q. What if I have prior OJL hours?
A. If the hours are verifiable (letter from employer or W-2's), the apprentice may qualify to start the program after Year 1. However, please note that one of the main purposes of the program is to prepare the apprentice for the Journeyman's Exam for licensure. The sponsoring employer, the apprentice and Penn Foster work together to start the apprentice at the proper spot, while ensuring the apprentice is provided any and all training they might need to prepare for the Journeyman's Exam.

Q. What if I have enough OJL hours (8,000+) to sit for my Journeyman's Exam?
A. If performing Electrical, Residential Wiring, Plumbing or HVAC work in Iowa, you must either be licensed or enrolled in an approved apprenticeship program. Check with the DOLOA and state licensing authority if the apprentice will be granted permission to sit for the exam.