Career Advice

What Is a Degree Apprenticeship? Exploring the Definition and Benefits

A degree apprenticeship might be a worthwhile option to think about if you are a recent high school or college graduate deciding what to do next. This style of apprenticeship integrates classroom instruction with real-world experience. If you are certain of your intended professional path, it might be a good route. In this post, we examine in detail the characteristics, conditions, and results of a degree apprenticeship.

What exactly is a degree apprenticeship?

Degree apprenticeships were introduced by the government in 2015 as a new way to earn a standard degree while working in a capacity that includes training. These long-coveted programs are accessible in many fields and career pathways where academic achievement is crucial. For students who have finished high school, there are two possibilities. The first one is a Level 6 credential. This credential offers a complete bachelor’s degree. The second is a master’s degree-granting Level 7 qualification.

The training program is distinctive because it combines advanced academic study with real-world experience and career advancement. Part-time students typically attend college on a predetermined day or group of days every week or once per month. The apprenticeship typically lasts three to six years, according to the level and route you select.

A degree apprenticeship is a structured educational program that combines academic learning with practical work experience. In this apprenticeship model, individuals work for an employer while simultaneously pursuing a higher education degree, typically at the undergraduate or postgraduate level. This innovative approach to learning offers several advantages:

  1. Hands-On Experience: Degree apprenticeships provide participants with valuable real-world work experience in their chosen field. This practical exposure helps them apply theoretical knowledge to actual workplace challenges.
  2. Earning While Learning: Apprentices are typically paid a salary by their employer, allowing them to earn money while they study. This financial support can help reduce the burden of student loans and cover living expenses.
  3. No Tuition Fees: In many cases, the cost of tuition is covered by the employer and the government, making degree apprenticeships a cost-effective way to attain a higher education qualification.
  4. Enhanced Employability: Graduates of degree apprenticeships are often highly sought after by employers. They possess a blend of academic qualifications and job-specific skills, making them well-prepared for the workforce.
  5. Networking Opportunities: Apprenticeships provide a platform for building professional networks within the industry, which can be beneficial for future career advancement.
  6. Tailored Learning: Apprenticeships are designed to meet the specific needs of industries, ensuring that participants acquire relevant skills that are in demand in the job market.
  7. Higher Retention Rates: Employers who invest in degree apprenticeships tend to have higher retention rates among their employees. Apprentices are more likely to stay with a company that supports their education and training.
  8. Diverse Career Paths: Degree apprenticeships are available in a wide range of fields, allowing individuals to pursue diverse career paths, from engineering and IT to healthcare and business.

In summary, a degree apprenticeship is a unique educational model that offers individuals the opportunity to gain practical experience, earn a salary, and obtain a degree without incurring significant tuition fees. It benefits both apprentices and employers by creating well-rounded, skilled professionals who are ready to contribute effectively to the workforce.

What advantages do degree apprenticeships offer?

The advantages of an apprenticeship include practical professional development while working as well as higher-level academic education that results in a degree. If you can’t decide between attending college and getting an apprenticeship, this option may be a good one. You might be able to get ahead of students who decide to just attend universities. The advantages to think about include:

  • The opportunity to gain real-world skills while working and receiving an apprenticeship income, as opposed to just piling up debt while attending university full-time.
  • the chance to expand your professional network, develop your employability skills, and hone your technical abilities while showcasing your worth to a potential employer who will probably give you a permanent position at the end of your course.
  • The capacity to obtain the same degree that you get by attending college full-time.
  • The possibility of developing interest and delight from broadening your skill set, learning fundamentals in a university setting one day, and putting them into practice in the “actual” professional world the next.

Who is qualified?

Typically, this kind of pathway is intended for 18 to 19-year-old school dropouts. If you’re an apprentice at a lower level right now, it might also be appropriate. An apprentice who has completed their course requirements and feels prepared to advance to the next level could be a good candidate for a degree apprenticeship.

Depending on the provider and educational background, a graduate may be eligible to apply for a degree apprenticeship. If you already have a degree, but it’s in a different area, you might be able to enroll in some degree apprenticeships. Speak with the provider about financing and eligibility before applying so that you are better prepared.

What is the source of funding for this apprenticeship?

You do not pay for your program or obtain a loan to meet the expense, in contrast to a full-time degree obtained through the conventional university path. Instead, the cost is shared by the employers and the government. The government covers two-thirds of the cost of the degree, with the employer covering the final third. You receive apprenticeship pay while you study and finish your apprenticeship debt-free.

Degree apprenticeships are typically funded through a combination of sources, which can vary depending on the country and specific program. In many cases, the funding comes from the following sources:

  1. Employers: Employers who hire apprentices are often the primary source of funding. They cover the cost of the apprentice’s salary, training, and education, including tuition fees.
  2. Government: Government bodies may provide financial support for degree apprenticeships as part of their workforce development initiatives. This support can take the form of grants, subsidies, or incentives to encourage employers to participate in apprenticeship programs.
  3. Apprentices: In some cases, apprentices may be required to contribute a portion of their wages toward the cost of their education. However, this is less common, and many degree apprenticeships do not require apprentices to pay tuition fees.
  4. Training Providers: Educational institutions or training providers involved in the apprenticeship may receive funding from the government or employers to deliver the academic component of the program.
  5. Levy Funding: In certain countries, like the United Kingdom, large employers with an annual payroll above a certain threshold are required to pay an apprenticeship levy. They can then use this levy to fund apprenticeship programs, including degree apprenticeships, within their organization.
  6. Collaborative Partnerships: Some degree apprenticeships are offered through collaborative partnerships between universities, colleges, and employers. Funding may be shared among these partners to support the program.

It’s important to note that the specific funding model for degree apprenticeships can vary widely by region and industry. Potential apprentices and employers should check with relevant government agencies, educational institutions, or industry associations to understand the funding options available for a particular program.

What is the apprentice’s minimum wage?

Government-set legislative minimums for apprenticeship pay are updated yearly. Apprentices 16 to 18 years old or 19 and in their first year are paid a minimum of £4.81 per hour as of April 2022. Apprentices age 19 and older who are in their second or later year of study make at least the federal minimum wage.

If you are over the age of 23 and begin working after April 2022, your salary will be the national living wage of £9.50. It’s crucial to remember that these are the minimum salaries required by law for apprentices, and some businesses opt to pay more, particularly for career paths that are frequently in high demand or that fetch a higher income in the market.

In what professions can I complete a degree apprenticeship?

Compared to regular apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships are a recent development. Due to their more advanced level, they are only accessible in a limited number of sectors and only within those that have rigorous academic requirements. These are some examples of these fields:

  • Risk management, banking, and accounting, together with business, accountancy, and finance, encompass project management, human resources consulting, operations management, and chartered management
  • Aeronautics and engineering, including nuclear engineering, manufacturing engineering, safety and health engineering, and power engineering
  • Digital and technology, such as technological research and development
  • Architecture, civil engineering, construction site management, construction quantity surveying, and building design engineering are all related to construction, particularly green and sustainable construction.
  • Health and sciences, including paramedicine, radiography, sonography, and podiatry, as well as biotech, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences
  • Elementary and secondary education, early childhood education, and special needs education

Which academic institutions provide degree apprenticeships?

This kind of apprenticeship is available through many universities. Depending on your industry of employment and your current journey through an apprenticeship, you may select a certain university. Instead of attending a regular university, apprentices usually take online courses or at a college close to their place of employment.

Certain courses might allow for blended learning, where some modules are taken online remotely and occasionally in person. You can utilize the government’s online “find an apprenticeship” service if you’re looking for an apprenticeship. Online research can assist you in selecting the field or industry you want to work in and matching it with the degree apprenticeships that are presently offered. You will have the chance to assess if this is the best course of action for you.

Degree apprenticeships are offered by a variety of academic institutions in different countries. The availability of degree apprenticeship programs can vary by region and may be influenced by local regulations and industry demand. Here are some types of academic institutions that commonly provide degree apprenticeships:

  1. Universities: Many universities, especially in the United Kingdom, offer degree apprenticeship programs. These programs often combine traditional classroom-based learning with work experience, allowing students to earn a degree while gaining practical skills in their chosen field.
  2. Colleges and Further Education Institutions: Some colleges and vocational education institutions offer degree apprenticeships as part of their educational offerings. These institutions often partner with employers to provide hands-on training and education.
  3. Technical and Trade Schools: Technical and trade schools may offer degree apprenticeships in fields such as engineering, construction, and healthcare. These programs are designed to prepare students for specific technical roles.
  4. Online Learning Platforms: In recent years, online learning platforms have started offering degree apprenticeships in collaboration with employers and universities. These programs allow students to access academic content and training remotely while working in their chosen profession.
  5. Professional Associations and Industry Bodies: Some degree apprenticeships are offered through professional associations or industry bodies. These organizations partner with educational institutions to provide specialized training and education in specific sectors.
  6. Employer-Provided Training Centers: In some cases, large employers have their training centers or facilities where they offer degree apprenticeships. These programs are tailored to the specific needs of the organization and the industry it operates.
  7. Public Institutions: Publicly funded institutions, such as community colleges and state universities, may offer degree apprenticeships in various fields, particularly in countries where apprenticeships are government-supported initiatives.
  8. Private Training Providers: Private training providers and for-profit institutions may also offer degree apprenticeships in collaboration with employers. These programs often focus on meeting the workforce needs of specific industries.

It’s essential to research specific institutions and their program offerings to find the degree apprenticeship that aligns with your career goals and interests. Additionally, the availability of degree apprenticeships can change over time as new programs are developed, so it’s a good idea to check with educational institutions, employers, and government agencies for the most up-to-date information.

What are the main advantages?

Students who prefer hands-on instruction and practical education can benefit from degree apprenticeships. Additionally, they give students the chance to obtain practical work experience while they finish their degrees. Degree apprenticeships have several advantages, including:

  • Your degree is paid for by the government and your job, so you graduate without any debt.
  • While completing your apprenticeship, you may be paid a pay or salary as long as you are employed full-time.
  • You advance more quickly than students choosing the traditional academic route who lack the same professional experience, network, or CV.
  • Employers place significant importance on the soft and hard skills you acquire via your employment, such as the capacity to operate under pressure and as part of a team, to interact with a variety of individuals, and to resolve issues.
  • Your workplace and the people around you provide you with constant guidance and assistance.
  • You may instantly apply the knowledge you acquired throughout your university studies to your employment, demonstrating your worth to your company, consolidating your knowledge, and making sure that all you do is pertinent to your career advancement.
  • After completing your degree apprenticeship, you will have 3-6 years of professional experience and networking, providing several prospects for advancement.
  • You continue to benefit from all the standard student benefits, including student cards and discounts.
  • Your employer may promise you a job after your program, and you may also have opportunities to grow quickly because you are already acquainted with the position, the firm, the people, and the culture.

What do a degree apprenticeship’s entry criteria entail?

It’s crucial to be aware that certain degree tracks are scarce and highly competitive, however, this is expected to change as more businesses and students become aware of the advantages. Most companies anticipate a strong set of formal credentials, including five GCSEs or more at A*–C (or 9–4). Relevant Level 3 apprenticeship qualifications, including BTEC, are appropriate for those choosing the apprenticeship route. It helps to prepare in advance and connect yourself as closely as possible to your desired course of study because many firms prefer candidates who already possess the necessary credentials.

The entry criteria for degree apprenticeships can vary depending on the specific program, academic institution, and employer. However, there are some common requirements and considerations that potential apprentices should be aware of when applying for a degree apprenticeship:

  1. Educational Qualifications: Most degree apprenticeships require a minimum level of educational attainment. This typically includes holding certain qualifications, such as high school diplomas, A-levels, or equivalent qualifications. Some programs may have specific subject requirements.
  2. Age Restrictions: While there is usually no upper age limit for degree apprenticeships, some programs may have age-related eligibility criteria. However, they are often open to individuals of various age groups, from school leavers to career changers.
  3. Employer-Specific Requirements: Different employers may have specific requirements for their apprenticeship programs. This could include preferences for certain skills, aptitudes, or personal qualities that align with the organization’s needs.
  4. Residency and Work Authorization: Depending on the country and the program, apprentices may need to meet residency or work authorization requirements. International students, for example, may need the appropriate visa to participate in a degree apprenticeship.
  5. Subject and Career Interest: Applicants should have a genuine interest in the field or profession related to the degree apprenticeship. Demonstrating a passion for the industry and the specific role is often an important aspect of the application process.
  6. Interview or Assessment: Many degree apprenticeship programs involve an interview or assessment process. This may include competency-based interviews, skills assessments, or aptitude tests to evaluate the candidate’s suitability for the apprenticeship role.
  7. Employer Sponsorship: Applicants must secure a job with an employer who is willing to sponsor their apprenticeship. The employer’s support is a crucial aspect of the application process, as they will often cover the apprentice’s salary and training costs.
  8. Meeting Specific Program Requirements: Each degree apprenticeship program may have unique prerequisites or requirements, such as a certain level of math proficiency for technical roles or a portfolio for creative industries.
  9. Additional Qualifications: In some cases, candidates may be required to have additional qualifications or certifications related to the field, especially for highly specialized apprenticeships.
  10. Application Deadlines: Applicants should be aware of application deadlines for degree apprenticeship programs. These programs may have specific application windows, and missing deadlines can affect eligibility.

It’s essential for individuals interested in degree apprenticeships to carefully review the specific entry criteria and application guidelines provided by the academic institution, employer, or program coordinator. Additionally, seeking guidance from career counselors or apprenticeship advisors can be valuable when navigating the application process.


Degree apprentices are required to work a minimum of 30 hours per week and complete at least 20% of their training outside of the workplace. Different delivery methods, like a day or block release (attending seminars, lectures, and lab sessions on campus), or distance learning in a virtual learning environment, can satisfy this 20% need.

Frequently Asked Questions about Degree Apprenticeship

  • What distinguishes a degree from a degree apprenticeship?

Students pursuing degrees typically spend a part of their time on campus, where they attend seminars and lectures and complete independent study assignments. DA: Degree apprentices complete 6 hours of off-the-job training each week in addition to their 30 hours a week spent gaining technical skills on the job.

  • What distinguishes a degree apprenticeship from a traditional apprenticeship?

One of the program’s main goals is for Higher Apprentices to complete a full bachelor’s or master’s degree. Degree apprenticeships combine higher education with occupational training and rigorously assess both classroom knowledge and workplace skills.

  • What credentials are necessary for a degree apprenticeship?

Different degree apprenticeships have different entry criteria, however, the majority of them call for level 3 credentials like an advanced apprenticeship, A-Levels, BTEC, or NVQ. In contrast, if you already have experience in the field, you might not need as many recent credentials.

  • How long does a degree apprenticeship typically take to complete?

The duration of a degree apprenticeship can vary depending on the specific program and the level of the degree (e.g., undergraduate or postgraduate). However, most undergraduate degree apprenticeships typically take between three and four years to complete, which is the same as a traditional bachelor’s degree. Postgraduate degree apprenticeships may take one to two years. It’s worth noting that the apprenticeship model includes both on-the-job training and academic study, which are integrated into the program. The exact timeline may also be influenced by factors such as the specific industry, the complexity of the role, and the academic institution’s schedule.

  • Are degree apprenticeships available in all fields and industries?

Degree apprenticeships have been expanding into various fields and industries, but their availability can vary by region and country. While many sectors, such as engineering, IT, healthcare, business, and construction, offer degree apprenticeships, not all industries have well-established apprenticeship programs. The availability of degree apprenticeships is often driven by industry demand, government policies, and educational institutions’ willingness to develop such programs. As a result, some fields may have a more extensive range of degree apprenticeships, while others may have fewer options. Prospective apprentices interested in a specific field should research available programs and consult with relevant institutions, employers, or apprenticeship agencies to determine the availability of degree apprenticeships in their chosen area of study or profession.

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