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An apprenticeship program in the highway construction trades is similar to college in that most programs are four years in length. However, while a student can accumulate a lot of debt at college, an apprentice can earn real wages while he or she learns. In most union apprenticeship programs, apprentices can even earn college credits at the local community college. Apprenticeship programs require both classroom training and 1,000 hours a year of on-the-job training to advance.