Southwest Regional Apprenticeship Program (SWRAP)


In 2010, PSNS & IMF partnered with 3 local Naval Activities (Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Detachment at Naval Base Pt Loma, Southwest Regional Maintenance Center at Naval Base San Diego, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest at NAS North Island, and Southwestern College to create an apprentice program in San Diego, thus the Southwest Regional Apprentice Program was formed.While most people are steered towards attending college, earning a bachelor’s degree and entering the workforce at an entry level; there are other options out there.

The current Apprentice enrollment is approximately 110 apprentices.

This program is located in San Diego. Apprentices attend college and trade classes at our apprentice school at NAS North Island and on the job learning at one of three sites: NAS North Island, Naval Base Point Loma or Naval Base San Diego.

About the Program

Apprentices are hired into Federal Civil Service (Civilian) positions associated with the maintenance and repair of Naval Ships.

Apprentices enjoy Federal Employee benefits (Annual and Sick Leave, Health Insurance, Accrual of retirement benefits, Group Life Insurance, etc.) upon starting their new jobs as apprentices.

The apprentice program involves four (4) years of intensive training in one of about 10 skilled trades of interest to the participating naval activities:

  • Machinists
  • Welders
  • Marine Machinery Mechanics
  • Riggers
  • Pipefitters & Temp Service Pipefitters
  • Electricians & Temp Service Electricians
  • Electronics Mechanics

For those selected to the Southwest Regional Apprentice Program: The first three (3) years are equally divided between trade skill training and taking college classes, which leads to an Associate’s degree in Business Management and Project Management Certificate of Achievement at the end of the 3rd year.

After successful completion of College and trade courses, emphasis shifts from academics to specific skill training on the job, leading toward the apprentice achieving journey level certifications through the Department of Labor and Department of Navy.

Upon completion, candidates are traditionally offered career employment status at their employing activity as a journey level employee with full benefits.

Get Paid While You Train AND Earn an Associate's Degree

Apply for 2024 Cohort (Applications close April 8, 2024)QR Code

 Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Apprenticeship Program Brochure (PDF)

Careers & Job Outlook

The Department of the Navy fully funds student tuition for employed apprentices at each of the participating activities.

Apprentices are paid on a federal wage grade trainee (WT) scale basis, initially as WT-01 at $20.91 per hour. Everyone hired into the program starts at the same wage and progresses through the wage schedule at the same rate regardless of previous experience. Outstanding performers in trade and academics may petition for up to 6 months early completion of the program. Apprentices receive promotions every 26 weeks so long as they meet the requirements for promotion at the end of each promotion period.

Wage Scale


Months in Program Pay Grade Hourly Wage
YEAR 1 1-6 WT-00-01 $20.91
7-12 WT-00-02 $22.32
YEAR 2 13-18 WT-00-03 $23.73
19-24 WT-00-04 $25.13
YEAR 3 25-30 WT-00-05 $26.54
31-36 WT-00-06 $27.95
YEAR 4 37-42 WT-00-07 $29.36
43-48 WT-00-08 $30.76
COMPLETION WG-10 Step 2 $32.17

This is a strong, vibrant and rigorous program, one that is intended to provide living wage jobs to area residents.

The Program serves as a college-industry model partnership.

Graduation and completion rates are currently upwards of 75%. Placement rates for completers is 100%.

Application Process & Suggestions

  1. Log into your account at If you don't have an account already, create one.
  2. Create a resume on using resume builder. (You can also upload a resume but building it on the site will make your resume more useful to the hiring managers).
    HINT: Be sure to fill out the OCCUPATIONAL QUESTIONNAIRE.
  3. Upload your pertinent documents
    • Optional for everyone: College Transcripts and/or assessment results (must be less than 3 years old) if you have them, recommendation letters, cover letter, etc.
    • For Veterans requesting preferential consideration all of the following are REQUIRED:
      • VA Disability Letter (may obtain via VONAPP)
      • DD-214
      • SF-15 (Find via Google, Download and fill out)
    • Failure to submit any of the documents above may result in you not receiving veteran's preference, even if you are eligible.
  4. Go to the announcement via the link above and click on "APPLY NOW". Go through the steps to submit your resume and required documentation via usajobs.
  5. Answer and submit all questions for the online questionnaire. Be sure to answer all questions accurately - your answers will be verified before you are offered employment.
  6. The system will tell you when your application is complete, and you will get an automated confirmation email indicating that your information has been received.
  8. You must take the test, in person, in San Diego sometime in May. You will be required to provide valid government-issued identification to be admitted to the test. This test will be administered in San Diego. If you live out of the San Diego area, you will have to travel to San Diego, at your own expense, to take the test. Failure to pass the test will preclude you from further consideration.
  9. If you pass the written test, your resume will be reviewed by the hiring managers and selections will be made for interviews, which will be held sometime in June in San Diego. If selected for an interview, you should find out sometime mid to late June. For those living farther than 250 miles from San Diego, you may be afforded the opportunity to conduct your interview by phone.

Be sure to check your email regularly, as we will communicate with you via email throughout the application process. Failure to respond may remove you from further consideration.

Selectees should find out sometime in July/August. Those not selected sometime later.

Those that are selected will start working sometime mid to late September/early October.

Important Job Information

  • These are wage-grade APPRENTICE (entry-level) jobs.
  • Though the announcement lists a range of salary, EVERYONE starts at $20.91 per hour (2024 Scale). Participants receive an approx. $1.22/hour pay raise every 26 weeks while in the program as long as they meet all program requirements.
  • Everyone takes all the same courses at the same time, regardless of previous academic background.
  • Apprentices will earn a Business Management Associate of Science Degree and a Project Management Certificate of Proficiency.
  • In order to participate in the program, you will have to be placed into the entry-level MATH and ENGLISH. The placement may be required as part of the application process or soon after starting. You will be notified of when placement requirements must be met.
  • All classes are on the clock and all tuition is paid by the program. Apprentices are responsible for their own books/supplies.
  • There is NO relocation expense reimbursement authorized...if you currently live out of area and are selected, you will have to relocate at your own expense and make your own living arrangements within the San Diego commuting area before your start date.
  • You must be willing to commit, in writing, to working for your employing activity for approximately 31 months following completion of your on-the-clock academic training, which is typically at the end of the 3rd year. Failure to meet the obligated time may require you to re-pay the government’s educational expenses paid on your behalf.
  • You may use your VA GI Bill® Benefits to supplement your income while in the program if you wish to do so. Our VA coordinator will assist you once you start work.

We have three (3) employers hiring, all located in San Diego:

  • Puget Sound Naval Shipyard San Diego Detachment, NAS North Island
  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard San Diego Detachment, Naval Base Pt Loma
  • SW Regional Maintenance Center, Naval Base San Diego

All Apprentice-related classes will be held at the apprentice school on Naval Air Station, North Island. On the Job Learning (OJL) will be at one of the employers' locations indicated above

You may address questions not addressed by the announcement, the trifold, or this webpage to

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website.