UA Local 290 – Apprenticeship Information


Instead of owing thousands in student loans when you graduate from college, you can earn while you learn – with no college expenses!

If you enjoy math, science and problem solving and want a career filled with variety and advancement the piping industry might be the right career choice for you.

The Matt J. Walters Training Centers offers five-year apprenticeships for Plumbers, Steamfitters and HVAC/R. Our apprenticeship program is appropriate for high school graduates looking for something other than the traditional college route, those looking for a career change, or college graduates concerned with the difficult job market. If you’re good with your hands and fascinated by the construction industry and the trades, apply for our five-year apprenticeship program.

After the application process, and once accepted into the apprenticeship program, each new apprentice is paired with a journeyman. The apprentice trains with the journeyman during the day, working for one of our contractors. Pay increases as program requirements are met.

The benefits of membership in Local 290 continue throughout your lifetime:

  • Fair Wages
  • Safe Working Conditions
  • Superior Training Opportunities
  • Healthcare
  • Retirement Benefits
  • Job Referrals


Apprentice Wages (4/1/16 – 3/31/17)

Term Training Hrs School Hrs % Base Wage Total Package
1 0 0 40% $17.13 $32.27
2 800 108 50% $21.42 $36.56
3 1600 216 55% $23.56 $45.30
4 2400 324 60% $25.70 $48.03
5 3200 432 65% $27.84 $50.77
6 4000 540 70% $29.98 $53.51
7 4800 648 75% $32.12 $56.24
8 5600 756 80% $34.26 $58.99
9 6400 864 85% $36.41 $61.73
10 7200 972 90% $38.55 $64.47

Related training classes are held in the evenings and occasionally on Saturdays.

The recruitment, selection, employment and training of apprentices during their apprenticeship shall be without discrimination because of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability or as otherwise specified by law. The sponsor shall take positive action to provide equal opportunity in apprenticeship and will operate the apprenticeship program as required by the rules of the Oregon State Apprenticeship and Training Council and Title 29, Part 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

We encourage females, minorities and veterans to apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is occupational training that combines on-the-job experience with classroom instruction. Apprentices earn while they learn– their wages usually begin at 40% of the journeyman salary. Journeymen are individuals who have completed their training and hold industry certification.

Apprentices receive pay increases as they learn to perform more complex tasks. When they become a journeyman, they increase their chances of finding a well-paying job in the industry and may become supervisors or go into business for themselves.

Below is more details on the job description:

  • Assemble, install and maintain pipes that carry water, steam, compressed air, gases and fluids which are needed for manufacturing, heating and cooling.
  • Work is done on high and low pressure pipes, power stations, refrigeration systems and environmental controls.
  • Reading of blueprints to determine the layout of piping, valves, fixtures and controls.
  • Welding of pipes made of materials that include carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, plastic, and other special alloys.
  • Tools used include reamers, drills, gas torches, welding equipment, pipe cutters, benders and threaders.
  • Working conditions are both inside and outside in all types of weather. Workers can be exposed to heat, cold, fumes, chemical and toxic odors.
  • The working activities are both active and strenuous which may include much walking, prolonged standing, reaching and lifting, and having to be in cramped or otherwise uncomfortable positions.
  • Follow detailed instructions of a vast range of skills and be able to solve mathematical problems accurately.
What type of apprenticeships are offered?

Everywhere there’s piping, or heating, cooling and air conditioning, there’s a need for highly trained LU 290 piping professionals!

Union Steamfitters, Plumbers and HVAC/R Service technicians can specialize in:

  • Commercial Construction
  • Commercial/Industrial Instrumentation
  • Gas/Air/Water Piping
  • High Purity Piping
  • Hydronic Heating
  • HVAC/R Service
  • Hydraulic Piping and Systems
  • Lab and Clean Room Work
  • Medical Gas Systems
  • Pipe Fabrication
  • Power Piping
  • Vacuum Piping and Systems
  • Valve and Pump Installation and Repair
  • X-Ray Quality Welding and many more!
How do I apply?

Applications are completed online during one of our application openings. The application must be completed online and submitted with your High School Transcripts or GED Certificate and a copy of your Drivers License or Birth Certificate.  Additional application information is available on the home page in the top navigation bar under “Apprenticeship Openings”.

What are the minimum educational requirements?

Applicants must be 17 years old in order to apply, and a minimum of 18 years at the time of registration. Applicants must be a high school graduate or have a GED of 255 points (2550 points for GED issue after 1-1-03); or, be a high school graduate with a GED Pretest examination score of 255 or above (2550 points for GED Pretest score issued after 1-1-03 and before 12-31-13) or Score 600 if achieved after January 1, 2014.

Applicants must have completed one full year of high school algebra, integrated math 2, or equivalent post-high school algebra course(s) with a grade of ‘C’ or better or must present current math placement test results from a community college facility indicating a placement level beyond high school level algebra.

Applicants must submit certified transcripts, from a post-high school educational institution accredited by a state education agency, may be accepted as evidence the education qualification standard is met if the transcript affirms the applicant has high school, community college or baccalaureate graduate status or is a GED exam score qualifier.


Do apprentices attend school?

School is 2 nights a week, for 3 hours each night, which equates to 108 hours per term, and 216 hours per year. Tuition is $100 per term. There are also occasional mandatory classes on weekends. Books are sold at a 50% discount to Apprentices.

Instruction covers the installation of commercial and industrial progress piping systems. Welding certification plays a big part in the education process in this program. Apprenticeship is 5 years long, with the first year considered probationary. You will need to purchase text material for use in related training classes as required. Work will be done under the supervision of a journeyman for your on the job training. Pay is set at a percentage of the going Journeyman rate, with a 5% raise every 6 months, providing all requirements are met. Fringe benefits are provided during your apprenticeship.

How much do apprentices make?

Apprentice wages are based on the current contractual journeyman rate.
A term is minimum of six months once all program requirements are met, the apprentice earns a raise.

How long does it take to become a Journeyman?

At the end of the 10th term successfully completed (8,000 training hours and 1,080 school hours total), and upon completion and passing of the UA STAR exam, apprentices are referred to the Building Codes Division for State exams. Once all exams are successfully completed, the apprentice is re-rated to journeyman.

Who can I talk to about apprenticeship?

Contact the Training Center’s main line at 503-691-1997