Apprenticeship Program

Apprentices training on water pipe construction.

We hope to hire new classes of apprentices approximately every two years in each of the apprenticeships we offer.

Join our contact list to learn about the program and find out about future opportunities.

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Earn while you learn:
SPU Apprenticeships are two-year programs registered with the State of Washington. You'll earn over $30/hr and have excellent benefits while you learn a skilled trade as a full-time, regular employee of the City of Seattle.

  • No previous experience is required! This is an entry-level opportunity with huge potential for advancement.
  • During the initial phase of your employment, you will receive all the training needed to obtain your Class B Commercial Driver's License (CDL).
  • Benefits include medical and dental insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, paid holidays, and a pension.

To ensure that you will be a good fit for one of our programs, make sure to carefully review the following portions of the Programs Offered section below:

  • Program Requirements
  • Working Conditions

Apprenticeship Programs Offered

During your apprenticeship, you will work with Journey-level Water Pipe Workers to construct, install, and repair SPU's water mains, services, valves, and fire hydrants. You'll also have the opportunity to work in the utility's transmission system that brings some of the best drinking water in the nation from pristine watersheds to our customers. At the end of our two-year program, you will graduate to become a registered journey-level Water Pipe Worker yourself, passing on your knowledge to the next generation of apprentices. The positions are represented by United Association Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local #32. View the Water Pipe Worker Apprentice job description.

Water Pipe Worker apprentices are expected to work outside in all types of weather, terrain and environment, and at all hours.

Under guidance from a journey-level trainer, Water Pipe Worker apprentices:

  • Repair broken water mains, install new service connections, perform routine maintenance, and respond to emergency situations within the water system
  • Work around heavy equipment such as backhoes, dump trucks and excavators
  • Operate tools and large equipment
  • Perform work in confined spaces
  • Work with our field crews throughout the city and in the watersheds
  • Develop communication skills and play an active role in investigating and resolving customer complaints

Watch the video to see if this career and program are right for you!

Please Note: Applications are no longer being accepted for our 2022 Water Pipe Worker Apprenticeship Hiring.

Part I: The Work (0:07 – 5:13)
Part II: The Apprenticeship Program (5:14 – 14:35)
   Initial Training – “First Class” (6:04 – 9:27)
   On-the-Job Training (9:28 – 12:35)
   Related Supplemental Instruction (12:36 – 14:35)
Part III: The Hiring Process (14:36 – 16:21)

Audio is only used periodically throughout the video. You can start and stop the video after it opens by pressing the space bar or mouse clicking the screen. Or you can advance to the section of the video you are interested in by using the time frame references above. 

Drainage & Wastewater Collection Workers construct, maintain, inspect, and repair sewer lines, drainage systems, shafts, tunnels and maintenance holes in the drainage and sewer systems for the City of Seattle. 

Drainage & Wastewater apprentices are expected to work outside in all types of weather, terrain and environment, and at all hours. Safety is of the highest priority. All apprentices will be trained to work safely around worksite and environmental hazards, wear personal protective equipment and clothing, and follow strict safety regulations. The positions are represented by the Public Service and Industrial Employees, Local 1239. Under guidance from a journey-level employee, Drainage and Wastewater apprentices will also learn and be expected to:

  • Operate tools and large equipment, and work around heavy equipment such as backhoes, dump trucks and excavators.
  • Work with our field crews throughout the city.
  • Perform work in confined spaces.
  • Work at heights, and climb in and out of deep structures.
  • Clean catch basins, remove hazardous materials, clear debris from creeks, make repairs, and install infrastructure such as maintenance holes, catch basins, and pipes within the rain water drainage system.
  • Repair broken sewer pipelines, install new service connections, inspect sewer lines using a closed-circuit TV, and respond to emergency situations within the sewer system.
  • Investigate and resolve customer complaints.
  • Please note, as drivers of commercial vehicles, federal regulations require that Drainage and Wastewater Collection Workers be entered into a random drug testing pool.

Program requirements

SPU Apprenticeships place a high value on:

  • Punctuality
  • Excellent attendance
  • Good time management skills
  • Being open to receiving corrective feedback

Due to required submission of frequent evaluations and the completion of an extensive set of on-the-job training “Skills Blocks”, above-average administrative and organizational skills are required.

Apprentices are required to attend a minimum of 144-hours of unpaid classes per year.

Safety is our highest priority. All apprentices will be trained to work safely on construction sites and city streets, around heavy equipment, and in the use power tools. You will be expected to wear personal protective equipment, high-visibility clothing, and follow strict safety regulations.

Please note that federal regulations require drivers of commercial vehicles to be entered into a random testing pool for drugs and alcohol. Water Pipe Workers and Drainage and Wastewater Collection Workers (including apprentices), are subject to random testing for drugs and alcohol on an ongoing basis throughout their career.

Working conditions

Water Pipe Workers and Drainage and Wastewater Collection Workers routinely:

  • Perform demanding and physically challenging work, including lifting more than 50 pounds up to waist level.
  • Bend, stoop and dig for extended periods of time.
  • Work long shifts outdoors in all types of weather conditions and heavy traffic
  • Enter confined spaces (such as maintenance chambers, holes and excavations).
  • Work in dirt and mud and in noisy environments
  • Wear PPE including hard hat, safety toe boots, rain gear, and respirator
  • Work any shift or schedule, including nights, evenings, weekends and holidays.
  • Participate on “standby rotations” to ensure adequate staff are available during off-hours to handle emergency events.
  • Respond to emergency conditions resulting in overtime with little or no notice.
  • Follow strict safety procedures and policies
  • Meet the conditions set forth in the City of Seattle, Washington Standards of Apprenticeship, SPU Workplace Expectations, and SPU Safety Policies.
  • Maintain their Commercial Driver License (CDL) which among other things requires random testing for drugs and alcohol

For more on what is expected of employees of the City of Seattle, visit Our City Values, Workplace Expectations and Racial Equity and Social Justice.


Application and hiring process


Applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Must be a High School graduate or equivalent, or a vocational school graduate
  • At least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of hire
  • Current valid driver's license from any state at time of application
    • Applicants must obtain a Washington State driver's license on or before the date of hire 
    • Applicants must provide proof of driving record by submitting their “FULL Abstract Driving Record” as part of the application material. Your “Full Abstract of Driving Record” must not be older than 30 days from the date of application submission. DO NOT submit the Employment Driver Abstract. Please follow the instructions below:

How to obtain your "Full Abstract of Driving Record" (Online or In-person):

How to submit your "Full Abstract of Driving Record:"

  • Scan and attach your "Full Abstract of Driving Record" to your application
  • Mail the "Full Abstract of Driving Record" to the following address:
    Seattle Public Utilities
    Attention: Human Resources
    700 - 5th Ave
    P.O Box 34018
    Seattle, WA  98124-4018
  • Email abstract to


Applications are screened for:

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Full Abstract of Driving Record - not older than 30 days from the date your application is submitted
  • Application Completeness – candidates are encouraged to upload a resume with their on-line application

Working test: The test has three parts with time limits: (1) lift and carry (2) shovel (3) mechanical aptitude. The first two parts are to evaluate physical capacity in body strength. Candidates must successfully pass both stations to continue on to the mechanical aptitude. The mechanical aptitude test is a "hands-on" demonstration on how to use a diagram to correctly put parts together. This test gives you a chance to show your mechanical aptitude and ability to follow directions. Based on the working test results, the most competitive candidates will proceed to the oral panel interview.

Additional tests: Candidates may be subject to additional testing or hiring processes not mentioned above.

Oral panel interview: SPU interview panelists which include skilled trades staff and management. The interview will include questions about work experience and background, and about hypothetical situations candidates could encounter on the job or in the workplace.

Reference check: After the interview, references for each of the most successful candidates will be contacted.

Conditional job offer: The most competitive candidates will receive a conditional offer of employment.

Candidates who receive conditional job offers are required to pass each of the following before receiving a final job offer:

  • Pre-employment physical: A medical examination of the candidate to determine whether he/she can perform the mental and physical functions of the job
  • CDL background check: Driving safety record
  • Drug test: As a requirement to obtain a Class "B" Commercial Driver's License, selected candidates are required to take and pass a drug test, and by Federal Law must be randomly drug tested throughout their career

Resources & guides

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.