What is On-the-Job Training?

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On-the-job training allows employees to learn at their job sites, giving them first-hand experience that helps them perform their roles confidently and efficiently.   

Why is it important?

Most jobs today require post-secondary education and/or training to learn the skills to do them. On top of this, many employers provide it to familiarize employees with how the company operates and how specific procedures are to be done. Plus, some field positions even require on-the-job training hours before someone can sit for a career certification or licensing exam.

What is On-the-Job Training?

On-the-job training (OJT) is paid instruction for employees that takes place at work. This can apply for new hires who need to learn what employers expect of them as well as for veteran employees who need to learn new procedures.

The training may come from supervisors, co-workers, or outsourced trainers. It is also often used in jobs that involve hands-on work or the use of specialized software, equipment, or machinery.  

For new employees, training may include orientation topics like dress code, industry jargon, company hierarchy, and expectations for individual productivity.

OJT will also come in the form of learning specific procedures and new technology. It also usually combines observation along with hands-on experience to complete tasks in the presence of the trainer.

Types of On-the-Job Training

This type of training can be structured or unstructured in a stand-alone situation or as part of blended learning.


Woman doing on-the-job training at job site.

With structured OJT, the employer has a plan for how a new hire progresses through the training. For example, the plan will include a checklist of tasks and the order in which employees must complete those tasks. It also includes information on which supervisors are in charge at each stage, and goals will be clearly defined.

A structured program may include a contract the employee must sign as proof that he or she has completed the training. The U.S. Department of Labor refers to this type of training as a registered apprenticeship program. For example, electricians must participate in this type of program to prove that they have worked the hours needed for licensing.

Unstructured training involves observing the activities of an experienced employee on the job for as little as one day or for one or more weeks. Depending on the job, this stand-alone training may come from a single coworker or several. For example, a medical office assistant might undergo this type of training in order to understand how a staff operates. 

Also known as job shadowing, this effective method of training may be sufficient for jobs that don’t require specialized skills or the performance of complex tasks.  Businesses also use this method for employees that already have experience doing the job but who are new to the company.

Blended learning combines shadowing and getting hands-on experience with activities like watching videos, going over written materials, attending industry training events, and classroom or online learning.  

On-the-Job Training for Students

On-the-job training for students is real-world experience that is obtained while a student is still in school. Because new graduates may not yet be ready to work unsupervised in their chosen fields, this type of training is particularly important for them. It may also be much more extensive.

Some technical colleges, like Southern Careers Institute career programs that include an externship course for students to get on-the-job training as part of the curriculum. They may also earn school credit for it.  For those careers where OJT is required for certification, this is a very attractive benefit to students.  

Benefits of On-the-Job Training

The primary goal of on-the-job training is for employees to be able to handle work without direct supervision. It is also very helpful for companies that have specific processes that employees must know. 

Main benefits of on-the-job training for employees include the following:

  • Skills development- While training at the worksite, employees develop skills that will help them to do their jobs effectively.
  • Paid training- Time is compensated.
  • Improved job performance- When employees receive training onsite, it allows them to better know what is expected of them, and they are more likely to keep the job.
  • Team atmosphere- Being in close contact with peers and supervisors right from the start fosters a team atmosphere and a better understanding of the work culture.

Employers also get the following benefits from OTJ training:

  • Cost-effectiveness- When a company’s employees can learn from coworkers, it saves time and money that would otherwise have to be spent on training seminars.
  • Reduced employee turnover- Employees feel more confident in their abilities to do their work and are more likely to meet performance expectations. They also remain in the job longer.
  • Focused learning- The learning process is quick and allows for fast communication of exact standards.

Texas Job Program Examples

Some careers that need on-the-job training for certification include HVAC technicians and electrical technicians.

The state of Texas requires HVAC technicians to be licensed. This requires 36 months of relevant supervised hands-on experience after a training course is completed.

Technicians learn from experienced technicians how to install and maintain units, insulate refrigerant lines, clean furnaces, and cut and solder pipes to get the on-the-job training hours needed to sit for the licensing exam.

Electricians must also be licensed to work in Texas. The Texas Workforce Commission sponsors registered apprenticeship training for journey workers. Apprentice electricians receive 2,000 hours per year of supervised on-the-job training. They need 8,000 hours of training before they can sit for the journey exam. 

To gain purpose and meaning in your life, you need the freedom to find meaningful work. A comprehensive educational program along with on-the-job training can get you where you want to be.

The admissions staff at SCI is standing by to assist you in discovering a career path that can help you reach your goals.

So, what are you waiting for?

Contact us today at 1.833.SCI.TEXAS to get started or apply now and we will contact you!


  • https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/starting-new-job/what-is-on-the-job-training
  • https://www.apprenticeship.gov/registered-apprenticeship-program
  • https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-4
  • https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/electricians.htm#tab-4
  • https://www.twc.texas.gov/businesses/apprenticeship-program-employers


Blog Disclaimer: Information stated in this blog is for general information purposes only. SCItexas.edu does not assume or guarantee income earning potential or salary expectations based on the programs offered at Southern Careers Institute. Career and program information stated in this blog does not guarantee that programs and specifics are offered at Southern Careers Institute.

This article was published on: 05/27/20 8:30 AM

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