Training Expert Technicians

LLNL missions depend on specialized manufacturing capabilities not available outside the Laboratory. Manufacturing professionals make up about 10 percent of the Engineering workforce: they fabricate parts for LLNL to implement research and design innovations, all with a cost-effective, low-waste ethos.

LLNL's Machine Apprenticeship Program

Engineering’s 4-year Machinist Apprenticeship Program is California-certified, offers paid education plus training in the machine-tool trade, and provides the potential for a permanent job upon graduation.  

Apprentices receive roughly 8,000 hours of education and experience, including hands-on training under journey-level mentors and supplemental instruction on technical theory. Program graduates earn a Journeyman Certificate issued by the State and/or U.S. Department of Labor. 

A machinist works on the VMX 50 machine
At a place like this, there's always room to move up or learn more. The sky's the limit.
- Brandon Pratt,
Machinist apprentice program grad

What Engineering Apprentices Do

  • Manufacture complex products under mentorship from senior machinists 

  • Use high-end equipment to produce components for cutting-edge science 

  • Rotate through a series of learning areas, performing hands-on machining 


Apprenticeship Qualifications

  • A high-school diploma, GED, or equivalent, with completed shop math, mechanical drawing, agricultural engineering, or other relevant courses 

  • A passing score on the LLNL apprentice aptitude exam 

  • Basic knowledge of and experience with shop equipment, tools, procedures, and materials 

  • Basic math skills, including geometry and trigonometry 

  • A valid CA driver’s license, able to operate 6,000 lb. fork truck 

  • Must be medically able to wear respiratory and protective equipment 

  • The ability to pass drug tests and obtain top-secret government clearance 


Apprentice fabricating a new part

Check Out Our
Apprenticeship Openings

We accept 2-5 apprentices each year, keeping cohorts small to enable hands-on learning. Positions open in winter for a summer start.

See Open Apprenticeships

See Yourself Here

Engineering has a full range of manufacturing and technical services to assist with LLNL program needs. The facilities that provide these services are collectively known as “The Manufacturing Service Center”—learn more below. 


Mechanical Engineering Division (MED) Area Machine Shops

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High Explosives Processing

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Dimensional Inspection Laboratory

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Laser Processing Facility

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Main Bay Machine Shop

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Metal Finishing and Plating Shop

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Optic Shop

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Precision Machining Facility

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Sheetmetal Shop

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Special Materials Machining Facility (SMMF)

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Target Fabrication Shop

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Water Jet Shop

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Weld Shop

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Current Openings


Want more?

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Need more information? Contact Larry Sage at sage5 [at] (sage5[at]llnl[dot]gov) or (925) 423-8327 OR Jason Carroll at carroll17 [at] (carroll17[at]llnl[dot]gov) or (925) 424-4369.