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Apprentice vs. Novice: What's the Difference?

By Harlon Moss & Janet White || Updated on May 21, 2024
An apprentice is a person undergoing training in a specific trade or profession, while a novice is someone new to a field or activity, often in a religious context.

Key Differences

An apprentice is someone who is learning a trade or profession under the guidance of a skilled worker. This relationship typically involves a formal agreement where the apprentice receives practical experience and education in exchange for work. Whereas, a novice is a beginner who is new to a particular field or activity. The term is often used in religious contexts to describe someone undergoing the initial stages of training in a religious order.
Apprenticeships are structured and can last several years, focusing on hands-on experience and skill acquisition. On the other hand, novices undergo an introductory period where they familiarize themselves with the basics and foundational principles of their chosen field or activity, which can be more informal.
While apprentices are usually paid for their work and have a clear career path laid out, novices might not receive any compensation and their future path can be less defined, often depending on their progress and commitment.
An apprentice’s training is typically aligned with industry standards and often leads to certification or qualification. Conversely, a novice’s training, particularly in religious contexts, may be more about personal growth and spiritual development rather than professional certification.
Apprenticeships are common in trades like carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work. Novices, on the other hand, are often found in religious communities such as monasteries or nunneries, but the term can also apply to any beginner in various contexts, including hobbies or new careers.

Comparison Chart


Trainee in a specific trade or profession
Beginner in a field or activity


Professional, skilled trades
Religious, general beginner

Training Duration

Several years
Initial period, varies widely


Often paid
Typically unpaid


Certification, skilled professional
Personal growth, foundational skills


Formal, structured
Can be informal or semi-structured

Apprentice and Novice Definitions


A learner working under a skilled worker.
She worked as an apprentice to the master chef.


Someone inexperienced in a particular domain.
The novice gardener planted seeds too close together.


A trainee gaining practical experience.
The apprentice spent years perfecting his craft.


An individual in the initial stage of learning.
The novice chess player studied basic strategies.


Someone in a formal training program.
The apprentice electrician attended classes twice a week.


A beginner new to a field or activity.
As a novice, she made many mistakes but learned quickly.


One bound by legal agreement to work for another for a specific amount of time in return for instruction in a trade, art, or business.


A person undergoing preliminary training, often religious.
The novice monk spent hours in meditation and study.


One who is learning a trade or occupation, especially as a member of a labor union.


A person new to a field or activity; a beginner.


A beginner; a learner.


A person who has entered a religious order but has not yet taken final vows. Also called novitiate.


To work as an apprentice
She apprenticed at the ceramics studio.


A beginner; one who is not very familiar or experienced in a particular subject.
I'm only a novice at coding, and my programs frequently have bugs that more experienced programmers would avoid.


To engage as an apprentice
In colonial times many children were apprenticed to craftsmen.


(religion) A new member of a religious order accepted on a conditional basis, prior to confirmation.


A trainee, especially in a skilled trade.


One who is new in any business, profession, or calling; one unacquainted or unskilled; one yet in the rudiments; a beginner; a tyro.
I am young; a novice in the trade.


(historical) One who is bound by indentures or by legal agreement to serve a tradesperson, or other person, for a certain time, with a view to learn the art, or trade, in which his master is bound to instruct him.


One newly received into the church, or one newly converted to the Christian faith.


(dated) One not well versed in a subject; a tyro or newbie.


One who enters a religious house, whether of monks or nuns, as a probationist.
No poore cloisterer, nor no novys.


(transitive) To put under the care and supervision of a master, for the purpose of instruction in a trade or business.
His father had apprenticed him to a silk merchant.
He was apprenticed to a local employer.


Like a novice; becoming a novice.


(transitive) To be an apprentice to.
Joe apprenticed three different photographers before setting up his own studio.


Someone who has entered a religious order but has not taken final vows


One who is bound by indentures or by legal agreement to serve a mechanic, or other person, for a certain time, with a view to learn the art, or trade, in which his master is bound to instruct him.


Someone new to a field or activity


One not well versed in a subject; a tyro.


A newcomer with limited experience.
As a novice skier, he stayed on the beginner slopes.


A barrister, considered a learner of law till of sixteen years' standing, when he might be called to the rank of serjeant.


To bind to, or put under the care of, a master, for the purpose of instruction in a trade or business.


Works for an expert to learn a trade


Be or work as an apprentice;
She apprenticed with the great master


In training;
An apprentice carpenter


A person undergoing training in a trade or profession.
The apprentice carpenter learned to cut wood precisely.


A worker learning through on-the-job training.
As an apprentice, he shadowed experienced technicians.


What is an apprentice?

An apprentice is someone learning a trade or profession through hands-on experience and mentorship.

Is an apprentice paid?

Yes, apprentices are usually paid for their work.

In what contexts is the term 'novice' used?

The term 'novice' is often used in religious contexts but can apply to any beginner.

What does an apprentice achieve upon completion?

Apprentices often receive certification or qualifications upon completing their training.

What is the primary focus of being a novice?

The primary focus of being a novice is learning basics and foundational principles.

How long is the novice period?

The novice period varies widely, often depending on the field or context.

Is a novice paid?

Novices are typically unpaid, especially in religious contexts.

What fields commonly use apprenticeships?

Trades such as carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work commonly use apprenticeships.

What does a novice achieve upon completion?

A novice may achieve foundational skills or personal growth, and possibly further training or commitment.

What is a novice?

A novice is a beginner who is new to a particular field or activity.

Are apprenticeships formal or informal?

Apprenticeships are formal and structured.

How long does apprenticeship training last?

Apprenticeship training typically lasts several years, depending on the trade.

Do apprentices have mentors?

Yes, apprentices usually have mentors or skilled workers guiding them.

Can being a novice lead to a career?

Being a novice can lead to a career, especially if it involves further training.

Do novices have mentors?

Novices often have mentors, especially in religious settings.

Are novice training periods formal or informal?

Novice training periods can be informal or semi-structured.

What is the primary focus of apprenticeship?

The primary focus of an apprenticeship is skill acquisition and practical experience.

Can apprenticeships lead to a career?

Yes, apprenticeships often lead to a career in the chosen trade.

What industries benefit from apprenticeships?

Many skilled trades and industries benefit from apprenticeships.

What activities benefit from having novices?

Religious orders, hobbies, and any new fields benefit from having novices.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Co-written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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