When you consider the number of things a 1st-level character can do in a Pathfinder RPG campaign, it's pretty clear that even the lowest level characters have completed some intense training. But what do you do if you want to start an adventure before your wizards have mastered their 1st-level spells and paladins have discovered how to detect evil at will? The Genius Guide to Apprentice-Level Characters presents simple rules for creating 0-level or 1/2-level characters who have some instruction but aren't yet fully trained members of their class.
There are two typical ways to use apprentice-level characters. The first is to run a campaign where the characters start at level 0. Such characters begin with half the starting gold they'd normally get at 1st level and usually represent characters that are still in training. If you want to begin a game at a training facility or in a village that is normally guarded by 1st-level warriors, having 0-level player characters would be appropriate. It takes 1/2 as many experience points to go from 0 to 1st level as it takes to go from 1st to 2nd level.
The other use of apprentice-level characters is to allow multiclass characters at 1st level. An apprentice-fighter/apprentice rogue is (roughly) the same as a 1st-level character, and allows the character to begin play with a mix of stealth and martial skill. When such a multiclass character reaches 2nd level, he becomes 1st level in both of the two classes, and proceeds normally from there.
While apprentice-level characters use the same basic rules for combat and actions as any Pathfinder Roleplaying Game character, there are a few specific questions that should be addressed in regards to these characters.