Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about apprenticeship, certification and employers and industry.

General FAQs General FAQs

 1. Who administers the apprenticeship program?

The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency administers the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Program.

 2. What is apprenticeship/apprenticeship training system?

Apprenticeship is an agreement between an apprentice and an employer that combines on-the-job experience with technical training. Apprentices who complete all work and technical training requirements, receive competence verification by a qualified tradesperson and successfully pass the Interprovincial Red Seal Exam are awarded a Certificate of Apprenticeship and a Certificate of Qualification and become certified journeypersons in a trade.

 3.What is an apprenticeship agreement?

An apprenticeship agreement is a document signed by the employer, sponsor or joint apprenticeship training committee and the apprentice outlining the roles and responsibilities of both parties to the term of apprenticeship. The agreement is registered with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency.

 4. What is an apprentice?

An apprentice is someone learning their trade on the job, under the supervision and mentorship of a certified journeyperson, with periods of technical training, in an apprenticeable trade and registered as an apprentice with the Government of Nova Scotia.

 5. What is a youth apprentice?

A youth apprentice is from 16 to 19 years of age and works part or full time in one of Nova Scotia's designated trades. For more details about youth apprenticeship, contact the Agency's Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator.

 6. How long is an apprenticeship?

The Apprenticeship program recognizes 2,000 hours as one year of training (in most trades). In addition to the technical training and skill development requirements of an apprenticeship training program, each designated trade has a specific number of hours which must be completed in order to qualify to write the certification exam. The number of hours required in each designated trade is determined by industry and incorporated into a set of Trade Regulations. Generally, the time requirement to complete an apprenticeship training program is three to four years (6,000 to 8,000 hours) with the average apprenticeship lasting approximately four years.

 7. What is a journeyperson?

A journeyperson is someone who has acquired the knowledge and skills in a trade and has been issued a Certificate of Qualification as attested to by a provincial or territorial authority.

 8. What is the trade qualification program?

The trade qualification program is an avenue through which an individual may obtain certification in Nova Scotia. An individual may apply through this program if they have significant experience working hands-on in one of Nova Scotia’s designated trades and can prove that their skills and work experience meet the standards set for a certified skilled tradesperson in this province. If an individual applies, they need letters of reference from two qualified trades people, as well as letters from employers proving they have completed the required number of hours of hands-on work in the trade. The required number of hours governing each trade are specified in the relevant trade regulations. If approved, an individual is eligible to write the Red Seal Exam. For additional information, contact the Training Consultant for your trade/region.

 9. What is a designated trade?

A designated trade is one which is regulated by the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act and General Regulations. This Act provides for formal training and the issuance of Certificates of Qualification for trades that have been designated. Certification in a designated trade demonstrates proof of a person's qualifications to work in a specific trade to a provincial or a national standard. Designated trades in Nova Scotia.

 10. What is a compulsory certified trade?

Several trades are compulsory certified under our legislation (the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act) and are identified on the list of trades by a yellow dot yellow dot. This means there is a legal requirement to be certified or registered as an apprentice with the Agency.

Some trades are compulsory certified under another regulatory authority and are identified on the list of trades by a green dot green dot. Their licensing or certification requirements must be complied with.

Most trades are NOT compulsory certified.

 11. What is a temporary permit?

A temporary permit allows an individual to work in a compulsory certified trade for a specific period of time (not exceeding three months). A temporary permit may be issued to a potential apprentice serving a probationary period, a student enrolled in a training institution, an internationally trained worker or a trade qualifier who has made application to challenge the Interprovincial Red Seal Exam.

 12. What is a Certificate of Apprenticeship?

A Certificate of Apprenticeship is issued to an apprentice who has successfully completed a formalized apprenticeship training program.

 13. What is a Certificate of Qualification?

A Certificate of Qualification is a document issued to a person who has met the provisions of the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act and General Regulations, by writing and passing a certification exam for a designated trade. The Certificate of Qualification, along with an identification card, confirms the person has demonstrated his or her competence in a specific trade and has met all of the requirements for certification.

 14. I am a journeyperson. What do I do when my photo ID card expires?

 15. What are the fees?

For information about fees, click here.

 16. What is the Red Seal Program?

The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program was established to provide skilled workers with greater mobility across Canada. Through the program, both apprentices who have completed their training and certified journeypersons are able to obtain a Red Seal endorsement on their Certificate of Qualification by successfully completing, where applicable, an Interprovincial Red Seal Exam (IP Exam). Individuals who obtain the Red Seal endorsement can work anywhere in Canada without further training or examination. Red Seal website

 17. What is a Training Consultant?

A Training Consultant is assigned to work with apprentices and their employers to identify learning needs and monitor training throughout an apprenticeship program. Consultants are also available to counsel skilled tradespersons to assist them in the process of achieving trade certification.

 18. What are the requirements for working in the blasting trade in Nova Scotia?

Blasting activities are provincially regulated by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education. Please click here for information about blasting requirements, regulations, training and frequently asked questions.

 19. I would like to immigrate to Nova Scotia. What do I need to do?

For information about immigrating to Nova Scotia, click here.
Apprentice FAQs Apprentice FAQs

 1. How do I qualify for apprenticeship?

To qualify for apprenticeship training you must find an employer who is able and willing to train you in a designated trade through a formal apprenticeship program. You should also have successfully completed grade 12 or an acceptable equivalent of education and experience.

 2. How do I become an apprentice?

An apprentice is someone who is employed and working in a trade under the supervision and direction of a certified journeyperson. To become an apprentice, you will sign an apprenticeship agreement with your employer which outlines both your responsibilities.

How to become an apprentice.

 3. What will I gain by becoming an apprentice?

Despite the overwhelming opportunities, many individuals do not realize the potential of a career in the skilled trades. These jobs are now highly technical, competitive and profitable - requiring a great deal of training and experience. As an apprentice, you will gain this experience and earn a good wage at the same time. Benefits of apprenticeship training.

 4. What wages are apprentices paid?

Generally, in any given trade, apprentices earn 40 to 90 percent of the current journeyperson wage. In most cases, an apprentice's wage increases as each stage of the program is successfully completed.

 5. Can any employer register me as an apprentice?

No, the Training Consultant assesses the employer and the workplace to determine if the appropriate on-the-job training can be accomplished.

 6. Can I change employers while I am a registered apprentice?

Yes, as long as you and your new employer notify the Agency so the apprenticeship agreement can be transferred.

 7. Can I receive credit towards my apprenticeship program based on previous work experience in the trade?

Yes, provided it is documented. The Training Consultant works with you and your employer to determine prior learning or work experience credits.

 8. What is on-the-job (workplace) training?

Employers deliver the on-the-job portion of apprenticeship training. Apprentices spend time working on the job site learning the skills of a trade under the supervision of a journeyperson.

 9. What is an apprentice logbook?

An apprentice logbook is issued to registered apprentices and registered youth apprentices in which acquired skills, knowledge and time worked in a trade are recorded.

 10. What is technical (in-school) training?

Training providers are contracted by the Agency to deliver the technical (in-school) training portion of the apprenticeship program. The primary deliverer of apprenticeship technical training is the Nova Scotia Community College. Most technical training is provided in a classroom setting, with emphasis placed on teaching the theory component of a trade. Apprentices are released by their employers to attend industry-approved technical training. The training time for most trades is five to eight weeks per year.

Apprentices who participate in technical training may be eligible to access employment insurance benefits through Service Canada. They may also be eligible for training support allowances/additional financial assistance through Employment Nova Scotia.

 11. Can I receive advanced credit towards my apprenticeship program based on completion of a pre-apprenticeship trades-related program?

Yes. Colleges and high schools offer various occupational training programs and courses that may be credited towards your apprenticeship program. These programs/courses may also provide you with greater opportunities to find employment. To ensure you receive full credit for approved pre-apprenticeship training, you must register as an apprentice within two years of your graduation.

 12. Can I access technical training online?

For some trades, yes. NSCC's Virtual Campus provides apprentices the opportunity to access their training through the internet. Apprentices can access training from home, work or wherever an internet connection is available in the community. Training is offered in a course-based format.

For a complete listing of the training available online, visit NSCC Online Learning.

 13. What does technical training cost?

Apprenticeship technical training is provided at several locations throughout Nova Scotia. Apprentices are required to pay the tuition deposit to the Agency and the tuition balance to the training provider. For online training courses, tuition is the same for each course, with the exception of the initial Orientation Course, which is free of charge. Costs for text books and necessary classroom materials are also the responsibility of the apprentice.

 14. What financial assistance is available to apprentices?

There is a wide range of supports available to assist apprentices. Please click here for more information

 15. Will another province recognize my apprenticeship training?

For individuals who have registered as apprentices in their home province before moving to another province, there are mechanisms for credit and recognition built into the system. For individuals who have not registered in their home province prior to moving, the process is not as well defined. Supporting documentation (transcripts, employer letters, etc) will help with the assessment process.
Employers | Industry FAQs Employers | Industry FAQs

 1. Why should employers support apprenticeship?

Involvement in apprenticeship helps to ensure a supply of skilled workers which serves as an investment in the future. Being a part of the apprenticeship program can help employers to attract and develop more competent and educated employees capable of advancing to more responsible positions. An employers participation in apprenticeship also helps to ensure that training standards are met and that these standards are improved. The cost of staff training to the employer is reduced and employee turnover decreases.

 2. What are the employer's responsibilities in an apprenticeship program?

Please click here for details about roles and responsibilites.

 3. Why hire certified journeypersons?

Certified journeypersons are highly trained and qualified. With such competent individuals, the employer may be assured of increased product quality, enhanced customer satisfaction and a distinct advantage over companies with non-skilled or lesser-skilled employees. If your company's trade is compulsory certified, the law requires you to register your apprentices and hire only certified journeypersons.

 4. What is ratio?

Ratio is the number of qualified/certified journeypersons an employer must employ in a designated trade in order to be eligible to register an apprentice. Ratio varies by trade and is specified in the Nova Scotia trade-specific regulations. In many trades, a ratio of one apprentice to one journeyperson is used. This is to ensure that the employer has enough capacity to properly train an apprentice. In specific cases, an employer in Nova Scotia may apply for an exemption to this ratio.

 5. What financial assistance is available to those who participate in apprenticeship training?

There is a wide range of supports available to assist those who participate in apprenticeship training. Please click here for more information.

 6. I am part of an employer/industry group interested in having a trade designated or specified as compulsory. What information do I need?

A representative of a group or association within a trade may apply through the provincial Apprenticeship Board to designate a trade under the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act. The applicant needs to contact the Board Administrator within the Agency to receive the application form. Please click here for more information.

 7. I am already participating in the apprenticeship program. How can I get more involved?

To participate on the provincial Apprenticeship Board or with Board-related activities (e.g., trade regulations), contact the Board Administrator.