- Training Schedule 2020-21
- Technical Training Enrolment Form
- Books and Supplies for NSCC
- Curriculum Standards
Each year that you are an apprentice, you should participate in technical training. It is important to register as soon as possible, as seats are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Training may be available in-class or online.
- Review the training schedule and select the applicable level of training.
- Meet with your employer to discuss training dates and selection(s).
- Complete the Technical Training Enrolment Form
- Your employer must approve you to attend technical training.
- Choose an alternate class/date for selected training, if available.
- Submit your Technical Training Enrolment Form to the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency (may be submitted online or via mail or walk-in).
- Once you are registered to attend in-class technical training (assigned a seat), you will receive a course scheduling package 4 to 6 weeks prior to the commencement of training. If you do not receive a course scheduling package, please contact your Industry Training Consultant.
- On the first day of class, you must bring the following:
- confirmation letter (included in your course scheduling package)
- completed client information update sheet (included in your course scheduling package)
- up-to-date logbook
- textbook/materials fee (if applicable)
- personal protective equipment (safety glasses and safety footwear for shop access and lab assignments)
- Participants are responsible for purchasing textbooks and other resource materials.
- Some apprenticeship trades require apprentices to write and pass a mandatory ‘level’ exam at the completion of their level of technical training before they can progress. There is no fee for these exams and usually apprentices write at regularly scheduled exam sessions. If you are uncertain if your trade requires mandatory level exams, speak to your Industry Training Consultant (or review the training sessions offered for your trade in the training schedule).
- You can access online technical training from home, work or wherever an internet connection is available. Apprentices who access online technical training are expected to complete one group of training courses per year.
- Advise your Industry Training Consultant that you wish to access online training. They will forward a Training Plan to NSCC Online Learning and provide you with a copy.
- Register for training in one of two ways:
- Walk-in registration - Visit your local campus of the Nova Scotia Community College.
- Phone-in registration - Admissions Centre hours are Monday to Thursday (8:00 am to 6:00 pm) and Friday (8:00 am to 4:00 pm):
Halifax Metro: 491-4911
Outside Metro: 1-866-679-6722
- Once you register for courses on NSCC Online Learning, you will need:
- A copy of your current Training Plan (from your Industry Training Consultant)
- Apprenticeship client number (200 #)
- Social Insurance Number
- Applicable payment (Cash, Cheque, Debit, Visa, MasterCard or American Express)
- E-mail address. If you do not have an e-mail address, contact the Virtual Campus for information on setting up a free account:
Halifax Metro: 491-6774
Outside Metro (toll free): 1-877-491-6774
- Once you have been registered, you will receive an email with a User ID and password, along with course access information.
- Participants are responsible for purchasing textbooks and other resource materials. However, apprentices are NOT required to purchase computer equipment to participate in online education. Terminals are available in the libraries of NSCC campuses throughout Nova Scotia, as well as in community CAP sites.
- Some apprenticeship trades require apprentices to write and pass a mandatory ‘level’ exam at the completion of their level of online technical training before they can progress. There is no fee for these exams and usually apprentices write at regularly scheduled exam sessions. If you are uncertain if your trade requires mandatory level exams, speak to your Industry Training Consultant.
- If you would like a face-to-face orientation, call one of the following numbers to arrange an appointment:
Halifax Metro: 491-6774
Outside Metro (toll free): 1-877-491-6774
Accommodations and Special Needs
The Agency is committed to providing apprentices who have a documented disability or require special accommodation with reasonable, equitable and safe accessibility to programs and services offered in the apprenticeship training program.
The Agency can arrange to have reasonable and appropriate accommodation provided for apprentices if there is sufficient time for planning and implementation. Therefore, early identification is required.
If you have any concerns about your potential for success in apprenticeship technical training (e.g., require the services of a translator, need to have an exam administered to you orally, etc.) please contact your Industry Training Consultant for a confidential meeting prior to attending training.
Essential Skills Resources
Essential skills such as as reading text, document use and math are needed for work, learning and life. The Apprenticeship Agency has introduced several new learning options, which include the development of a learning plan, an informal assessment and access to training and supports (e.g. tutoring) to assist apprentices in the technical portion of their training. For more information, contact the Industry Training Consultant in your trade/region.
- Free tutoring in math or reading may be offered by the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning
- Government of Canada online “live” tests for Numeracy, Document Use and Reading
- Government of Canada Essential Skills Resources
- Skills Canada Essential Skills Mobile App Assessment Tool for Teachers and Students
- Workplace Education Manitoba has an app called "ES On Demand" and a “Learning on Demand” Numeracy/Math tutorial series that includes a self-assessment test, videos and workbooks on various Math topics. The topics in this series cover many of the math functions that apprentices may be required to perform in-class or in the workplace.
- Saskatchewan Polytechnic offers a FREE online course in applied math available to all apprentices; it is 16 weeks long and offered 3 times per year. This self-paced online course is designed to help apprentices enhance their math skills prior to beginning technical training. In the course, concepts related to addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percentages, measuring, algebra, geometry and working with money will be covered. The course focuses on concepts most commonly used in the workplace and apprenticeship and trades.
- Buildforce Canada has published a variety of math and essentials skills workbooks for the trades.
- Alberta’s Ministry of Advanced Education and its apprenticeship training providers have developed trade entrance exams that test clients’ essential skills to ensure that they meet Alberta’s educational requirements. The study guides for these entrance exams include sample math, science and reading comprehension questions.
- The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has published sample assessments in trades math, mechanical reasoning, etc.
Other Resources and Supports
Individual Learning Modules (ILMs)
Alberta’s Ministry of Advanced Education and its apprenticeship training providers have developed Individual Learning Modules (ILMs) for the trades, in both English and French, for purchase.
High School Completion for Adults
Through the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL), you can obtain a high school diploma while you are training as an apprentice by attending either an adult high school or a Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC).
The diploma requires the successful completion of twelve credits. These credits can be earned through adult high school grades 11 and 12 credits or the NSCC Adult Learning Program (ALP 4).
If you meet the eligibility requirements, the diploma is tuition-free! However, there may be registration fees and book costs.
For more information please contact Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning at 1-877-466-7725 or visit novascotia.ca/adult-learning
- Exam Schedule 2020 (Fall)
- Exam Application Form
- Code Books for Exams
- Formula Sheets for Exams
- Exam Counseling Sheets (Red Seal Exams)
- Exam Counseling Sheets (Provincial and Level Exams)
- Red Seal Exam Preparation Guide c/o ESDC Canada
1. What is a level exam?
Some apprenticeship trades require apprentices to write and pass a mandatory ‘level’ exam at the completion of their level of technical training before they can progress. There is no fee for these exams and usually apprentices write at regularly scheduled exam sessions. If you are uncertain if your trade requires mandatory level exams, speak to your Industry Training Consultant (or review the training sessions offered for your trade in the training schedule).
2. What is a certification exam?
Upon completion of the apprenticeship program (including on-the-job hours, technical training and competency in workplace practical skills), apprentices are eligible to write a certification exam. If the apprentice receives a mark of 70% or greater, they receive both a Certificate of Qualification and a Certificate of Apprenticeship and become a certified journeyperson. If the trade is a Red Seal trade, the certification exam is a Red Seal exam. If an apprentice receives a passing mark, they will receive the Red Seal endorsement on their Certificate of Qualification. This endorsement is a recognized standard in jurisdictions across Canada, one that employers look for as an indication of skills and competency.
Note: If you have significant experience working hands-on in a trade and can prove that your skills & work experience meet the standards set for a certified skilled tradesperson in Nova Scotia, you may be able to apply under the Trade Qualifier Program for approval to write the certification exam. Click HERE for more information.
3. How are exams developed?
Exams are developed by subject matter experts from industry and training-providers. Exam development is a rigorous process whereby several experts, from various provinces/territories, are involved in the development, review, editing, translating and release of exam items.
The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency is an administrator of the Red Seal exams and the Atlantic Apprenticeship Level Exams. These exams have been developed by trade experts (industry and instructors) across Canada and throughout Atlantic Canada, respectively.
4. Will my in-class/online technical training cover everything that appears on the Red Seal Exam?
No. In-class/online technical training comprises approximately 15% of your apprenticeship program. On-the-job training comprises approximately 85%. Therefore, technical training will not cover all of the material that appears on the Red Seal Exam. Through your apprenticeship program, it is expected that you will have gained most of your experience and scope-of-trade on-the-job.
Red Seal exams are developed using the following base documents: Red Seal Occupational Standard (RSOS) or National Occupational Analysis (NOA). These documents are available for all Red Seal trades. The RSOS/NOA for your trade is the most important resource, and a great tool to help you plan what and how to study for your exam. RSOSs and NOAs are available on the Red Seal website.
Exam counseling sheets and sample questions are also available on the Red Seal website:
- Exam Counseling Sheets provide a weighting of the exam (how many questions on the exam are related to a particular Major Work Acitvity/topic area). Most Red Seal exams have between 100 and 150 questions.
- Sample questions (free multiple-choice questions you can practice with) are also available (approximately 20 questions per trade).
5. Am I eligible to write an exam?
You must contact the Apprenticeship Industry Training Consultant in your trade/region to determine your eligibility to write a certification or level exam. Once your eligibility has been confirmed, you will be asked to submit an exam application indicating a ‘preferred’ exam date and location (a listing of all exam sessions is included in the Exam Schedule).
6. How do I apply to write an exam?
Your application, along with the applicable fee, must be received at the Halifax Office of the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency prior to the “apply before” date indicated for the requested exam session. Applications received after the application deadline will be processed for a future available exam sitting.
When applying online, you will receive an initial email confirming that your application has been received by the Agency and that it is under review. This email does not confirm that you have been approved or scheduled to write for the date you requested.
Once your application has been approved, a confirmation letter will be sent to you 10 days prior to the scheduled exam date. Please read the confirmation letter carefully and take note of the date, time and location of the scheduled exam session. The date may be different from the date you picked on the application.
Do not attend the exam sitting without this confirmation letter.
7. What happens if I cannot write the exam on my scheduled date?
If you are unable to write the exam on your scheduled exam date, you must notify the Agency as soon as possible. Contact your Industry Training Consultant, or call the Halifax Office at (902) 424-5651 (or toll free in Nova Scotia at 1-800-494-5651). An exam may be rescheduled only once without penalty. If you fail to provide notice of withdrawal at least 24 hours in advance, you will be considered a no-show and your exam fee will not be refunded.
8. Will the code book I am using during my technical training, or on-the-job, be the same one I get at my exam session?
Not necessarily. At your exam session, the Agency provides the code book that your exam requires. This may or may not be the same one you used during your technical or on-the-job training.
Because the Agency administers Red Seal and Atlantic Level Exams, we cannot control the code books that each exam requires. Exam banks are updated on a cycle/schedule and, therefore, are developed to the code books that are current at the time of update.
As well, the intent of your exam is not to test your knowledge of the code book. The intent of your exam is to test your knowledge of the trade. “How to use a code book” falls under an essential skill, “Document Use”. There are resources to assist you with Document Use, which you can find on this same webpage under the widget called “Essential Skills and Other Resources”.
9. What should I bring to the exam sitting and what are the rules for personal belongings?
- Bring your confirmation letter.
- Bring your photo ID (e.g. driver's license, passport, apprenticeship ID card).
- Bring a watch so that you can pace yourself.
- Do not bring any electronic or digital devices to the exam sitting (electronic or digital devices include, but are not limited to, cell phones; calculators; smart watches; tablets; media players; headsets; cameras; microphones; picture, video, voice recording and/or transmitting devices of any kind).
- Do not bring personal items (backpacks, bags, purses, pouches, code books, text books, etc.) into the examination room. The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency will not be responsible for the loss of these items - clients leaving cell phones, calculators, back packs, etc. do so at their own risk.
- Do not bring other items (e.g., water, food) into the exam room unless they have been approved by the invigilator beforehand.
- Do not reach into pockets during the examination sitting.
- Remove all outerwear (e.g. jackets, hats, hoods, hoodies) during the examination sitting.
- The Agency provides everything else you need for your exam, including answer sheets, pencils, calculators and code books (if applicable). All of these items will be placed on your desk and must be returned to the invigilator before you leave the exam room. When you turn-in an exam or diagram booklet, it cannot be returned to you.
You should arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the exam. Late arrivals are not permitted except under exceptional circumstances.
10. In addition to calculators and code books, what does the Agency supply at the exam sitting?
At exam sittings, the Agency supplies items that you need for your exam, including pencils, code books (if applicable) and calculators - model Casio FX-260 Solar OR model Casio FX-260 Solar II; both of these models perform the same functions. Personal calculators, cell phones and all other electronic devices will not be permitted in the exam room. The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency will not be responsible for the loss of these items - clients leaving calculators, cell phones, etc. do so at their own risk.
Casio FX-260 Solar
Casio FX-260 Solar II
11. During the exam session, what if I feel that a question is problematic? Will my mark be adjusted?
No. The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency is an administrator of the Red Seal exams and the Atlantic Apprenticeship Level Exams. These exams have been developed, reviewed and validated by trade experts (industry and instructors) across Canada and throughout Atlantic Canada, respectively. If you would like to let the exam invigilator know about an issue with a question, raise your hand. These types of comments will not be used to adjust your mark; however, they may be considered for future reviews and updates of exam banks.
12. What are the penalties for cheating on an exam?
Your exam session will be terminated immediately and you will be dismissed from the session. Your exam will not be marked, but your terminated exam writing will be counted as an exam attempt. A note will be placed in your file and a period of time may be imposed before you can re-write. Additional penalties may apply depending on the circumstance.
13. What happens if I write an exam and am unsuccessful?
Try not to be discouraged! Exams are very challenging, but use what you learned from your previous experience to help prepare for your next attempt. Everyone who challenges an exam receives a breakdown of the results they achieved in each section of the exam. Use the breakdown to identify areas where additional study will help you prepare for your next attempt.
Re-write the exam as soon as you feel confident you will pass - don’t postpone it for a lengthy period of time. You will need to obtain another exam application and pay the exam fee (if applicable) prior to the application deadline, which is approximately 1 month before the desired exam sitting date.
If you have unsuccessfully challenged an exam on two or more occassions, you are required to contact your Training Consultant to discuss completion of additional technical training.
14. When will I find out if I passed?
Exam results will be mailed to clients within 10 working days of the exam sitting.
Practice Exams, Prep Courses and Info
The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency neither endorses nor recommends the use of the following materials. They are provided merely as a guide to known available resources.
- Several trades:
- FREE sample questions: Red Seal website, click on Trades in the top menu, then click on Red Seal Trades. Select your trade from the list and click on Sample Questions.
- FOR PURCHASE: Practice exams are available for purchase at examapps.com.
- FOR PURCHASE: Practice exams are available for purchase at exambank.com.
- Auto Body and Collision Technician Practice Questions c/o BC
- Automotive Service Technician:
- Centennial College Press provides the "Canadian Automotive Service Technician: Certificate of Qualification Test Preparation" book, which contains practice tests that closely imitate the Red Seal exam in both content and level of difficulty. It also provides rationale for answers.
- Boilermaker Practice Questions c/o British Columbia’s Industry Training Authority
- Bricklayer Practice Questions c/o BC
- Construction Electrician:
- Online quizzes and textbooks covering electricity and electronics are available at thelearningpit.com and allaboutcircuits.com.
- An Electrician’s Self-Assessment Tool (ESAT) is available for purchase from the Canadian Standards Association. It contains more than 1100 sample questions to test your knowledge of the Construction Electrician Occupational Standard.
- Centennial College Press provides the "Canadian Construction and Maintenance Electrician: Certificate of Qualification Exam Preparation" book, which contains practice tests that closely imitate the Red Seal exam in both content and level of difficulty. It also provides rationale for answers.
- Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) Review Course (for national and international clients)
- Canadian Electrical Practices Course (for international clients)
- Glazier Practice Questions c/o BC
- Heavy Duty Equipment Technician:
- Centennial College Press provides the "Canadian Heavy Equipment Technician: Certificate of Qualification Test Preparation" book, which contains practice tests that closely imitate the Red Seal exam in both content and level of difficulty. It also provides rationale for answers.
- Insulator (Heat and Frost) Practice Questions c/o BC
- Plumber trade math FREE sample questions and answers: The government of Ontario and The Mid North Network have developed a guide for Preparing to Write the Certificate of Qualification Exam in Ontario, which contains a section with free sample math questions (and answers) for the Plumber trade.
- Practice Questions c/o BC
- Truck and Transport Mechanic:
Tips for Writing Multiple-Choice Exams
- Read each question carefully and completely. Do not assume you know what the question is asking after you’ve read only part of it.
- Separate long questions into smaller parts to make them easier to understand.
- Try to answer the question without looking at the four responses, then look for the option that matches your answer.
- As you read through the alternative options, make a note of those you know are wrong, in order to narrow your options.
- If you are answering a question that involves calculation, it is useful to have an estimate of what the correct answer is so that once you calculate the answer, you can decide whether it seems right.
- Draw a diagram or jot down a formula if it helps answer a question.
- If you don’t know the answer, move on and come back later. It’s better to finish the easier questions first and come back to the more difficult ones later.
- Manage your time - it might be helpful to determine how much time you have for each question. For instance, if the exam has 120 questions and the maximum sit time for the exam is 4 hours, then you have approximately 2 minutes per question. At the halfway point of the exam, determine if you have completed approximately half of the exam, and adjust your pace accordingly.
- Answer all questions, even if you have to guess (you have at least a 25% chance of guessing correctly). Do not leave any question unanswered.
Red Seal Exams: Occupational Standards/Analyses
Red Seal Occupational Standards (RSOSs) or National Occupational Analyses (NOAs) are available for all Red Seal trades, and provide the content upon which Red Seal exam questions are based. The NOA/RSOS for your trade is the most important resource, and a great tool to help you plan what and how to study for your exam.
RSOSs and NOAs are available on the Red Seal website.
Level and Provincial Certification Exams: Occupational Standards/Analyses/Trade Profiles
Nova Scotia Occupational Standards (NSOS) describe the skills and knowledge needed to perform competently in the trades. They are the base documents used to develop Provincial Certification exams, and may also be used as a checklist to guide your studies.
NSOSs or Trade Profiles are available for the following trades:
The Red Seal Welder trade was identified as a priority trade for harmonization. The purpose of harmonization is to achieve standardized training and examination processes throughout Canada. Harmonization enables industry to better respond to demand, and facilitate easier mobility for apprentices and trade qualifiers.
In September 2015, the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency mailed a letter to welder clients to inform them about the changes coming to the welder examination process, and the requirement for a new Welder Practical Examination commencing that November.
- There is a requirement for both a PRACTICAL and a WRITTEN exam for Welder certification.
- This is a requirement of the Red Seal Program that applies to third-year welders and trade qualifiers.
- Third-year welders and trade qualifiers: Contact your Industry Training Consultant to register for the exam.
- The Welder Practical Examination must be successfully completed prior to challenging the written examination. Upon successful completion of both exams, welders receive a Certificate of Qualification with the Red Seal endorsement.
- Copy of the practical exam . The Welder Practical Exam will be administered in one session, five (5) hours in duration, at the end of technical training for level-3 apprentices. The five (5) welding processes listed in the Test Equivalency Chart will be tested.
- Letter to welder clients informing them about the changes to the welder exam process, and the requirement for a new Welder Practical Examination commencing November 2015.