Training and Exam Information


General Info: Technical Training General Info: Technical Training

Each year that you are an apprentice, you should participate in technical training.

The Apprenticeship Training Schedule and the Exam Schedule are posted on the website home page before each academic year begins. It contains information about registration deadlines and available training.

Training delivery may be available in class or online. It is important to register as soon as possible, as seats are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you have any questions, please contact your Industry Training Consultant.

In-class Training: Registration Procedures

Textbooks for in-class training at NSCC

1. Review the training schedule and select appropriate class(es).

2. Meet with your employer to discuss training dates and selection(s).

3. 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.

4. Submit your Technical Training Enrolment Form, along with the tuition deposit, to the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency (the form and fee may be submitted online or via mail or walk-in). Accepted forms of payment are:

  • Debit card
  • Company cheque (Made payable to the Minister of Finance)
  • Money order (Made payable to the Minister of Finance)
  • VISA
  • Mastercard

Note: Online submissions require payment by Visa or Mastercard. Alternatively, if you are mailing your submission and paying by credit card, you may mail the completed form to the Halifax Apprenticeship Office.

5. 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
  • tuition fee
  • 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 over and above the cost of tuition. Information from NSCC about course books and resources.

Online Training: Registration Procedures

Texbooks for online training at NSCC (click on the "Information" button)

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. 

Registration procedures

1. 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.

2. 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

3. Regardless of how 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

4. Once you have been registered, you will receive an email with a User ID and password, along with course access information.

5. 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

Please note:

Participants are responsible for purchasing textbooks and other resource materials over and above the cost of tuition. (Information from NSCC about course books and resources.) 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.

General Info: Workplace Training/Mentorship General Info: Workplace Training/Mentorship

Apprenticeship is and always has been about mentoring and passing along trade knowledge and skills from journeyperson to apprentice. As an apprentice, you work under the supervision of a journeyperson in the workplace.

 The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) provides a useful booklet on best practices for on-the-job training: Making it Work! On-the-job Training in Apprenticeship.

Tips for Getting the Most from Your Mentoring Experience

  • Be aware of your roles and responsibilities - what you are supposed to be doing, and how things are done.
  • Know what tools you require for your trade (if applicable) and acquire them. (If you purchase new tools, you may be eligible for a tradesperson's tools deduction.
  • Have a positive attitude and set an example for others.
  • Keep busy and show initiative - recognize your employer's need for productivity.
  • Be reliable and conscientious. Don't miss time.
  • Seek advice and information from a large number of certified journeypersons. Every journeyperson has unique work experience, skills and knowledge.
  • Frequently meet with your employer and supervising journeyperson to review and discuss your progress in the apprenticeship training program. Regularly review and update your logbook.
  • Ask questions, and keep asking until you have the answers you seek.

Other Training Opportunities, Resources and Supports Other Training Opportunities, Resources and Supports

In addition to your regular technical training, there are other training opportunities and resources to support you during your apprenticeship program, described in detail below:

  • Code Book Update course
  • Disability services for apprentices
  • Document Use course
  • Essential skills
  • High school completion for adults (while training as an apprentice)
  • Math Refresher course
  • Reader-assisted examinations
  • Special needs

Code Book Update Course

Code book update courses may be offered when a new code book is introduced, or when individuals are having difficulty passing an certification exam. Tuition fees apply.

Contact your Industry Training Consultant to find out if there are any courses being offered.

Disability Services for Apprentices

The agency is committed to providing apprentices who have documented disabilities with reasonable, equitable and safe accessibility to programs and services offered through the apprenticeship training program.

It your responsibility to self-identify a disability during the apprenticeship registration process and to supply all current supporting documentation such as that from prior educational institutions and agencies, doctor's certificates, psycho-educational assessments and Individual Program Plans (IPPs).

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 encouraged.

For more information on any of these services, please contact your Industry Training Consultant.

Document Use Course

The purpose of this course is to develop the skills necessary to locate and use information contained in a variety of document formats such as lists, drawings, maps, forms, service manuals and troubleshooting charts. The only cost is the purchase of course materials.

It is delivered one to two evenings a week over a six week period and Nova Scotia Community College will provide a Certificate of Continuing Education upon completion.

Contact your Industry Training Consultant to determine if there are any course offerings available.

Essential Skills

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 your Industry Training Consultant in your trade/region.

Also visit ESDC's site and the Red Seal site for further resources, information, support and an Essential Skills self-assessment.

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

Math Refresher Course

As part of the Essential Skills Initiative, the Apprenticeship Agency, in partnership with the Nova Scotia Community College, offers a math refresher course to interested apprentices.

This course will strengthen trade math skills and will be a good review for someone who has been away from math; the only cost is the purchase of textbooks. It is delivered one to two evenings a week over a six week period and NSCC will provide a Certificate of Continuing Education upon completion.

Contact your Industry Training Consultant to find out if there are any course offerings available.

Reader-assisted Exams

If you require the services of a translator, need to have an exam administered to you orally or require other special accommodations, contact your Industry Training Consultant to discuss availale options.

Special Needs

If you have any concerns about your potential for success in the program, we encourage you to contact your Industry Training Consultant to arrange for a confidential meeting. Together, you and the Consultant will identify support services which may be available to help you succeed in apprenticeship. These supports may include refresher courses, tutoring, reader-assisted examinations, prior learning assessments and learning plan development.


Exam Preparation and FAQs

Exam Counseling Sheets, Occupational Analyses and Logbook Sign-off Exam Counseling Sheets, Occupational Analyses and Logbook Sign-off

 1. Red Seal Certification Exams

The Red Seal exam is a nationally-recognized certification exam in Canada, and is the certification exam for most trades. Red Seal exams are trade-specific theory exams which are available in both English and French. They contain between 100 and 150 multiple-choice questions, with an average exam containing 125. Each question has four responses, only one of which is correct. A maximum of four hours is provided to complete the exam. The passing grade is 70%.

National Occupational Analyses (NOAs) or Red Seal Occupational Standards (RSOSs) 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.

 NOAs/RSOSs and Red Seal Exam Counseling Sheets (on the Red Seal website). Find your trade in the list and click on the link. You will be taken to a page that contains the trade's Exam Counseling Sheet, as well as a link to the trade's NOA/RSOS.

The Exam Counseling Sheet provides the following:

  • The percentage of questions for each topic area on the exam
  • A copy of the applicable National Occupational Analysis (NOA)
  • Sample multiple-choice questions for the trade

The NOA/RSOS provides the following:

  • Appendix F-Task Profile Chart (NOA)/Task Matrix and Weightings (RSOS): This can be used as a self-assessment tool to help you compare what you know with what will be tested. It is a simple tool that outlines the scope of the trade as practiced in Canada. The information is organized into Blocks (NOA) or Major Work Areas (RSOS). These Blocks/MWAs are divided into tasks. Tasks are divided into SUB-TASKS. The questions that appear on the Red Seal exam are based on the SUB-TASKS. Begin your self-assessment by reviewing each sub-task. For more detailed information, read the full description for that sub-task in the NOA/RSOS to ensure that you understand the knowledge and skills required to perform it competently. On the Task Profile Chart (NOA)/Task Matrix (RSOS), place a check mark beside the sub-tasks you fully understand. Highlight and place a (?) beside sub-tasks you are less familiar with. Note: Don’t review the sub-tasks that are (NOT COMMON CORE), as there will be NO questions about these on the exam.
  • Tools and Equipment: This appendix provides a list of the tools and equipment used in the trade. You should be familiar with the names, operation and maintenance of the tools and equipment listed here.
  • Glossary: This appendix provides definitions and explanations of selected technical terms used in the trade.
  • Acronyms: This appendix provides the common acronyms used in the trade.

 2. Level and Provincial Certification Exams

 Level and Provincial Certification Exam Counseling Sheets. Click on your trade/level in the table of contents. You will be taken to a page that contains the applicable Exam Counseling Sheet, which provides the following:

  • The percentage of questions for each topic area on the exam

Provincial Occupational Analyses (POAs)* are available for the following trades:

  • Alarm and Security Technician
  • Automotive Glass Technician
  • Blaster
  • Marine Service Technician

*POAs 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.

 3. Apprentice Logbook needs to be signed-off before you write Red Seal Exam!

Logbook Sample The Trade Skills (or Practical Skills) section of your Apprentice Logbook must be complete, with all mandatory skills signed-off, before you can write your Red Seal Exam. For a sample of how to complete the Trades Skills section, please click HERE.

Study Materials and Resources (Includes Trade-specific Courses and Practice Exams) Study Materials and Resources (Includes Trade-specific Courses and Practice Exams)

Here are links to resources, practice exams and sample questions that may help you prepare to write your exam.  The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency neither endorses nor recommends the use of these materials. They are provided merely as a guide to known available resources:

Tips for Writing Multiple-Choice Exams 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.
FAQs about Apprenticeship Exams, Including Calculators FAQs about Apprenticeship Exams, Including Calculators

 1. What is a level exam?

Some apprenticeship trades require apprentices to write and pass a mandatory ‘level’ exam at the completion of their technical training before progressing to the next level of training. 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 Training Consultant (or review the training sessions offered for your trade in the training schedule). Click HERE for more information about level exams.

 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. Are you 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).

 4. How do you apply to write an exam?

If you are eligible to write, please ensure you review the guidelines on the bottom of your exam application. 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 the next available exam sitting.

A confirmation letter will be sent to you 10 days prior to the exam date. Do not attend an exam sitting without this written confirmation.

 5. What happens when you write an exam and are unsuccessful?

Try not to be discouraged! Certification 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 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.

 6. What happens if you cannot write the exam on your 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 Training Consultant, or telephone 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.

 7. In addition to calculators, what does the Agency supply at the exam sitting?

At exam sittings, the Agency supplies items that you need for your exam, including pencils, scrap paper, code books (if applicable) and calculators - model Casio FX-260. 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 Calculator

 8. What should you bring to the exam sitting?

  • Your confirmation letter
  • Your photo ID (e.g. driver's license, passport, apprenticeship ID card)
  • A watch so that you can pace yourself
  • Do not bring any electronic devices, including cell phones and calculators, to the exam sitting. All personal items (backpacks, bags, code books, text books, etc.) are also not permitted in 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 and clients are requested to not bring these items.

The Agency provides everything else you need for your exam, including pencils, calculators, scrap paper and code books (if applicable).

 You should arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the exam.

 9. When will you find out if you passed?

Exam results will be mailed to clients within 5 working days of the exam sitting.

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