As an apprentice, you will need to complete technical training to progress through each level of your apprenticeship. It is important to apply for technical training as soon as you have accumulated the required hours for each level, as training seats are offered on a first-come-first-served basis. Technical Training is delivered in-class and 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, in case your first preference is not available.
- Submit your Technical Training Enrolment Form to the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency (must be submitted online).
- You will first receive an automated confirmation email that your application has been received.
- Once your application has been reviewed and approved by your ITC, you will receive an email from the Registrar informing that you have either been registered for a seat or wait-listed for your submitted choice.
- If you have a confirmed seat, the email will also include an attachment with information on financial supports and the 16-digit EI code required to apply for Employment Insurance while attending in-class training.
- If you are wait-listed, you will be informed if a seat becomes available. It is possible that you may receive a call on the first day of training with an offer to fill the seat of someone who has cancelled last minute.
- On the first day of class, you must bring the following:
- your email confirmation
- your up-to-date logbook
- payment for textbook and materials (if applicable)
- personal protective equipment (safety glasses and safety footwear for shop access and lab assignments
A Note on Level Exams: 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 the apprentice is automatically scheduled to write the level exam, usually on the Saturday following their last day of training.
If you are uncertain if your trade requires mandatory level exams, check on the Training Schedule for specific information about your trade.
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.
One way the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency works to support diversity is by making accommodations for people with disabilities. If you have a disability, you have a right to the accommodations that you may require to participate in training and testing.
For people without disabilities, the barriers to participation may not be noticeable, but that does not make the barriers any less real, and as an Agency, we commit to working to remove the institutional barriers that unfairly disadvantage some people.
You may not realize that anxiety and depression are included under the umbrella of mental disabilities.
Also included under the mental disabilities umbrella are learning disabilities, many of which have historically gone undiagnosed in Nova Scotia.
If you know, or if you suspect, that you have a learning disability, talk with your Industry Training Consultant and to your Technical Training Provider and they will help you connect with a Learning Disabilities Specialist who can help you identify the strategies and accommodations you might need to succeed. A partial list of possible accommodations during exams includes: extra time, a reader to read the exam questions aloud, large-print font to make the exam questions and answers easier to see, a quiet testing environment, or a digital codebook.
Note that some types of accommodations will require setting up a specially-scheduled exam sitting.
We aspire to a universal design approach in which all test spaces and workplaces have ramps and other accessibility features as a matter of course. However, this is a work in progress. If you need special accommodation for a disability, talk with us and we will work with you to make sure that you get the supports you need to experience success in your program.
The deadline for exam applications (and the fee if applicable) is indicated on the schedule and is generally a month before each sitting.
For apprentices writing a level exam that is not linked to an in-class training session, the scheduling procedure for level exams is the same as for certification exams (though for level exams there is no fee).
On the day of the exam sitting, make sure to bring the Exam Sitting Confirmation Letter as well as a valid photo ID.
- Exam Schedule 2023-24
- Exam Application Form
- Code Books Provided for Exams
- Formula Sheets for Exams
- Exam Breakdowns (Red Seal Exams)
- Exam Breakdowns (Provincial and Level Exams)
- Frequently Asked Questions
If you are unable to write the exam on your scheduled exam date, you must notify the Agency as soon as possible. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions + Welder Practical
Since 2015, the Red Seal Welder trade has required both a PRACTICAL and a WRITTEN exam for Welder certification.
Welder apprentices at the end of their 3rd (final) level of training must apply for both the Welder Practical Exam and the Red Seal Welder Written Exam. Welder apprentices must successfully complete the Level 3 written exam, then the Welder Practical Exam, and finally the Red Seal Welder Written Exam in order to achieve certification.
Trade qualifiers must apply through the trade qualifier process and will be automatically scheduled for both the Welder Practical Exam prior to the date selected for the Red Seal Welder Written Exam.
Upon successful completion of both the practical and written exams, welders receive a Certificate of Qualification with the Red Seal endorsement.
Questions can be directed to your Industry Training Consultant.
What to Expect
The Welder Practical Exam will be administered in one session, five (5) hours in duration plus a mandatory 30 minute lunch break. The exam is conducted by a Welder examiner and overseen by two (2) NSAA invigilators.
The contents of the Welder Practical Exam are not secret. Click the button below for info and the six welding processes that will be tested.
If a client already holds current welding tickets, they may be exempt from some, but not all, of the Welder Practical Exam requirements.
Apprentices registered in an in-class technical training session will be automatically scheduled for a level exam sitting, usually on the Saturday following the last day of technical training. Trade qualifiers will be scheduled for a certification exam sitting as part of their trade qualifier application process. For apprentices writing a repeat level exam or a level exam that is not linked to an in-class technical training, and for apprentices writing their certification exam, an exam application must be submitted.
On the exam application, you must indicate a preferred exam date and location. A listing of all exam sessions is included in the Exam Schedule. The deadline for exam applications (and the fee if applicable) is indicated on the schedule and is generally a month before each sitting.
Some types of exam accommodations require scheduling a special exam sitting.
An initial auto-generated email confirming the receipt of your application is not a confirmation that you have been approved or scheduled to write during your requested sitting.Once your application has been approved, a confirmation letter (by Canada Post mail) will be sent to 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. (Also, double check the exam title to ensure that you are registered for the correct exam.) Take this confirmation letter with you to the exam sitting.
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, check the Technical Training Schedule for your specific trade.
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. This is the same exam written by trade qualifiers who challenge the exam without registering as apprentice.
If the certification exam is passed, the apprentice or trade qualifier receives a Certificate of Qualification confirming that they are a certified journeyperson. Apprentices will also receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship, making them eligible to apply for a federal or Provincial Completion Grant.
If the trade is a Red Seal trade, the certification exam is a Red Seal exam and the Certificate of Qualification will show the Red Seal Endorsement.
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).
If a codebook is required, the Agency will provide it to you at the exam session. Here is a list of the exams that require codebooks or codebook related material.
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. See link above.
Because the Agency administers Red Seal and Atlantic Level Exams, we can not control the code books that each exam requires. Exam banks are updated on a scheduled cycle and, therefore, are developed to the code books that are current at the time of update.
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).
- Do not bring a watch. Devices are not permitted.
- 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; regular 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 wear a hat.
- 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.
At exam sittings, the Agency supplies items that you need for your exam, including pencils, code books (if applicable) and calculators. 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.
One of two models of calculator will be provided during the exam: Casio FX-260 Solar OR Casio FX-260 Solar II; both of these models perform the same functions. It may be worthwhile to you buy one of these calculators beforehand to ensure that you are familiar with how they function.
CASIO FX-260 SOLAR
CASIO FX-260 SOLAR II
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.
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.
During the exam session, what if I feel that a question is problematic? Will my mark be adjusted?
No. Comments or concerns about exam questions will not be used to adjust your mark; however, they may be considered for future reviews and updates of exam banks.
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.
Try not to be discouraged! Exams are very challenging. Rather, use what you learned from your previous experience to help prepare for your next attempt. Everyone who challenges an exam receives a letter with 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 submit another exam application and pay the exam fee (if it is a certification exam) 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 occasions, you are required to contact your Industry Training Consultant to make a study plan.
Exam results will be mailed to clients (by Canada Post) within 10 working days of the exam sitting.