Frequently Asked Questions

  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 Manager, Youth and Equity Programs.

  6. How long is an apprenticeship?
    The Apprenticeship program recognizes 1,800 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 (5,400 to 7,200 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 Industry 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.

  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 . 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. 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 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?

    • If you work in a non-compulsory-certified trade (such as Welder, Industrial Mechanic (Millwright), etc.), please submit and complete the REPLACEMENT Form.

    • If you are a Blaster, or you work in a compulsory-certified trade (such as AST, Construction Electrician, etc.), please complete and submit the RENEWAL Form.

  15. What are the fees?
    Apprenticeship fees

  16. What is the Red Seal Program?
    The 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 an Industry Training Consultant?
    An Industry 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 as a Blaster in Nova Scotia?
    Blasting activities are provincially regulated by the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration. Please click here for information about Surface 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.