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Millwrights install, maintain, repair and troubleshoot stationary industrial machinery and mechanical equipment in sites such as factories, production plants and recreational facilities.

On a typical job millwrights:

  • read diagrams and schematic drawings and service manuals to determine work procedures
  • operate rigging equipment and dollies to place heavy machinery and parts
  • fit bearings, align gears and shafts, attach motors, and connect couplings and belts to precise tolerances
  • align and test equipment, and make any necessary adjustments
  • perform predictive and operational procedures
  • repair or replace defective parts
  • service and repair hydraulic and pneumatic systems
  • may do some tack welding (a weld that is adequate in size to temporarily hold components in place until it can be completely welded by a registered apprentice welder or a journeyman welder) and fabrication as well as maintain an inventory of replacement parts

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Trade Regulation.


Working Conditions

There is a strong emphasis on safety while working with machinery.

Millwrights may do primarily construction work, plant maintenance work or a combination of both. They often work in close association with other trades people such as machinists, instrument mechanics, welders, electricians and pipefitters.

Working conditions for millwrights vary from one job to another. On construction job sites, they are exposed to a variety of weather conditions. In plant maintenance, they may work indoors and outdoors. Hours of work vary: shift work and some overtime may be required.


Skills and Abilities

This trade is most rewarding for those who enjoy variety, security and doing precision work with machinery and equipment.

To be successful in their trade, millwrights must have:

  • strength, stamina and the use of proper lifting techniques required for handling items weighing up to 25 kilograms
  • good coordination and manual dexterity
  • the ability to visualize a layout by looking at plans and prints
  • the ability to comprehend and trouble-shoot mechanical systems
  • the ability to get along with and sometimes supervise the work of others.


Employment and Advancement

Journeyperson millwrights find employment in construction, maintenance, machine shops and stock keeping and sales. They are employed by manufacturing, processing, and construction companies as well as amusement parks and ski hills. Those employed in construction may experience periods of unemployment.

Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $30 to $45 an hour plus benefits.

Millwrights are exposed to the duties involved in a variety of other trades, and therefore can be good candidates for promotion to supervisory and superintendent positions.


Working in Alberta

To work as a millwright in Alberta, a person must:

  • be a registered apprentice, an Alberta-certified journeyperson, hold a valid recognized credential , OR
  • work for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of a certified journeyperson, OR
  • be self-employed.

Individuals possessing a valid recognized credential in Alberta are eligible to receive a Blue Seal business credential after completing the necessary requirements.


Apprenticeship Training

The term of apprenticeship for a millwright is 4 years (four 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1560 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training each year.

  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the millwright trade or holds a related journeyperson certificate and has the employer's recommendation, may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of apprenticeship. Inquiries about credit for previously completed courses of study or work experience can be directed to an apprenticeship representative toll-free at 1-800-248-4823.
  • A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may complete the online Prior Learning Assessment Application.  For more information, see the online Prior Learning Assessment Guide.
  • A high school student can become an apprentice and gain credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time under the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

To learn the skills required of a millwright in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, a person must:

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates and may select apprentices from among their current employees.

  • complete the online Apprenticeship Application and Contract
  • pay the non-refundable application fee as part of the application process 
  • complete the required on-the-job training
    - during on-the-job training, apprentice millwrights earn at least 60 percent of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 70 percent in the second, 80 percent in the third, and 90 percent in the fourth year.
  • complete all of the program requirements as identified in the course outline
  • enroll in technical training
    - select an educational institution that offers training for Millwright apprentices, and a time to attend training
    - determine requirements for enrolling at the selected institution, and forward completed enrolment form to the selected institution
  • review books and materials required for training
  • successfully complete all required exams

Apprentices involved in the Career and Technology Studies (CTS) stream in high school may be eligible for credit towards their apprenticeship first period training.  

Apprentices may attempt the Interprovincial Exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal.

When apprentices attend technical training, they are required to pay the applicable tuition fee and purchase course supplies.

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.


Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

A millwright who holds a valid trade certificate from Alberta or from another Canadian province or territory may apply to write the Interprovincial Exam and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal under the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program. The Red Seal is recognized throughout most of Canada.

To prepare for the exam see the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available resource materials.


Qualification Certificate Program

For a Qualification Certificate based on a recognized credential or work experience in order to prepare for the exam(s) please refer to the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available resource materials.

Time spent on supervisory or foreman duties, counter work, heading the tool crib, or on training course is NOT counted as 'hands-on' work experience.


Equivalency Program

A person who holds a valid recognized credential does not require an Alberta equivalency document to work in the trade in Alberta.

However, some employers may require Alberta documentation as proof that the holder is allowed to work in the trade or that the holder's credential is recognized.

More information regarding the Equivalency Program can be found here.