Alternate Pathways to Certification

What are my options if classroom instruction in my program is temporarily unavailable?

If classroom instruction for an apprenticeship program is temporarily unavailable, apprentices may have some options to advance in their programs and receive their trade certification. 

1) Challenge Examination (Journeyperson Certificate)

Registered apprentices may be able to challenge a period examination to earn advanced standing in a period in their trade.

Challenge Examination – through a Prior Learning Assessment

  • Register to become an apprentice.
  • Work with sponsors to learn on-the-job by using the knowledge requirements and competencies outlined in the record book.
  • Submit the record book to an Apprenticeship & Industry Training (AIT) Office at least once a year.
  • Challenging AIT examinations
    • After an apprentice has obtained the knowledge and competencies outlined for any period of apprenticeship and/or gained enough on-the-job work experience, a request can be made to challenge an AIT period examination.
      • If the apprentice is employed in the trade, sponsor support should be provided through an sponsor recommends exam challenge letter
      • If the apprentice is unemployed in the trade, they must have gained enough on-the-job work experience for the period they wish to challenge along with hours recorded on their file, before a request can be made to challenge the AIT period examination.
    • Exam challenges require a fee.

2) Trades Qualifier -- Work Experience Program (Journeyperson Certificate)

If an apprentice has enough work experience in the trade (months and hours), they may be eligible to apply for the Trades Qualifier – Work Experience program.

  • Submit a Trades Qualifier Work Experience Program Application through MyTradesecrets.
  • Minimum required months and hours of on-the-job work experience must be completed.
    • Visit the Profile for your trade, find the Trade Qualifier section under Program Information, and review the Work Experience requirements.
  • Complete the Trades Qualifier program requirements within 18 months of the application approval date:
    • Successful completion of theory examination(s).
    • Competency assessment (Sponsor Declaration Letter, Trades Competency Verification or Practical Examination).
    • Additional fees apply to all practical examinations, and cost will vary depending on trade.

3) Provincial-Territorial Apprentice Mobility Protocol (Journeyperson Certificate)

If the trade is designated in Alberta and the other province/territory, and if approved, apprentices may be able to attend classroom instruction in another province/territory.

Under the Apprentice Mobility Protocol and Agreement, provinces and territories recognize apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship training completed in the same trade in other provinces and territories. It helps to formalize existing Alberta practices that enable apprentices to pursue jobs anywhere in Canada without interruption to their apprenticeship training programs.

Apprentices who wish to move to another province or territory to attend classroom instruction can apply for:

  • Temporary Apprentice Transfer.
    • Apprentices may move temporarily to work, or to take classroom instruction.
  • Permanent Apprentice Transfer.
    • Apprentices may receive recognition for their training (classroom and work) and exams successfully completed in the same or equivalent trade without the need to repeat training.

Please refer to Apprentice Mobility for more information.

Why is my classroom instruction being suspended or consolidated to one institution?

No two apprenticeship programs are the same, as each one depends on industry demand. Changes in the economy and industry practices impact demand for apprenticeship education. When demand is consistently low, the classroom instruction component of an apprenticeship program may be consolidated to a single post-secondary institution or suspended across the entire province.

How long is my classroom instruction going to be suspended for?

All classroom instruction suspensions are considered temporary and will continue to be monitored by Apprenticeship and Industry Training and post-secondary institutions. Classroom instruction could be re-instated if demand returns to a sustainable level. If so, apprentices will be notified.

Is financial assistance available if I have to move to attend classroom instruction?

Many apprentices throughout Alberta often have to move to a short-term residence to attend classroom instruction. There are several financial options available to apprentices to help offset the cost of living away from home, such as employment insurance, grants, scholarships and loans (provincial and federal). More information about financial assistance is available here.

Where can I find additional resources to help me prepare to challenge my exams?

The course outline and exam counseling sheets for each apprenticeship program are available through the Trades List on the Tradesecrets website.