Learn about Designated Trades

Designated trades are professions that are regulated by the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act.

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 Alberta has more than 50 designated trades, spanning many industries including mechanical, electrical, automotive, manufacturing, building, and service.

Being designated means that there are regulated standards for journeyperson certification in the trade. This means that:

  • employers across the province can trust that all individuals with a journeyperson certificate have a high level of skill and knowledge in the field, and 
  • Albertans have clear pathways to gaining those skills and knowledge and establishing rewarding careers as certified journeypersons.

Trade designation also allows Alberta to regulate who can work within the trade. This means that: 

  • workers' safety is protected: only those with training or supervision can perform potentially dangerous tasks that require technical knowledge and expertise, and 
  • public and consumer safely is protected: Albertans can be assured that work within a designated trade has been performed by competent and qualified individuals.

When a trade is designated:

1. A list of restricted activities is identified for the trade

Restricted activities are tasks or functions that a tradesperson performs as part of a designated trade that require authorization to perform.

Schedule 2 of the Designated Trades and Restricted Activities Regulation lists for each trade:

  • restricted activities, and
  • classes of individuals authorized to perform restricted activities for each trade. 

2. Individuals authorized perform restricted activities are identified

The trade profile for each designated trade identifies the requirements for authorization to perform restricted activities in the trade. 

For all trades, to be authorized to perform restricted activities (and therefore work within a designated trade), you must: 

  • be a registered apprentice, or 
  • be a certified journeyperson. 

In some trades, the above are the only ways to become authorized. These trades were formerly known as compulsory certification trades. A list of these trades can be found here

In other trades, (previously known as optional certification trades), uncertified individuals whose employers deem them to have the skills and competencies expected of a journeyperson are also authorized to perform restricted activities.  A list of these trades can be found here

Not all trades have restricted activities. Anyone can work in trades without restricted activities, regardless of certification or registration. 

3. Standards for journeyperson certification are set

Once a trade or occupation is designated, its standards for journeyperson certification are set by the Alberta Board of Skilled Trades through the The Designated Trades Activities and Certification Requirements Order. 

The board consults with industry experts to establish and update certification requirements to meet the needs of employers. 

For each designated trade, one or more of four possible steams may be established as pathways to journeyperson certification:

  1. Apprenticeship Education Program
    • If you are new the the trade, register as an apprentice to begin learning and working toward your Journeyperson Certificate.
  2. Trades Qualifier - Work Experience Program
    • If you have previous experience in the trade (in or outside of Alberta), get your hours verified and take exams to qualify for your Journeyperson Certificate.
  3. Trades Qualifier - Recognized Credential Program
    • If you have a non-Alberta recognized trade credential, take exams to qualify for your Journeyperson Certificate. 
  4. Alternative Recognized Education or Training (previously known as Occupation Programs--more information coming soon) 
    • For designated trades that do not have an apprenticeship program, the board  sets requirements such as successful completion of recognised education or training, minimum work experience, or examinations to qualify your Journeyperson Certificate.

Most designated trades have an associated Apprenticeship Education Program. Learn how to get started in the trades and become an apprentice.