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Lather (Interior Systems Mechanic)


Lathers (interior systems mechanics) install a wide variety of wall and ceiling systems and exterior finishes, bringing various buildings to a completed state.

On a typical job, lathers (interior systems mechanics):

  • read blueprints and work as a team with architects, engineers and associated trades to bring a project to completion;
  • install metal framing for walls, partitions, ceiling systems and ornamental detail;
  • apply base materials for stucco finishes including Styrofoam, stucco wire and metal lath, and apply various stucco finishes;
  • work with other trades to accommodate the installation of heating, plumbing, electrical and millwork;
  • install metal doors, window frames, access doors and insulation;
  • erect demountable partitions and various suspended ceilings as used in commercial office space;
  • install and finish drywall on commercial, residential and industrial projects; and
  • install load-bearing steel wall and floor systems used in the construction of non-combustible buildings.

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


Working Conditions

Most lathers (interior systems mechanics) are employed in major centres where there is a sufficient amount of work to maintain full-time employment. Lathers may work indoors or outdoors year round. Some of the various construction sites lathers work at include industrial plants, commercial buildings, offices and residential homes. Lathers are required to work on aerial platforms, scaffolding and ladders. Lathers generally work 40 hours per week however overtime may be required to meet construction deadlines.


Skills and Abilities

The type of work is very rewarding for those who:

  • enjoy using skills that require a high degree of accuracy,
  • are capable of problem solving and creative thinking, and
  • enjoy working at a variety of tasks.

To be successful in their trade, lathers (interior systems mechanics) must have:

  • good hand-eye coordination,
  • physical fitness,
  • strength, stamina and the use of proper lifting techniques required to work with heavy equipment weighing in excess of 25 kilograms (55 pounds),
  • the ability and willingness to pay careful attention to detail, and
  • the ability to work well with others, and independently.


Employment and Advancement

Most lathers (interior systems mechanics) are employed by contractors in the construction industry and have the opportunity to become a certified journeyperson, foreman, project manager, estimator or be self-employed.

Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $25 to $50 an hour plus benefits.


Working in Alberta

To work as a lather (interior systems mechanic) 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 lather (interior systems mechanic) is 3 years (three 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1560 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training in each first, second and third years.

  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the lather 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.  
  • 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 lather (interior systems mechanic) 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.

For holders of an existing trade certificate, it can serve as your entrance requirement equivalency when registering in an additional trade.

  • 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 lathers (industrial mechanics) earn at least 55 percent of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 70 percent in the second, and 80 percent in the third year.
  • complete all of the program requirements as identified in the course outline
  • enroll in technical training
  • successfully complete all required exams
  • Technical Training Resource List
    • Each period of technical training requires apprentices to purchase specific resources and supplies.
    • Contact the training provider where you will be attending training for a complete list.

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 lather (interior systems mechanic) 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 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.

Click for more information on the Equivalency Program.