School of Skilled Trades

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Hands-on, industry-relevant training 

NAIT’s School of Skilled Trades is a leading training provider to students in apprenticeship or pre-employment certificate/diploma programs. We are industry focused and all of our programs align with the knowledge and skills that business and industry look for in their employees.

There are many paths into the trades, multiple training opportunities once you are registered  as an apprentice, and numerous options for career advancement once you have your journeyperson ticket.

Message from the Dean

"Skilled trades play an integral role in the safe operation of industries and the health of the economy within the province, country and abroad. Within the School of Skilled Trades, our certificate and diploma programs are built using industry feedback to keep them relevant and responsive to the needs of industry. These programs are closely tied to their apprenticeship counterparts to encourage and provide pathways for students to deepen their expertise.

Being one of the largest trades training providers in the country, NAIT’s School of Skilled Trades leads the way in delivering quality education to over 10,000 apprentices and full-time students per year. Our dedicated and industry experienced instructors continue to innovate how and what we deliver to provide a blend of hands-on and theory-based learning in a true polytechnic fashion.

Our students are diverse, courageous, dedicated and sought out by industry. Our alumni are industry leaders, supporters of innovation and well positioned for successful careers. We can’t wait for you to be one of them."

 Matthew Lindberg
Dean, School of Skilled Trades

Matthew Lindberg

What are my pathways into the trades?

Your first step is to research which Skilled Trades program fits your interests, skills and career goals. Next, pick your pathway into the trades; whether it’s apprenticeship, diploma and certificate or an alternative pathway. 

Pathways to a trades career
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Start studying at NAIT first

Diploma and certificate programs provide a direct pathway into trades training without having to find employment first. Unlike the apprenticeship pathway, you do not have to be employed and registered as an apprentice through Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) to apply to these programs – you can apply directly online.

After completing the diploma or certificate programs, you will have skills and knowledge comparable to a journeyperson. You also have the option to write apprenticeship exams and complete apprenticeship hours to receive a journeyperson’s certificate.

This pathway is available to international students.

Explore our diploma and certificate programs

Find employment first

First, find employment with a qualified employer. Then you can register as an apprentice by submitting the Apprenticeship Application and Contract online with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT). To learn more about becoming registered as an apprentice, visit MyTradesecrets.

Once you are employed and registered through AIT, you can enrol in technical training at  NAIT. Depending on your trade, most apprenticeship programs are 3 to 4 periods in length, with an average of 8 weeks for each training period. Additionally, there are specific allotments of on-the-job training hours associated with each period, so most apprentices complete 1 period per calendar year.

Ready to get started? We can walk you through the Apprenticeship admissions process.

Start the admissions process

Start in grade 10

Organized through AIT and CAREERS, the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is available to students in high school (starting in grade 10). Every high school has a RAP coordinator or academic counsellor who can connect you with appropriate resources.

RAP will help you find employment in your desired trade so you can earn a wage and complete on-the-job training hours while obtaining high school credits. Once you are enrolled in RAP, you will be registered as an apprentice with AIT and can use the training hours towards your first period apprenticeship of your designated trade.

Learn more about the Registered Apprenticeship Program 

Start training, then find employment

For some trades, you can take a short-term program at NAIT to begin technical training. Then, you can secure employment and apply online with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) to become a registered apprentice.

What’s the difference between diploma/certificate programs and pre-employment programs?

With pre-employment programs, you still need to find employment and then register as an apprentice to earn your journeyperson certificate. With  diploma/certificate programs, you do not need to find employment and register as an apprentice with AIT to earn your diploma or certificate. If you decide you want to earn a journeyperson certificate, you can then choose to complete apprenticeship hours after graduation.

NAIT offers the following pre-employment program:

Continue your education and upgrade your skills

Want to try a few courses before beginning an apprenticeship program? Already have your journeyperson certificate but want to brush up on your skills and techniques? Try our Skilled Trades Continuing Education courses.

Explore our Continuing Education courses


The School of Skilled Trades offers training in over 40 program areas leading to journeyperson certification, pre-employment certificates or diploma credentials.

Beyond the Classroom

Improve your skills or explore new abilities by participating in clubs, competitions and student showcase events. You'll also get access to the best equipment available on the market.

Department of Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies

NAIT's Department of Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies has been providing skilled graduates to the hospitality industry for more than 40 years.

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