Here’s why you should consider the trades.


The skilled trades are hiring now. In fact, the Alberta Construction Association is forecasting 8,300 new construction jobs by 2027. With over 20% of the current workforce set to retire by 2030, students in the trades can expect to easily find life-long, high-paying work opportunities after graduating. Data from a recent SAIT report showed that their School of Construction graduates had a 93% employment rate.


Did you know there are many post-secondary education institutions in Alberta offering high-quality certification programs, training, and apprenticeships – and that you can even jumpstart your career in high school? Learn about the RAP program, or explore all your post-secondary options.


Alberta’s construction industry values diverse voices in our worksites. Through initiatives like Women Building FuturesCareers Next Gen, Trade Winds to Success and The Educational Partnership Foundation (TEPF), Alberta is invested in forging opportunities to create a workforce that reflects our province’s population.


The advantages for trades students are priceless. Statistics show that trades graduates are more quickly employed and have less student-loan debt upon entering the workforce. A recent survey from NAIT showed that 43% of their students found employment before graduation, while 32% found work within 3 months post-grad. In terms of starting salary, the annual median income landed between 50-60k for full-time workers.


How can I try different trades to learn what I might like?

Many Alberta high schools offer Career and Technology Studies (CTS), a provincially authorized curriculum for secondary schools designed on a pathways model to offer flexible programming using 1-credit courses. The course structure of CTS enables schools to design unique programs that meet the needs of students and draw on community resources.

Can I start my skilled trade education in high school?

Dual credit programming lets students personalize their high school experience and discover – or build on – career passions and interests. Learning opportunities span many industries and professions such as healthcare, trades, agriculture, and business administration.

Students in grades 10, 11 or 12 can earn credits toward:

  • A High School Diploma or certificate of achievement
  • A post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree
  • First-period apprenticeship or journeyperson certificate
What education opportunities are available to youth looking to enter the construction industry?

There are many! Discover internship opportunities through CAREERS, or explore polytechnic schools and specific post-secondary programs on ALIS. Build your trades career as early as grade 10 through the Registered Apprenticeship Program. Not sure where to get started? Try taking a work values quiz to learn what qualities matters most to you.

What trade schools are there in Alberta?

There are several to choose from. NAIT, SAIT, Red Deer Polytechnic, and Northwestern Polytechnic are a few specific examples in Alberta. Learn more about the education opportunities available here.

Where do I learn more about financial aid, like student loans and scholarships?

In Alberta, student loans are referred to as Student Aid. Eligible students attending designated post-secondary programs can apply for student aid and grants to help pay for tuition, fees, and the cost of living. Thousands of dollars in scholarships are also available through a variety of streams. Apply for student aid, or check out SAIT’s tuition and financial aid options. NAIT offers robust scholarship and bursary opportunities, as does Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT).

How can I learn more about the trades in the construction industry?

There are over 50 designated trades to choose from in Alberta. Some trades in the construction industry include:

What is an apprenticeship, and how do I get one?

An apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training and classroom learning that leads to a trade credential, such as an Alberta Journeyperson Certificate, or Red Seal. As an apprentice, you work for an employer while learning your trade. Once you complete your apprenticeship and receive your ticket, you are qualified to work in a skilled trade. To receive an apprenticeship, you must first choose a program, check if you meet the requirements, and apply online. Learn more on how to begin your apprenticeship journey.

What is the Registered Apprenticeship Program?

The Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is an apprenticeship program for high school students where you can work towards a registered apprenticeship while earning your High School Diploma. Work part-time, full-time for a semester, on weekends, holidays, or even in summer. Benefits of completing this program include:

  • Income: Earn minimum wage or higher.
  • Credits: Earn up to 40 RAP credits towards a High School Diploma.
  • Experience: Bank up to 1000 hours towards apprenticeship training.
  • Scholarships: Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) offers hundreds of scholarships to apprentices.
  • Head Start: outcomes aligned with 1st year apprenticeship training.
What is the Red Seal Program?

The Red Seal Program is a recognized standard of skill and competency across Canada. If you have a trade certificate with a Red Seal, you can work anywhere in Canada with no further training or exams. You must pass the Red Seal exam in order to receive Red Seal endorsement. However, not all trades are included in the program – check to see if your trade is listed.

What supports in Alberta are available to Indigenous workers looking to enter the construction industry?

Trade Winds to Success is an organization with the goal of increasing the number of Indigenous people training and apprenticing in construction trades.

What supports in Alberta are available to women looking to enter the construction industry?

The Alberta construction industry is dedicated to fostering opportunities for women to enter the skilled trade industry through initiatives like Women Building Futures. Girls Exploring Trades & Technologies (GETT) is another initiative that encourages females to explore trades careers throughout hands-on workshops and materials.

Is Alberta hiring right now?

The Alberta Construction Association is forecasting 8,300 new construction jobs by 2027. There are no shortages when it comes to vacancies in Alberta. Find your fit here.

What are the advantages of working in Alberta?

When you choose Alberta to make your home, you are planting roots in a thriving province. From the ease of transferring your credentials, the highest median salaries in Canada, affordable housing and a world leading K-12 education system, the Alberta advantage is strong. Learn why Alberta is calling.

Have you heard of Skills Alberta? A chapter of the national organization Skills Canada, Skills Alberta promotes careers in technology and the skilled trades to high-school and post-secondary students in the province. They host annual trades competitions, workshops, award scholarships, and offer other student and educator resources.

Watch the highlights of last year’s competition here!

The average millwright
in Alberta earns $83,433 a year
The average refrigeration mechanic
in Alberta earns $80,126 a year
The average ironworker
in Alberta earns $73,321 a year
The average carpenter
in Alberta earns $72,252 a year
The average bricklayer
in Alberta earns $86,045 a year
The average roofer
in Alberta earns $66,576 a year