Education & Apprenticeship Program
The Red Seal exam is a nationally-recognized certification exam in Canada, and is the certification exam for most trades. Red Seal exams are trade-specific theory exams which are available in both English and French. They contain between 100 and 150 multiple-choice questions, with an average exam containing 125. Each question has four responses, only one of which is correct. A maximum of four hours is provided to complete the exam. The passing grade is 70%.
***Trades Companies, Unions, and organizations are now starting to make it mandatory for trades people to obtain and possess a Red Seal Certification, as trades people are asked to leave job sites and are not receiving good quality job positions for various and legal reasons. Obtaining the Inter-Provincial Red Seal certification is a worthwhile endeavour and has to be the most beneficial accomplishment to achieve as a trades person.***
Many trades’ people choose to complete a proper apprenticeship program. To become a registered apprentice, most courses consists of 5,000 hours of work experience over three years, in combination with three six-week blocks of technical training before writing the Red Seal exam.
You must first be enrolled in, or have successfully completed, training at an accredited institution. You should have Grade 12 high school or equivalent academic standing. You can also enter the trade in high school through the High School Apprenticeship Program in which you must be at least 16 years of age.
The next step is to find an employer who will agree to provide practical skills development and enter into an apprenticeship agreement with you. The agreement should be completed and submitted as soon as possible. After the Apprenticeship Board registers the Apprenticeship Application/Agreement, the apprentice must complete the required number of technical training hours (if they are still enrolled in an accredited training institution) and practical experience hours and pass any required examinations.
Apprentices receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship when they complete their training. Those wanting their apprenticeship recognized in most of Canada can apply for a Red Seal trade certification. When a trade’s person carries a Red Seal endorsement, his/her qualifications are recognized automatically by provinces and territories that also issue this certification which is usually right across Canada.
Others who have been in the industry for over 8,000 hours, but have not served a proper apprenticeship, may challenge the exam. You can also qualify as an Access Program Trainee (formerly Mature Student). If they pass they’ll receive their Red Seal designation, but won’t receive the Apprenticeship Certification. You may also challenge the ministry exam by producing letters of employment from your past and or current employers proving that you have a substantial amount of years and experience worked in your field. You must present all documents to the ministry board for approval of eligibility to challenge the Red Seal exam. You then write a final exam. Your grade mark must be at least 70 per cent to receive an Inter-provincial Red Seal certificate.
If you pass the examination, your Certificate of Qualification will be mailed to you. The results sheet will detail the score as a percentage for each section of the examination, so if you fail you will know which areas you still need to improve. If you fail an examination you can re-write it after fifteen days.
If you fail the examination twice, you will be required to either take a refresher course to upgrade your training or get more work experience before you can try the examination again. There is a $100 fee every time you write the examination.
The examination is 4 hours long and there are roughly 125-135 multiple choice questions. (This may be possible to subject change)
This is a multiple choice type exam.
The passing mark is 70%
Calculators & pencils are provided for you as you are not permitted to bring your own.