How to Enter the Trades & Complete Your Apprenticeship
Choosing a Trade
Skilled trades fall into four categories. Some examples of trades in each category are listed below.
• Heavy Equipment Operator
• Automotive Service Technician
• Aviation Technician
• Auto Body Repair
• Fuel/Electrical Systems Technician
• Horticultural Technician
4. Manufacturing / Industrial
• Tool and Die Maker
• Precision Metal Fabricator
For a complete list of all Construction, Transportation, Service and Manufacturing/Industrial trades, please visit the Ontario College of Trades’ website.
Compulsory vs. Voluntary Trades
Trades are divided into two groups: 1) compulsory, and 2) voluntary.
To work in a compulsory trade, you need to be registered with the Ontario College of Trades as one of the following membership classes: Apprentices Class, Journeyperson Candidates Class, Tradespersons Class, Journeypersons Class or Employers / Sponsors Class. As an apprentice working within a compulsory trade, you will need to complete the following steps: 1) register as a member of the Ontario College of Trades, 2) complete on-the-job training, 3) complete in-school training, and 4) pass a Certificate of Qualification exam.
There are 22 compulsory trades in Ontario. To work in one of these trades, you need to be an apprentice, journeyperson candidate, or journeyperson. You must be a registered member of the Ontario College of Trades to be employed in a compulsory trade.
To learn more about compulsory trades in Ontario, visit this page from the Ontario College of Trades’ website. On this page,▲indicates a designated compulsory trade.
Voluntary trades are trades that do not require you to become an apprentice, journeyperson candidate, or journey person to work within the industry. To be employed in one of these trades, you do not need to complete a specific training program. Even in the voluntary trades, however, some industries or employers may request journey person status when hiring or request that someone become an apprentice.
Having qualifications or training in a specific trade shows that you have a certain level of experience and skill, and helps you market yourself to employers and clients.
To learn more about voluntary trades in Ontario, visit this page from the Ontario College of Trades’ website.
- Which trade matches your personality? Get some ideas using this web tool.
- You can also explore the construction trades specifically with this Career Finder.
Choose five skilled trades that interest you using the above tools, and find out more about them. You might want to ask yourself the following:
- What is the work environment like?
- What skills and personality traits are needed to succeed?
- Where and when does classroom training take place?
- What topics are covered?
- What is the rate of pay?
More information about specific trades is available on the following websites:
Construction Trades Organizations
Brick and Stone Mason (Bricklayer)
Ontario Masonry Contractors’ Association: www.canadamasonrycentre.com/omca
Cement (Concrete) Finisher
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Canada: http://www.boilermaker.ca
United Association HVAC and Refrigeration Pipefitters Local Union 787: www.ualocal787.org
Ironworkers Local 765: www.ironworkers765.com
Painters, Drywall Finishers, Glaziers, HAZMAT Workers, Stucco Workers
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Ontario Council: http://www.iupat.on.ca/
United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the USA and Canada Local 71: www.ualocal71.com
Electricity Sector Council: www.brightfutures.ca
Ontario Pipe Trades Council: http://optc.org/
Terrazzo Tile & Marble Guild of Ontario: www.ttmgo.org
Motive Power Sector Trades Organizations
Automotive Service Technician
Council for Automotive Human Resources: www.cahr-crha.ca
Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council: www.mmic.ca
Motor Vehicle Body Repairer
Collision Industry Information Assistance: www.ciia.com
Service Sector Trades Organizations
International Society of Arboriculture Ontario: www.isaontario.com
Ontario Hairstyling Schools Association: www.ohsacolleges.ca
Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association: www.horttrades.com
Industrial Sector Trades Organizations
Local 93 Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario: http://www.local93.org/
Electric Motor Systems Technician
Electrical Apparatus Service Association – Ontario Branch: http://easaontario.ca/
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers: www.iamaw.ca
Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario: https://www.ecao.org/
Industrial Mechanic Millwright
Millwrights Regional Council of Ontario: millwrightont.com
Instrumentation and Control Technician
Ontario Power Generation: http://www.opg.com/Pages/home.aspx
Metal Fabricator (Fitter)
Canadian Welding Association: https://www.cwa-acs.org/
Tool and Die Maker
Canadian Tooling and Machining Association: http://ctma.com/
Canadian Welding Bureau: www.cwbgroup.org/association