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Length: 3 periods Credential: Apprenticeship Delivery: Full Time Classroom

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Learn to prepare food for hotels, restaurants and other establishments.

If you like a challenge, are passionate about food and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, you will enjoy a career as a cook. Their major responsibilities are nutrition, food costs and sanitation.

Depending on the establishment, you may be involved in studying menus to estimate food requirements and obtain the necessary food from storage or suppliers, washing, peeling and cutting vegetables, cleaning and cutting meats, fish and poultry and cleaning kitchen equipment and cooking utensils.

You may also be involved in preparing, seasoning and cooking such foods as soups, salads, meats, fish, gravies, vegetables, desserts, sauces and casseroles, carving meats, preparing portions on a plate and add gravies, sauces and garnish to servings or baking pastries.

Throughout your career, you may also prepare buffets (for example, platters, showpieces), prepare special diets and oversee menu planning, regulating stock control and supervising kitchen staff.

While specific duties vary depending upon the type of establishment, it will be your responsibility to prepare meals that are both appealing and nutritious.

This is a non-compulsory trade – individuals can work in the trade without certification if the employer deems the individual to have the skills of a journeyperson. However, individuals who are working in the trade and learning the trade must become a registered apprentice.

Is this the right fit for me?

Students who have the following characteristics see greater success in the cook trade:

  • be fluent in English with reading and writing competency
  • have good basic mathematics skills
  • have a genuine interest in preparing food and working with people
  • be in good health and able to stand for long periods of time
  • have a keen sense of taste and smell
  • be ready to work as members of a team or independently
  • be willing to maintain the high standard of cleanliness necessary in any food establishment
  • a commitment to safe work habits


Upon successfully completing the required working hours and technical training periods, graduates will be awarded journeyperson status by Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

This is a Red Seal Endorsed trade – a recognizable standard that allows tradespeople to work across Canada. 

Read more

Career opportunities

Start your career by finding an employer who is willing to indenture you as an apprentice or gain experience with our Professional Cooking diploma program. Cooks are employed in hotels, clubs, restaurants, catering firms, cafeterias, institutions, homes, high-class specialty food outlets and isolated bases and camps. Cooks work under pressure and the work volume can be considerable. Shift work and having to work weekends and holidays is common.

After becoming a journeyperson, you may advance to supervisory positions or take on new apprentices. You can become sous-chefs, chefs, executive chefs, banquet managers, food service administrators and coordinators, general managers or food editors. You can also achieve Certified Chef de Cuisine (C.C.C.), a highly respected level of certification. There are good prospects for travel both within Canada and abroad. Some journeypersons go on to run their own businesses – we can help you build your business with our Blue Seal business certificate or take our Culinary Entrepreneur Post-Diploma program.

$15 - $25
Average hourly wage
Periods of training

Tuition and fees per year*

Year 1: $1,243.72
Year 2: $1,243.72
Year 3: $1,243.72

*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change


The program requirements are set by Apprenticeship and Industry Training.  

When can you apply?

Registration for the 2021/2022 academic year opens on May 26, 2021.

SAIT named Canada’s top hospitality and top culinary school

For the sixth consecutive year, CEOWORLD Magazine recognized SAIT as the number one hospitality school in Canada.

Admission and completion

To enter an apprenticeship, you must have the educational qualifications required or recommended education for the trade to which you apply.

Entrance Requirements are monitored and set by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Minimum requirements
Successful completion of the following courses:

  • English 10-2
  • Math 10-3


A pass mark in all five Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests


Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Entrance Exam

Recommended Path
Apprentices with an Alberta High School Diploma that includes the following courses:

  • English 30-2
  • Math 30-3
  • Physics 20 OR Chemistry 20 OR Science 20
  • Related career and technology studies (CTS) courses

How to register

Registration for technical training is run through Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. Learn how you can register for your next intake.

Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Services

Suite 200 Willow Park Centre   
10325 Bonaventure DR. SE 
Calgary, AB

After you register

Email is the primary source of communication after you have registered for your intake. Please ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add the sait.ca domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.

Next steps >


The term of apprenticeship for a cook is 3 years (three 12-month periods), including a minimum of 1560 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training at SAIT each year.

Training outline

Technical Training Performance 

To be successful in technical training, an apprentice must pass each section of the course and pass the AIT exam. The passing grade for each section in the course is a 65%. A passing mark on each Trade Qualification Exam and the Interprovincial Qualification (or Red Seal Exam) is 70%.

Alberta's Apprenticeship and Industry Training procedures


Domestic tuition and fees*

Period Tuition fees SAIT fees Saitsa fees 2021/22 total
1 $899 $272.80 $71.92 $1,243.72
2 $899 $272.80 $71.92 $1,243.72
3 $899 $272.80 $71.92 $1,243.72


Student support fee: $37.50
Student technology fee: $ 37.50
Campus recreation fee: $45.80
Lab & Material fee: $152

Books and supplies*

  • There is an additional $75 fee for laundry services for this program.
  • Books or modules along with other items for class average out to $600 per period.
  • It is recommended that you do not purchase books or modules ahead of time as they might be outdated by the time you attend classes and they cannot be returned to the bookstore.
  • Personal Protective Equipment will be required for the program, which may be an additional cost to apprentices.

*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.

Learn more about paying for your apprenticeship

Have questions about this program?

Contact us at

School of Hospitality and Tourism

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