Learn how to set up and use precision metal cutting and grinding machines – such as lathes, milling machines, drills and grinders – to make and repair products made from metal, plastic, rubber, fibreglass and space-age alloys. 

You’ll use logic and tools like micrometres and callipers to follow specific instructions and precise measurements. Some electronic instruments have digital readouts that you’ll program for use. 

During a project, you’ll study specifications, charts, drawings or sample parts to determine what machining operation to perform. You’ll also calculate dimensions and prepare working sketches if needed. Additionally, you’ll measure and mark materials and set up and use tools – which may be computer numerically controlled – to verify dimensions, fit parts to mechanisms and perform machine operations. 

Machinists are skilled tradespeople who are self-motivated and get excited about working on leading-edge machinery. If you’re creative and like working with precision, you’ll excel in this line of work.

To succeed in this trade, you should:

  • have good hand dexterity and speed
  • understand machinery
  • have good problem-solving skills
  • work precisely
  • be able to accurately measure and estimate sizes and lengths
  • be comfortable working independently on tasks that require high concentration and physical effort
  • be committed to safe work habits.

Upon successfully completing the required working hours and technical training periods, you'll be awarded an advanced diploma in addition to 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. 

Download program info

Careers and opportunities

Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education.

Associated National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes: 72100, 72010, 72101.

Apprenticeship training

The term of apprenticeship for a machinist is four years (four 12-month periods), including a minimum of 1,560 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of apprenticeship education each year.

Year 1 | Period 1

You'll learn about safety and measurements, machine tools, trade math and print reading.

Training length: 8 weeks

Year 2 | Period 2

You'll learn about metallurgy, heat treatment, tooling, machine tools, trade math and print reading.

Training length: 8 weeks

Year 3 | Period 3

You'll learn about computer numerical control machines (CNC), machine tools, trade math, computer-aided design and manufacturing.

Training length: 8 weeks

Year 4 | Period 4

You'll learn about computer numerical control machining centers, machine tools, computer-aided design and manufacturing, metrology, coaching and governance.

Training length: 8 weeks

Apprenticeship education performance

You must pass each section of the course and the AIT exam to succeed in apprenticeship education. 

The passing grade for each period is no less than 50% in each course, with no less than a 65% average overall. A passing mark on each provincial exam and the interprovincial qualification (Red Seal Exam) is 70%.

View Alberta's Apprenticeship and Industry Training procedures

Training pathways

You can earn your journeyperson designation in the following ways.  

The traditional training pathway begins with finding a job with an employer willing to indenture you as an apprentice. Once you are an apprentice, you will alternate between on-the-job training and educational periods. 
You must apply for an apprenticeship through Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training before attending your first education period at SAIT. 

SAIT’s two-year Machining Technology diploma program equips you with the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully challenge the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) exams for Machinist Periods one through four and the Journeyman apprenticeship exam. 

A machinist apprentice working in a SAIT lab.

Pre-employment pathway

SAIT’s Pre-employment Machinist program prepares you to enter into an apprenticeship with hands-on skills. Upon successfully completing the program, you’ll qualify to challenge the first-year Machinist apprenticeship exam.

Admission requirements

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
  • Science 10


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


Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Entrance Exam

Recommended requirements

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
A woman wearing coveralls and a welding helmet poses for a photograph in a SAIT welding lab.


Once you have begun working as an apprentice, you can attend SAIT to complete your technical training.

You'll register for technical training at SAIT on MyTradeSecrets or you can register by phone.

Transfer agreements

At SAIT, we evaluate post-secondary credit you have previously earned and apply it to your SAIT credential. Explore our formal transfer agreements available for this program.

We can evaluate your prior education, even if we don't have a formal agreement in place.

Submit a transfer credit application

There are no formal transfer agreements currently in place for this program.

Transfer options for graduates

Build on the knowledge you’ve learned at SAIT. The opportunity to advance your education at an accredited post-secondary institution may be available.

🔗 Visit Transfer Alberta search tool for a full list of transfer opportunities within the province.

Thompson Rivers University

Program name
Bachelor of Technology
Available credits:
Upon successful completion of your apprenticeship program, you will be eligible to transfer into the Bachelor of Technology at Thompson Rivers University, provided you meet all other admission criteria and space remains available in the program.

Thompson Rivers University

Program name
Bachelor of Technology: Trades and Technology Leadership
Available credits:
Upon successful completion of your apprenticeship program, you will be eligible to transfer into the Bachelor of Technology: Trades and Technology Leadership at Thompson Rivers University, provided you meet all other admission criteria and space remains available in the program.

Available intakes


2024/25 tuition and fees

The following costs are effective as of July 1, 2024.

The estimated total cost of 2024/25 tuition and fees in each period of technical training.
Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 8 $1,152 $329 $1,481
2 8 $1,152 $329 $1,481
3 8 $1,152 $329 $1,481
4 8 $1,152 $329 $1,481
Total cost:

This is a bring-your-own-device program with a standard computer hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page.

Books or modules, along with other items for classes, are approximately $600 per period.

We recommend you don't 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 (PPE) will be required for the program, which may be an additional cost to apprentices.

A man crosses his arms over planks of wood and smiles at the camera.

Funding options for apprentices

Apprentices get to learn while they earn, but there are still costs to consider. Many resources are available at SAIT and federally to help support apprentices.

Information sessions

Prepare for a strong start in your chosen program or get the details you need to decide your future path.

Our expert staff and faculty are ready to answer your questions and provide information about the following:

  • What sets SAIT apart
  • An introduction to the program and area of study
  • Admission requirements
  • Future career paths
  • Information on the earning potential and graduate employment rates.


Have more questions?

Technical training at SAIT

School of Manufacturing and Automation


Apprenticeship training and registration

Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Services

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Oki, Âba wathtech, Danit'ada, Tawnshi, Hello.

SAIT is located on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of Treaty 7 which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Îyârhe Nakoda of Bearspaw, Chiniki and Goodstoney.

We are situated in an area the Blackfoot tribes traditionally called Moh’kinsstis, where the Bow River meets the Elbow River. We now call it the city of Calgary, which is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.