Overview

Learn how to join or sever metals in beams, girders, vessels, piping and other metal components, make metal parts used in construction and manufacturing plants, and weld parts, tools, machines and equipment.

There are two different specializations for this trade.

Welder 

You'll apply heat to metal pieces to melt and fuse them during your career. The different types of welding include:

  • electric arc welding: heat is created as an electric current flows through an arc between the tip of the welding electrode and the metal
  • gas welding: such as oxy-acetylene welding, the flame from the combustion of burning gases melts the metal
  • resistance welding: the metal piece is melted as current flows through it, and no filler is added.

You'll use different welding processes and fillers depending upon the type of metal, its size and shape and requirements for finished product strength.

For a typical welding project, you'll:

  • develop patterns for projects or follow directions given in layouts, blueprints and work orders
  • clean
  • check for defects and shape parts, sometimes using a cutting torch
  • weld parts together.

You may also build up worn parts by welding layers of high-strength hard-metal alloys onto them.

Welder-Wire Process Operator 

You’ll work primarily in production and manufacturing plants, joining components and sub-assemblies to make various items using various construction materials.

Welding in this branch of the welder trade is restricted to:

  • gas metal arc welding (GMAW),
  • flux cored arc welding (FCAW),
  • submerged arc welding (SAW)
  • other semiautomatic wire feed welding processes.

The welder-wire process operator uses different welding processes and filler metals depending upon the type of metal, its size and shape, and requirements for finished mechanical properties. This one-year specialty shares a common first year with the Welder apprenticeship. 

To work in this trade, certification is required. This means that you must either be a registered apprentice working under the guidance of a certified journeyperson or be a certified journeyperson yourself.

Those who have the following characteristics find greater success in the welding trade:

  • good eye-hand coordination, spatial and form perception, good eyesight, strength and stamina to carry heavy tools and manual dexterity
  • the ability to visualize a finished product from a document
  • the ability to concentrate on detailed work
  • patience, dependability and accuracy
  • the ability to work in a construction or shop environment
  • a commitment to safe working conditions.

Upon successfully completing the required working hours and apprenticeship education periods, graduates will be awarded a diploma in addition to journeyperson status by Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

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

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Careers and opportunities

Apprenticeship training

Depending on the specialization, you'll require one or three periods of apprenticeship education and on-the-job training before becoming a journeyperson.

The term of apprenticeship for a welder is three years (three 12-month periods), including a minimum of 1560 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of classroom instruction each year.

Year 1 | Period 1

You will start by learning workplace safety and tools. You will then learn welding technology and properties of metals, GMAW, FAW, MCAW, SAW and trade math.

Training length: 8 weeks

Year 2 | Period 2

You will learn SMAW level one, GTAW level one, pattern development, estimating, and SMAW level two.

Training length: 8 weeks

Year 3 | Period 3

You will learn SMAW level three, welds on mild steel plate and pipe, drawing interpretation and trade science. Upon completing the apprenticeship program and passing the exam, the apprentice will receive a journeyperson certificate and an educational credential.

Training length: 8 weeks

The term of apprenticeship for a Welder-Wire Process Operator is two years (two 12-month periods) including:

  • a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of classroom instruction in the first year
  • 1800 hours of on-the-job training in the second year.

Year 1 | Period 1

You will start by learning workplace safety and tools. You will then learn welding technology and properties of metals, GMAW, FAW, MCAW, SAW and trade math. Upon completing the apprenticeship program and passing the exam, the apprentice will receive a journeyperson certificate and an educational credential.

Training length: 8 weeks

Year 2 | Period 2

You'll complete 1,800 hours of on-the-job training. No schooling is required. 

Apprenticeship education performance

To succeed in apprenticeship education, you must pass each section of the course and the AIT exam.

The passing grade for each section in a course is 65%. A passing mark on each provincial exam and the interprovincial qualification (or Red Seal Exam) is 70%.

View Alberta's Apprenticeship and Industry Training procedures

 

Training pathways

You can earn your journeyperson designation in the following way.

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. 

Sparks fly as a welding apprentice welds in a welding booth at SAIT.

Pre-employment pathway

SAIT’s Pre-employment Welding 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 Welder apprenticeship exam.

Pre-employment Welding

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

OR

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

OR

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.

MyTradeSecrets

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.

How to register

Available intakes

Costs

2023/24 tuition and fees

The following costs are effective as of July 1, 2023.

Domestic students

Welder

Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 8 $1,056 $319 $1,375
2 8 $1,056 $319 $1,375
3 8 $1,056 $319 $1,375
Total cost:
$4,125

Welder - Wire Process Operator

Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 8 $1,056 $319 $1,375
Total cost:
$1,375

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

It's recommended 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.

Financial aid

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.

Contact

Have more questions?

Technical training at SAIT

School of Manufacturing and Automation

Phone
403.284.8641
Email
ma.info@sait.ca

Apprenticeship training and registration

Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Services

Phone
1.800.248.4823
tradesecrets.alberta.ca