If you desire a career where you will be working on the leading edge in production while doing creative work with machinery that requires precise skill and accuracy, you will enjoy working as a machinist. You will set up and operate precision metal cutting and grinding machines such as lathes, milling machines, drills and grinders to make and repair products made from metals, plastics, rubber textiles, fibreglass and space age alloys.
You will work according to very precise specifications. When there are no prints or other specifications, you’ll determine dimensions by logic or by measuring samples using instruments such as micrometers and calipers. Electronic instruments have digital readouts and require the operator to program them for use. Throughout a project, you will study specifications, charts, drawings or sample parts to determine the machining operation to be performed, calculate dimensions and tolerances, and prepare working sketches if necessary, measure and mark metal and other materials, set up and operate tools, which may be computer numerically controlled, to perform precision machining operations, and fit parts to mechanisms and verify dimensions.
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.
Start your career by finding an employer who is willing to indenture you as an apprentice or gain experience with our Machinist Technician program.
As a machinist, you will work in job or production shops. In job shops, you will make a wide variety of repair parts for different types of machinery and industrial equipment in different situations. In production shops, you will produce parts using mass production methods including CNC machining and other tools. You will likely work in a fast-paced environment. In Alberta, small production runs are more typical. Almost all work shops will have art machines or machines where technology is required and will work in a noisy or dusty environment. Your day will include a lot of standing as you work on different projects.
As a journeyperson, you will likely make a wage between $28 - $34 an hour depending on your employer.
After becoming a journeyperson, you may advance to positions such as quality assurance managers, engineers, lead hands and supervisors. Some journeypersons go on to run their own businesses – we can help you build your business with our Blue Seal business certificate.
Students who have the following characteristics see greater success in the machining trade:
- The desire to learn new technology and production trends
- The ability to use your hands skillfully and quickly
- Mechanical ability
- The ability to estimate and measure size and lengths accurately and do precise work
- The ability to work independently at tasks that require a high level of concentration and physical effort
- The stamina to stand for long periods of time
- 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. Machinists are a Red Seal Endorsed trade – a recognizable standard that allows tradespeople to work across 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.
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
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.
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.
Apprentices in the machinist trade will spend 4 years (four 12-month periods) of on-the-job training and technical training at SAIT. Technical training will be 8 weeks each year.
|Find an employer willing to indenture you as an apprentice|
|Apply as an apprentice with AIT and your employer|
|Sign contract and recieve record book|
|Written entrance examination or get approved for previous transcripts|
|Complete first period of on-the-job-training (1560 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend first period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass first period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete second period of on-the-job training (1560 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend second period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass second period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete third period of on-the-job training (1560 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend third period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass third period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete fourth period of on-the-job training (1560 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend fourth period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass fourth period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Become a Journeyperson|
|Write and pass the Interprovincial Qualification Exam|
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%.
Domestic tuition and fees*
|Period||Tuition fees||SAIT fees||Saitsa fees||Lab & Material fees||2020/21 total|
Student support fee: $25
Student technology fee: $25
Books and supplies*
- 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.
Membership to the SAIT Wellness centre - including an ice arena, swimming/diving pool, gymnasium, squash and racquetteball courts and eight room is available to apprentices at a discounted rate.
Financial planning tool
Our apprenticeship cost calculator can help you make a financial plan by identifying and adding up your expected expenses while attending SAIT — find out exactly how much money you need to save, seek or borrow to get you through your studies.