Steamfitter/PipefitterApprenticeship is a great way to develop employable skills while working and earning a paycheck. In fact, apprentices are required to find a job before they go to school.
Medicine Hat College is an excellent destination for technical training in steamfitting - pipefitting because of our exceptional learning environment — an excellent classroom atmosphere and shop experiences that truly prepare you for field training. Your college study periods are eight weeks long, allowing you to build theoretical knowledge and more advanced practical skills. This apprenticeship program requires you to attend college once a year for four years. On the job, you’ll typically work under the direction of a journeyperson who provides instruction as you gain experience.
The successful journeyperson will be competently trained to read and interpret blue prints, and assemble, maintain and repair piping systems that carry steam, water and a variety of chemicals. These piping systems are used for many processes, including heating, cooling and lubricating. Journeyperson in the pipe trades also maintain and repair existing systems which need properly scheduled maintenance in order to run efficiently.
Upon completion of a steamfitter - pipefitter apprenticeship, you have the option to obtain Journeyperson status in either Welding or Gasfitting "B" with only two additional years of training. This will give steamfitter - pipefitter apprentices the potential to become dual ticketed, as well as gain the experience to advance to supervisory positions such as foreman, subcontractor, and construction superintendent.
Your employment in this trade may include both indoor and outdoor work at physically demanding tasks that often require climbing. You would typically work approximately 40 hours a week, with overtime sometimes required to meet construction deadlines. Construction contractors may require employees to travel and live in rented accommodation or at a company "on-site" camp.
Steamfitter/Pipefitter is one of the most diverse and self-satisfying careers in the trades. Because of their extensive technical and hands-on training, Alberta trained Journeyperson are considered to be the most highly trained in North America. This opens up many worldwide job opportunities.
The first step to becoming an apprentice is finding a job in the trade you would like to study. This is like any other job search, except you are looking for an employer who is willing to hire you as an apprentice in a trade. Once you have found employment, you can complete the Apprenticeship Application and Contract. This will allow you to be accepted as an apprentice tradesperson. Access the form at www.tradesecrets.alberta.ca.
After your application has been accepted, you will begin training with your employer and are now eligible to register for training at Medicine Hat College. You will then be sent an information package from the college on how to proceed with your registration.
You and your employer will sign a contract. Before signing the contract, read it carefully to know your obligations and responsibilities and those of your employer. Once signed, the contract must be delivered to Apprenticeship and Industry Training. An identification card, course outline booklet and, for most trades, an apprenticeship record book are issued to you. At this point, your apprenticeship training begins.
Attending Technical Training Classes
A notice to attend technical training will be sent about two months before classes begin. Class schedules are posted at www.tradesecrets.alberta.ca. Registration for your technical training must be arranged through Medicine Hat College in the appropriate trades program.
Steamfitter – pipefitters are employed by pipeline construction contractors and sub-contractors, thermal or steam generating plants, manufacturers, utility companies, oil refineries, gas plants, pulp mills and chemical plants. Employment prospects change with seasonal and economic climates.
Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $26.50 to $37.68 an hour plus benefits.
Experienced steamfitter – pipefitters may advance to supervisory positions such as foreman, sub-contractor, contractor and construction superintendent.
You will be awarded an Alberta Completion of Apprenticeship Certificate when you successfully complete all requirements of your apprenticeship contract. In addition to and depending on the trade, you will receive a Journeyperson certification.
Trades eligible for an Interprovincial Red Seal Certificate have an additional exam to write and upon successful completion of the exam, the seal is affixed to the Journeyperson certificate when issued.
In the province of Alberta, there are two kinds of regulated trades.
- Compulsory Certification Must be either a journeyperson or apprentice to work in the trade as legislated under the Alberta Industry and Training Act.
- Optional Certification Trades training is offered but optional.
You must write an Apprenticeship and Trade Certification exam at the end of each technical training class. The passing mark is 70%. If you do not pass, you may be offered an apprenticeship supplemental exam. You must take the course again if you do not pass the supplemental exam.
To progress from one training period to the next and get a wage increase, you must
- pass the apprenticeship exam.
- receive an acceptable mark in the course.
- obtain the required number of hours of work experience.
- receive a satisfactory report from your employer.
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