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Why Electricians Want to be Red Seal Certified in 2023

By: Ronda Payne

Published On: January 1, 2023

A Red Seal Certified Electrician works on wiring in a new building

Electricians are tradespeople the modern world couldn’t do without. Imagine what life would be like without all of the lights, power and wiring we require.

Industrial vs. Construction Electrician Overview

There are different requirements for electricians depending on where in Canada you want to work and what type of electrical work you want to do.

Construction electricians install and maintain the electrical systems in buildings.

“Construction electricians plan, assemble, install, alter, repair, inspect, verify, commission, operate and maintain electrical systems. Electrical systems provide heating, lighting, power, security, communication and control in residential, commercial, institutional, industrial and entertainment environments.”

And an industrial electrician is defined as:

“Industrial electricians install, maintain, test, troubleshoot, service and repair industrial electrical equipment and associated electrical controls. Their work includes equipment or components directly or indirectly exposed to electrical power such as motors, generators, pumps and lighting systems.”

Regardless of what kind of electrician you want to be, the Canadian Government offers apprenticeship grants for many trades.

Is a Red Seal Electrician Certificate Mandatory?

Electricians in BC can work without Red Seal Certification, but having a Red Seal Certificate comes with a number of advantages.

While becoming Red Seal Certified is optional, some employers may require it. The provincial or territorial certification is necessary to work as an electrician.

The Benefits of Being a Red Seal Certified Electrician

  • Allows journeyperson electricians to train apprentices in the trade
  • Shows excellence in training and skills to potential employers or clients
    • Telling a client that you have a provincial/territorial certificate of qualification as well as Red Seal Certification makes a strong impact
  • May allow for a higher salary
  • May allow those running their own business to attract higher quality candidates for job openings
  • Gives the electrician a sense of pride in their occupational accomplishments
  • Gives electricians flexibility in the ability to work throughout Canada

If you have Red Seal Certification, you do not need to become certified in another province or territory. This certification is recognized all across Canada. If you are moving to a new province or territory and have a Red Seal endorsement as an electrician, you only need to contact that region's apprenticeship and certification office in order to have your qualifications recognized.

How to Become a Red Seal Electrician

Electrician Apprenticeship

When you start your career as an electrician, you are an apprentice. An apprenticeship is when someone who wants to learn a trade agrees to work with an employer. They will learn while they earn money and work towards becoming a certified journeyperson. This includes both on-site training and learning about the trade from other people.

Generally, the classroom/technical learning begins after about a year of on-site experience.

Some electricians choose to specialize in a certain area. For example, they might focus on panels, wiring, pumps, heating and cooling, etc. There are two types of electricians: electricians and industrial electricians. Some people choose to get certified in both areas, but it is a good idea to only do one program at a time because it takes a lot of education and experience to pass the exams. Especially when one considers just how important properly working electrical is for houses, businesses or an entire power grid.

Electrician Journeyperson

If an apprentice has completed all four levels of apprenticeship training and the required job site hours, they are eligible for a provincial or territorial Certificate of Apprenticeship. This certificate makes them a journeyperson. This process usually takes about four or five years.

They can then also apply and take the exam to become a certified journeyman in the construction electrician and/or industrial electrician trade(s). If they pass, they can add the Red Seal certification to their provincial (or territory) electrician trade certificate.

Electrician journeypersons can work on their own with electrical systems, but apprentices need someone to help them and check their work. Often, when an electrician arrives at a job, they will have one or more employees with them. The other employees may be in various levels of apprenticeship, but the journeyperson must take the time from their tasks to make sure the apprentice work is being done correctly.

Red Seal Electrician

Electricians who have 8,340 hours of documented directly-related trade work experience can challenge the Red Seal exam. This is just like provincial and territorial certification exams that can be challenged by those with a certain amount of on-job experience.

Working as an electrician is hard work. You need to know a lot about how buildings and electrical systems work. Electricians need to be able to fix problems with wiring, and they can do this by getting Red Seal certification.

Red Seal Exam Preparation Guide

Some people need structure when they study. They also need someone to answer their questions. If you don't have a mentor, you can look into an education provider that offers a red seal exam preparation. These courses provide ongoing assignments, structured sessions, interaction with instructors and others and the ability to review all the material that may be on the exam and determine the areas you need to apply more study time.

The Red Seal Exam Preparation Guide is helpful because it tells you what to expect from the exam. It also tells you what to bring and the format of the exam. You can use this guide if you are a self-study type and can stay focused. In the guide, you will also find out about ways to deal with exam stress and when you can expect the results (up to four weeks after writing the exam). You will also learn how to show your certification to others.

How Will I Be Tested on a Red Seal Exam?

There are different exams for each of the electrician Red Seal trades. But both exams have the same information to study. The basis for the exams is the occupation’s National Occupational Analysis (NOA) or the newer Red Seal Occupational Standard (RSOS), introduced in 2015. This system describes occupations and outlines the major areas of expertise which are being tested during the Red Seal exam.

The Red Seal website provides all the latest information about electrician exams. You can find information about the exam format, what to expect in the test, and how to prepare. There is also a list of job openings so you can see what kinds of jobs are available in this field.

Red Seal construction electrician exam consists of 100 questions in 5 categories. The questions are related to the following major work activities:

  • Installs
  • Services
  • Maintains wiring systems
  • Generating distribution and service systems
  • Motors and control systems
  • Signaling and communication systems
  • Common occupational tasks

The exam preparation guide has a detailed breakdown of questions and provides samples for self-assessment.

Red Seal industrial electrician exam has 100 questions in 6 categories.

The major work activities are outlines as follows:

  • Installs
  • Services
  • Maintains wiring systems
  • Generating distribution and service systems
  • Wiring systems
  • Process control systems,
  • Rotating and non-rotating equipment and control
  • Signaling and communication systems
  • Common occupational tasks

Although, some areas are similar with other types of electricians, you should remember that you will be tested on your specialization.


    View All Comments

  1. Vipul Patel says:

    Dear Sir,

    I have passed Inter province Red Seal Industrial Electrician exam from ITA BC with 76%. I am from India and being Indian I am facing problem to find the job on base of this certification.I have applied many Canada Job site but they are not considering my application as I am from India.
    Anticipating your guidance for finding job in Canada.



    • Maria Bychkova says:

      Hi Vipul,
      Unfortunately, we cannot provide any specific resources for job search. Red Seal gives you an opportunity to move across the country and look for a job in any province / territory without having to get additional certification. Please also try to reach out to ITA BC, maybe they can help you get an internship or find a mentor who can guide you through job search strategies. Thank you!

  2. Abdul Wali says:

    I am going to apply for 309a liecence online .
    what is the pocedure for.?

  3. I like to have a red seal certificate electrician

  4. Nishil says:

    Hi I’m electrical+electronics+Instrumentation and control engineer from out side Canada .
    I have a 14 years of experience in above stated field .
    Now I’m going to give a red seal examination ,if it is possible to get a copy of Free material from your college For giving an examination ?

    Waiting for your reference…….

  5. Khantha Kumar Rama says:

    If I have Electrical diploma in Singapore can I be red seal electrical.person in Canada?

    I have more than ten years Electrical e9in singapore.

  6. Khushpreet singh says:

    Hello I have passed 3 year electrical engg. Diploma from India and have 2year 5 month electrician experience. Now I am studing electrical engg. Technician power program at Mohawk college. After finish my study can I eligable for red seal industrial electrician test???

  7. Isaac Welch says:

    I believe there should professional certificate are need to professional electrician. Thanks for sharing these wonderful information with us.

  8. Hudson says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. A good electrician have knowledge and solution of electrical faults. You gave a good knowledge about electricians. keep updated with new more ideas with us.

  9. Fatunmise Adekunle Matthew says:

    am from Nigeria can I apply for this on line as a international student,thanks.

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