Preparing for a Skilled Trades career

The trades industry is always in need of skilled professionals, but without prior experience, it can be difficult to decide which trade to pursue. Pre-trades programs at Ontario colleges expose students to a variety of skilled trades by providing hands-on experience in each, so students can familiarize themselves with [or become familiar with] what the industry has to offer. After completion of these programs, students have a better idea of which skilled trade program to pursue and which career path is the right choice.

If you’re interested in the trades and want to get more experience before starting on your skilled trades career path, here’s what you need to know.

Pre-Trades Courses

Pre-trades programs give students a well-rounded look at the skills and techniques used across a variety of skilled trades. A sample of courses may include:

  • Construction. Students will learn basic techniques in construction and will learn to operate the hand and power tools used in the trade.
  • Electrical. Students will study the codes and safety practices governing electrical circuitry and will have the opportunity to practice electrical installations.
  • Machining. Students will be trained on a variety of machines and equipment used in machining and manufacturing, and will also learn to build parts and service the equipment.

Additional skilled trades covered may include carpentry, plumbing, welding and more. Students will also learn broader skills, such as mathematics for the trades, drafting and blueprint reading, employment readiness and more.

Note: Some Ontario colleges will combine pre-trades and pre-technology programs into one for further career exploration into both industries.

General Pre-Trades Program Requirements

Ontario college pre-trades programs typically require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent. Additional academic requirements will vary by program, but may include a grade 12 English or mathematics credits.

Pre-Trades Jobs and Salaries

After completing a pre-trade program, graduates are eligible to assume entry-level positions or begin apprenticeships in a skilled trade. More often, however, graduates continue their education in the skilled trades program of their choice.

Ontario Colleges Offering Pre-Trades Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of pre-trades programs at Ontario colleges.

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