Millwrights install, maintain, repair and troubleshoot stationary industrial machinery and mechanical equipment in sites such as factories, production plants and recreational facilities.

NOC Number(s):7311
Minimum Education:Apprenticeship Trade
Employment Outlook:Job openings generated due to employment turnover. Occupational outlook currently unavailable.
Interests:O I M

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Duties | Working Conditions | Personal Characteristics | Education | Employment | Salary | Other Information | Related Occupations | Related School Subjects | Related Field of Study


On a typical job, millwrights:

  • read diagrams and schematic drawings and service manuals to determine work procedures
  • operate rigging equipment and dollies to move heavy machinery and parts
  • fit bearings, align gears and shafts, attach motors, and connect couplings and belts to precise tolerances
  • align and test equipment and make any necessary adjustments
  • perform predictive and operational maintenance using procedures such as vibration analysis, and repair or replace defective parts when necessary
  • service and repair hydraulic, pneumatic and programmable logic controls
  • may do some fabrication and tack welding (to temporarily hold components in place until they can be welded by qualified personnel) as well as maintain an inventory of replacement parts.

Millwrights may do primarily construction work, plant maintenance or a combination of both types of work. They often work in close association with other trades people such as machinists, instrument mechanics, welders, electricians and pipefitters.

Working Conditions

Working conditions vary from one job to another. On construction job sites, millwrights are exposed to a variety of weather conditions. In plant maintenance, they may work indoors and outdoors. Hours of work also vary: shift work and some overtime may be required.

The work environment may be noisy and there is some risk of injury when working with heavy machinery. Millwrights may be required to lift and move items that weigh over 20 kilograms.

Personal Characteristics

Millwrights need the following characteristics:

  • physical strength and stamina
  • good co-ordination and manual dexterity
  • the ability to visualize a layout by looking at plans and blueprints
  • the ability to trouble-shoot mechanical systems
  • the ability to get along with and sometimes supervise the work of others.

They should enjoy variety and doing precision work with machinery and equipment.

Educational Requirements

To work in Alberta, a millwright must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • an Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate  
  • someone who works for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of certified journeyperson
  • self-employed.

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 20-2, Math 20-3 and Science 10, or equivalent, or pass an entrance exam.
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates. Courses in applied math and physics are particularly important. 

The term of apprenticeship is four years (four 12 month periods) that include a minimum of 1,560 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of technical training each year. High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for credit or certification.

Millwright apprentices may take the interprovincial exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training to earn a Red Seal (certification recognized in most parts of Canada).

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and is currently offered at:

  • Grande Prairie Regional College
  • Keyano College in Fort McMurray
  • the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton 
  • Red Deer College 
  • the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary.

NAIT also offers technical training by distance delivery.

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.

Pre-employment programs for prospective apprentices and continuing education programs for journeypersons may be offered on an as needed basis by the institution(s) listed above or other schools.

Section revised May 2012

Employment and Advancement

Millwrights are employed by manufacturing, processing and construction companies as well as places such as amusement parks and ski hills. Those employed in construction may experience periods of unemployment.

Millwrights are exposed to the duties involved in a variety of other trades, and therefore can be good candidates for promotion to supervisory and superintendent positions. Alberta certified journeyperson millwrights who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Millwrights are part of the larger National Occupational Classification 7311: Construction Millwrights and Industrial Mechanics (Except Textile). In Alberta, 80 per cent of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Section revised November 2013


Journeyperson wage rates vary but generally range from $20.09 to $30.49 an hour plus benefits (2009 figures). Apprentice millwrights earn at least 60 per cent of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 70 per cent in the second, 80 per cent in the third and 90 per cent in the fourth.

According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Construction Millwrights and Industrial Mechanics (Except Textile) occupational group earned on average from $27.22 to $38.34 an hour. The mean wage for this group was $33.97 an hour.

For more detailed information, see WAGEinfo.

Section revised February 2012

Other Sources of Information

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website:

Alberta Construction Industry "Trade Up!" website:

Calgary Construction Association website:

Section revised February 2013

Related Occupational Profiles
Natural Gas Compression Technician
Plastics Processing Technician

Related High School Subjects
Science; and Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation (Fabrication)

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
Trades, Industrial and Related Training

Produced June 2009
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For more information on career planning, occupations and educational programs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website at, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

The information contained in this profile was current as of the dates shown. Salaries, employment outlook and educational programs may change. Please check the information before making any career decisions.

Government of Alberta, Human Services