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Heritage Carpentry

Refine your carpentry skills in the areas of renovation, restoration and preservation of historic buildings.

A woodworking tool sits on a wooden table; it's surrounded by wood shavings.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
2 Years

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The demand for carpenters is growing, and the need for special training in the areas of restoration and renovation is growing even faster.

After learning basic carpentry skills, you get the unique skills required for the more rigorous tasks used in renovations and the preservation of historic buildings. For example, you're taught how to use recycled materials and frame a roof without using pre-made trusses.

Quality and craftsmanship are the cornerstones of the program.

Work experience

  • Work placement is a mandatory credit course, providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
    • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work placements are your responsibility.
  • This program is eligible for an optional cooperative education (co-op) credit course between year one and two.
    • Co-op placements provide the opportunity for paid, full-time work in a field related to your program. Opportunities typically last 12 to 16 weeks.
    • Our co-op program follows Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) guidelines.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • Your first year of study takes place at Lunenburg Campus in Bridgewater. In your second year, you'll also have opportunities to apply your skills to heritage projects located in communities throughout Lunenburg County.
  • Learn from faculty, who bring hands-on industry experience to the classroom.
  • This program places a high importance on providing you with skills and knowledge to work safely in industry. To prepare for employment, you participate in safety awareness courses.

Other info

  • Some travel is required and varies based on your specific program plan. Additional costs include meals and accommodation.
  • Many employers in this industry require a current, official criminal record check as part of the hiring process. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to secure employment.

2022-23 programs

Program delivery may be subject to change based on Public Health guidelines.

September 2022

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Lunenburg Campus Bridgewater Full time In-class In-classDelivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Seats available

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country. View details

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


2022-23 tuition will be announced in the late Spring once approved by the government of Nova Scotia. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional. Amounts below were for the 2021-22 academic year.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Graduates are employed in many areas of the carpenter trade, particularly in sophisticated renovation and historic preservation project work.
  • Learn more about labour market information. Visit Career Options

Future study options

  • This program is a first step towards certification in the Carpenter trade. To become certified, you must register as an apprentice with Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency (NSAA). Once registered, you can transfer credit from this program towards your apprenticeship.
  • Certification with a Red Seal – Carpenter is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Graduates who complete an apprenticeship program in this trade are eligible to write the provincial certification exam, receive their certification and Red Seal. The Red Seal allows certified tradespersons to practise the trade in any province or territory in Canada – where the trade is designated – without having to write further examinations.
  • Continue your studies at university – This program includes courses that count towards a university degree. Find out more

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you can apply to earn credit. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

CARP 1010 - Construction Safety
This course is designed to provide an overview of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) as applied to the carpentry trade as well as the knowledge and skills that will allow the learners to work safely. This course includes Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS) and construction-specific safety regulations (fall protection, scaffolding). This course emphasizes the need to wear personal protection equipment and the importance of safe use and maintenance of equipment.

CARP 1011 - Tools I (Hand Tools)
This course is designed to teach the selection, safe use and care for a wide-variety of hand tools and non-powered equipment. Also included will be the use of fasteners and wood joints as used to securely join materials in carpentry projects. The application of safe work habits and good housekeeping in a workshop setting will be included.

CARP 1012 - Tools II (Portable Power Tools)
This course is designed to teach the safe operation and maintenance of common portable power tools utilized in the carpentry trade.

CARP 1013 - Foundations I (Site Layout)
This course is designed to include the fundamental principles of site layout, the theory of basic footing forms and foundations. Safe excavation practices will be emphasized and covered in detail.

CARP 1016 - Foundations II (Forms and Footings)
This course is designed to introduce basic footing forms and theory of foundations. Building on CARP 1016 (Foundations I (Site Layout)), this course will examine form construction and estimation of quantities is included. Energy efficient principles will be discussed.

CARP 1017 - Tools III (Stationary Power Tools)
This course is designed to cover the safe and efficient operation of the stationary power tools used in the carpentry trade. Learners will be evaluated on safe practices and accuracy in the use of this equipment.

CARP 1023 - Construction Mathematics and Estimating I
This course is designed to reinforce basic mathematical skills and introduce mathematical concepts and operations used in the construction trades. Course material provides a basic and broad overview of estimating materials. The necessary calculations will be introduced as the course progresses.

CARP 1100 - Work Experience I
The work experience component provides the learner with an opportunity to apply new skills and concepts appropriate for entry-level positions within the occupation. Learners will assess their own performance and be evaluated by an industry partner. Learners will identify personal outcomes they wish to attain during the work experience and will keep a journal.

CARP 1201 - Framing I
This course is designed to enable the learner to layout and assemble floor, deck, and wall systems. Energy efficient principles will be discussed.

CARP 1202 - Framing II
In this course, the learner is provided with the theory and practical experience required to layout and frame and interior partitions. Learners will become familiar with procedures for both loadbearing and nonloadbearing walls. An introduction to roof framing systems is also provided.

CARP 3001 - Blueprint Interpretation Skills
This course is designed to enable the learner to determine the location, size, shape, and type of materials required for residential buildings. Learners will also be able to sketch drawings using trade symbols and interpret basic orthographic and isometric presentations.

COMM 1227 - Communications I
This course provides the student with an overview of the communication skills required by business and industry. Students will learn to apply these communication skills to be successful in their selected workplace setting.

COMM 1228 - Communications II
This course further develops essential communications skills with a focus on basic writing. This course provides the student with the opportunity to develop written work typical of the industry related to their program of study.

HCAR 1006 - History of Residential Architecture in Nova Scotia
With the renewed interest in the perseveration of historically-significant buildings it has become incumbent upon the restoration carpenter to possess a working familiarity with the broad characteristics of architectural styles. This course will focus on the study of architectural styles as they appear in our local landscape and they relate to the skills of the working carpenter.

HCAR 1009 - Conservation and Restoration Methods
There are many reasons why we should seek to preserve our heritage buildings; economic and environmental concerns being not the least. The major motivation however is that these buildings represent a tangible connection to our past. This projects based course will focus on an overview of strategies and approaches used in the preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of the carpentry related elements of historically significant buildings. The main thrust of the learning will be centred on learner generated research through the use of assigned projects and fieldwork.

HCAR 1010 - Timber Framing and Log Construction
In this course, learners will be exposed to the rudimentary principles of timber frame and log building techniques within the context of perseveration and conservation approaches. Building upon the carpentry skills accrued in previous courses, learners will investigate the structural and historical implications of working with this style of framing.

HCAR 1012 - Stair Construction
This course will provide the learner with theory and skills required to build, install, and repair the various components of common stairs.

HCAR 1013 - Window Construction
This course will focus on the strategies of repair, maintenance and rehabilitation of older wooden windows which will extend the useful life of the window components and enhance the energy conservation properties of the window system.

HCAR 1014 - Door Construction
The study of doors and door systems is an investigation into function and form. In this course the learner will gain an appreciation of the decorative, structural, security and energy conservation concerns as they relate to historical context.

HCAR 1015 - Interior Trim
Wall, ceiling and floor coverings when combined with trims and anchoring elements such as cabinetry and mantles compose the interior character of a building. This course will focus on the repair, reproduction and installation of the interior carpentry elements of period buildings.

HCAR 1016 - Roofs and Roofing
Roof slope, profile, and proportion to wall surface are major contributors to the overall form of a building. In this course the learner will gain the theoretical and practical principals of roof geometry and roof coverings as they pertain to conservation and restoration approaches.

HCAR 1019 - Exterior Finishes and Trim
This course will focus on the architectural features that contribute to a building’s overall character.

HCAR 1020 - Introduction to Standards and Guidelines
This course introduces the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, along with other documentation that relates to the process of identifying, evaluating and designating historic and other heritage construction which may include buildings, architectural sites, landscapes and engineering works.

HCAR 1021 - Sustainability and Environmental Applications
This course engages the learner in the practice of environmental responsibility and the growing need to live more sustainably, applied on a personal, community and global level. The environmental component will focus on climate change, ecosystems, biodiversity, energy, air quality, water quality and other emerging areas. The cultural and fiscal indicators of sustainability will be explored in appropriate contexts and levels of detail. Scenarios and solutions are explored at the individual, societal and global levels, ranging from behaviour change to technological solutions. This course will utilize inductive teaching and learning consisting mainly of project based learning. Learners will have the opportunity to participate and collaborate with other learners and experts through a variety of delivery methods.

HCAR 1022 - Building Assessment
This course is an introductory overview of building assessment aspects. It introduces learners to the various elements of a building that different “authorities having jurisdiction” would evaluate when inspecting a building.

HCAR 1200 - Heritage Carpentry Communications I
This course introduces technical documentation and applied research skills in conjunction with the core carpentry courses. A major focus will be on gaining an understanding of the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. Career planning, professional development, portfolio preparation as learners prepare for work terms.

HCAR 1300 - Heritage Carpentry Communications II
This course continues the development of the learner’s technical documentation, applied research skills, and project planning in conjunction with the core carpentry courses. A major focus will be on applying knowledge related to documentation and project development in the context of the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. Career planning, professional development, portfolio preparation as learners prepare for work terms.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

SAFE 1020 - Introduction to Confined Space
The learner is introduced to the basic requirements and procedures involved with confined spaces. The definition and associated hazards of confined space are discussed as well as methods of confined space rescue. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1021 - Introduction to Hazard Identification
The learners are introduced to the types of hazards encountered in workplaces and the approach that should be followed when recommending and implementing appropriate controls. Two key elements of Hazard Identification are addressed: Hazard Assessment and Inspection. The Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act is discussed. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1023 - Introduction to Lock-out Tag Out
Lock-out Tag Out introduces the learner to the hazards related to energized systems and procedures to ensure worker safety. Related legislation and risk management is discussed and the learner is exposed to the various types of lock-out devices. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1024 - Introduction to Respiratory Protection
The learner is introduced to the potential of atmospheric hazards in the workplace and the available personal protection and control methods to maintain a safe work environment. Discussion includes identification and testing for atmospheric hazards and workplace respiratory programs. The learner will be given the opportunity to select, use and maintain respiratory equipment. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1025 - Certified Fall Arrest and Protection
This course provides participants with an understanding of the hazards associated with working from heights and compliance with Workplace Health and Safety Regulations (2013). Throughout the course, participants will gain experience in the donning of a harness, an overview and presentation of system components involved when working from heights and learn how to complete a fall calculation and emergency procedures.

WORK 1100 - Workplace Mentoring I
This unit of instruction is designed to assist learners in managing their learning as an apprentice in the workplace. Learners will study their own experiences with learning new skills and identify their own learning preferences as an aid to developing learning strategies.

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