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Metal Fabrication

Build, assemble and repair products made of steel and other metals for use in a wide variety of industries.

A welder works in a welding shop.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
2 Years

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Metal fabricators turn blueprints into bridges, ships, boilers and girders. Working with welders, they turn raw steel into components for the manufacturing and transportation industries, as well as major infrastructure projects.

This program provides you with the knowledge and skills required to enter the metal fabrication and plating industry. You learn to repair metal parts and structures, fabricate components and apply safe work practices using various welding and cutting equipment and fabrication techniques. You also get experience with layout practices, blueprint reading and planning and preparing jobs.

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

  • We've worked with industry to ensure the program provides students with the specialized skills employers require. The job forecast for Metal Fabrication Fitters is very strong.
  • Faculty have years of experience in the metal fabrication industry and a strong desire to see you succeed; many students look to them as mentors.
  • 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

  • Industrial safety standards require that you have adequate vision and colour perception to operate safely, in the shop and in the field, while performing the tasks.
  • 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.

2023-24 programs

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

September 2023

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Akerley Campus Dartmouth Full time In person Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Seats available
Marconi Campus Sydney Full time In person Delivered 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.


Tuition amounts are for the 2022-23 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional. 2023-24 tuition will be announced in the late Spring.

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 work in a wide variety of industries and companies, including structural steel and manufacturing plants, heavy machinery, construction and shipbuilding.
  • Learn more about labour market information. Visit Career Options

Future study options

  • This program is a first step towards certification in the Metal Fabricator (Fitter) 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 – Metal Fabricator (Fitter) is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Graduates who complete an apprenticeship program in this trade are eligible to write the inter-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 may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

CADD 1000 - AutoCAD Level I
In this introduction to Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) software, students gain knowledge in the use and principles of Computer Aided Drafting. The primary emphasis is the application of AutoCAD®, an industry-standard Computer Aided Drafting software program. Specific hardware used in the CAD environment is introduced and utilized.

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.

MATH 1016 - Math I
In this course, the learner will improve math skills to a level required for entering the workforce. The course concentrates on the skills that will allow the learner to efficiently solve equations and formulas encountered in industry, these will include: fractions, decimals, metric measurements and problem solving. This course emphasizes practical problem solving while it attempts to increase overall competency in mathematics.

MATH 2000 - Math II
In this course, learners will cover; area, volume, circumference, and weights of various geometric shapes, problem-solving using tables of roots, trig functions, and orientation using angular measure.

MFPL 2100 - Blueprint Reading III
This course expands on Blueprint Reading I and II and allows learners to apply the information in the interpretation of marine drawings and pressure vessel drawings used in industry by metal fabricators.

MFPL 2200 - Layout and Fabrication III
This course reviews the knowledge and skills required to transfer patterns to plate introduced in Layout and Fabrication I and II. Layout and Fabrication III allows learners to be introduced to more advanced shop equipment operations including sawing, plate bending, rolling and shearing, threading operations and pipe bending. These advanced operations will be applied in the shop to pressure vessel and structural steel fabrication projects.

MFPL 2300 - Rigging and Material Handling II
This course will expand upon skills gained in Rigging and Material Handling I, covering advanced rigging techniques and tools used specifically in the field of metal fabrication. The learner will demonstrate safe use of overhead crane and rigging hardware. Inspection of rigging and safe work practices will be stressed.

MFPL 2400 - Marine Applications
Using skills gained in Blueprint Reading and Layout and Fabrication courses, Marine Applications will show learners how to apply these skills within the marine industry. This course will introduce the learner to marine terminology, fitting and fabricating techniques with an emphasis on production standards and accuracy.

MFPL 3000 - Blueprint Reading IV
Blueprint Reading IV is an advanced level blueprint reading course for learners that have experience or previous courses in reading and sketching plans. This course will allow learners to gain specific training in the application of structural, pressure vessel and piping drawings.

MFPL 3100 - Work Experience
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.

MFPL 3200 - Semi-Auto Wire (4-Pos Fillet)
This course is designed to further the learner`s knowledge and skills of Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) and Flux-core Arc Welding (FCAW) processes in the Semi-Auto Wire Welding Processes I course. Within this course, the learner will be introduced to vertical and overhead welding as well as aluminium welding.

MFPL 3210 - Intro to Metallurgical Principles and Heat Distortion
This course builds on the properties of metals outlined in the first year and introduces learners to the effects of temperature on metals. Method of controlling heat distortion will be covered and learners will have the opportunity to apply the principles in a workshop setting.

MFPL 3220 - Layout and Fabrication IV
This course builds on the knowledge and skills required to transfer patterns to plate introduced in earlier courses. More advanced operations will be applied in the shop to structural steel fabrication projects.

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 - Safety Basics – Restricted Spaces
The learner is introduced to the basic requirements and procedures involved with working in restricted spaces. The definition and potential hazards of restricted spaces are discussed The course material is infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1021 - Safety Basics – 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 1022 - Safety Basics – Working at Heights
The student is introduced to hazards and responsibilities concerned with working at heights in the workplace. Guardrails, travel restraints, roof work, fall arrest components will be 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 - Safety Basics – Lock-out Tag Out
Lock-out Tag Out introduces students to the hazards related to energized systems and procedures to ensure worker safety. Related legislation and risk management is discussed and the student 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 - Safety Basics – Respiratory Protection
This course introduces students to the potential of atmospheric hazards in the workplace and the available personal protection and control methods to maintain a safe work environment. Discussion topics include identification and testing for atmospheric hazards and workplace respiratory programs. 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.

WEMF 1000 - Safety Fundamentals
In this course, the learner will demonstrate the use of trade tools. The learner will also cover the principles of the Occupational Health and Safety Act as it relates to industry.

WEMF 1100 - Oxy-Fuel Processes
This course introduces the learner to the set-up, assembly, disassembly and operation of oxy-fuel cutting and welding equipment. This course will also include storage, handling, identification and transporting of cylinders.

WEMF 1200 - Shielded Metal Arc Welding I
This course is designed to introduce the learner to the Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) process. The learner will identify, SMAW equipment, consumables and apply codes and standards including CSA W117.2. The learner will perform fillet and full penetration groove welds in the flat position. The learner will also perform an open root weld in the flat position using F3 - F4 type electrodes.

WEMF 1300 - Blueprint Reading I
This is an introductory course in basic blueprint reading. This course includes the identification of commonly used blueprint lines, drawings, dimensioning systems and welding symbols. Learners will be required to practice basic sketching techniques that assists in the interpretation of drawings and specifications.

WEMF 1400 - Rigging and Material Handling I
In this course the learners will learn safe operating procedures and practices for material handling. This course will give the learner the opportunity to select and use rigging hardware, learners will demonstrate knowledge of safe work practices as defined by industry standards.

WEMF 1500 - Portfolio Work Experience
This course provides learners with the opportunity to engage with local industry and become familiar with jobsite conditions and requirements.

WEMF 2000 - Semi-Automatic Wire Welding Processes I
This course is designed to introduce the learner to the Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) and Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) processes. Information on electrode types, shielding gases and power sources will be covered.

WEMF 2100 - Blueprint Reading II
This course includes the identification of commonly used blueprint terms and welding symbols. Learners will be required to practice material identification and interpretation of drawings and specifications.

WEMF 2200 - Layout and Fabrication I
The course introduces the skills required to transfer patterns to plate, layout, fabricate and assemble the required piece.

WEMF 2300 - Shielded Metal Arc Welding II
The learner will identify consumables, positions and apply codes and standards. The learner will perform surface welding, fillet and full penetration groove welds in the horizontal position. The learner will also perform open root welds in the horizontal position using F3-F4 type electrodes.

WEMF 3000 - Layout and Fabrication II
In this course learners will focus on structural steel, layout and fabrication techniques, bending equipment and procedures.

WEMF 3100 - Gas Tungsten Arc Welding I
This course introduces the learner to the Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) process. The course will involve identification of electrodes and their applications, consumables and shielding gases.

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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