Q: What is a heat and frost insulator?

Heat and frost insulators are skilled tradespeople. They fabricate, manufacture and apply insulation materials to plumbing, heating, cooling and refrigeration systems, piping equipment, and pressure vessels to reduce the passage of heat, cold, sound, smoke or fire.

Some of the main duties of a heat and frost insulator include:

  • applying and securing insulation
  • measuring and cutting insulating material using hand and power tools
  • installing vapour, fire and smoke barriers
  • applying waterproofing cement over insulating materials to finish surfaces
  • reading and interpreting specifications to select the type of insulation required
Q: Who can become a heat and frost insulator?

The trade welcomes all men and women who are dedicated, hard-working and eager to start learning. Most provinces and territories require a high school diploma (or equivalent) and a minimum age of 18 years.

Here are some of the key traits and interests that successful heat and frost insulators share:

  • an eye for detail
  • the ability to work independently as well as part of a team
  • the ability to work with machinery, hand tools and power tools
  • an appreciation for working both indoors and outdoors
  • the ability to work at heights and in confined spaces
  • a basic understanding of algebra and geometry

For more information on eligibility, visit the Educational Requirements and Ideal Candidates sections of this Web site.

Q: Where do heat and frost insulators work?
Heat and frost insulators work on large industrial and institutional/commercial construction projects. They work indoors and outdoors in all regions of Canada.
Q: Do heat and frost insulators work year-round?

That depends. Most heat and frost insulation projects are carried out year-round, in all types of weather. But heat and frost insulation is cyclical—as with most careers in construction, there are peak periods and slower periods.

For more information on how the industry works, check out the Job Description section of this Web site.

Q: Will I have to travel as a heat and frost insulator?
Because the industry is project-based, many heat and frost insulators travel to where the work is. The trade can take you across Canada and around the world as you help build some of construction's most impressive projects. Travelling and seeing new places is one of the main highlights of the job for many heat and frost insulators.
Q: Do I have to finish high school to become a heat and frost insulator?
Entry requirements vary across Canada, but most provinces, territories and employers require that you have a high school diploma. For more information, visit the Educational Requirements section of this Web site.
Q: How much can I earn as a heat and frost insulator?

Certified heat and frost insulators, known as journeypersons, earn between $15 and $33 per hour plus benefits worth up to 30% of their hourly rate. Wages vary across Canada and among labour organizations and insulation contractors.

Apprentice heat and frost insulators start out earning 60% of the journeyperson rate and gradually increase throughout their apprenticeship until they reach the full rate.

If you move into supervisory roles, such as site foreman, general foreman or project manager, you can earn an even higher salary. For more information, visit the Salary Potential section of this Web site.

Q: Do heat and frost insulators receive work-related benefits?

Your benefits package will depend on your employer. Most heat and frost insulators receive statutory holiday and vacation pay, as well as group insurance for health, dental and vision care, retirement packages, and training benefits worth up to 30% of their hourly rate.

If you're self-employed, it's up to you to arrange your own benefits.

Q: What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a way to learn job skills while you work and earn good wages. It combines classroom study with on-the-job experience under the supervision of a certified heat and frost insulator, called a journeyperson.

As an apprentice, you earn while you learn and are paid by the hour while working on the job site. Wages start at about 50% of a journeyperson's hourly rate and increase during your apprenticeship until you reach the full rate.

Q: How long does an apprenticeship take to complete?

The duration of apprenticeship training programs for heat and frost insulators varies across Canada, but programs generally involve four 12-month periods, including at least 5,650 hours of on-the-job training, three 4-to-8-week blocks of technical training, and a final certificate examination.

Related work experience or completion of a heat and frost insulator program at a college or technical institute can reduce the time required to complete your apprenticeship.

Q: How much does completing an apprenticeship cost?
An apprenticeship costs very little. Tuition for in-school technical training ranges from $140-$700 per session, depending on the province or territory. There are additional expenses for books and other materials, but the cost of training is more than offset by your earnings.
Q: Where do I apply to become an apprentice?
You can apply through your provincial or territorial government office of apprenticeship and training. To find their contact information, visit the Apprenticeship Opportunities section of this Web site.
Q: Do I have to register as an apprentice to become a heat and frost insulator?

That depends on where you live. In Quebec, heat and frost insulation is a trade for which apprenticeship registration is compulsory before starting work. In all other provinces and territories, apprenticeship registration is available but voluntary.

Most heat and frost insulation apprentices start out on the job, working for an insulation contractor. After they have some practical experience, they can register as an apprentice. For more information on starting out in the industry, visit the Apprenticeship Opportunities and Getting Started sections of this Web site.

Q: Is heat and frost insulation a Red Seal certified trade?
Yes. As a journeyperson heat and frost insulator, you can apply for Red Seal Certification through the Interprovincial Standards Program. For more information, visit www.red-seal.ca.