Frequently Asked Questions

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 General | Trainees (students) | Trainers | Testing | Training days and resources | High school administration


How do I find a Trainer?
It is really up to you to find a trainer.
Your parent can be listed as your "primary" trainer, and then the two of you can go out into your community to find additional trainers to assist you in specific areas, for example (for equine), your local vet, other horse owners, stable owners, horse nutritionists, pony clubs and 4-H clubs are also great resources for you to have. We also have an employment directory that my help. Also check with your regional coordinator who may be able to help you out even more. This is the person who will be your main contact for any information you require about the green certificate program.

What areas can a Trainee study?
Specializations include: Beekeeping, Cow/Calf, Dairy, Equine, Feedlot, Field Crop, Greenhouse, Irrigated Field Crop, Poultry, Sheep and Swine.

What levels of study are there?
There is one level: Technician (Level I)

Do I really get a “Green Certificate”?
Yes. Trainees receive a personalized certificate in a folder, along with their completed Skill Profile sheet.

Is there a cost to the Trainee to participate in the Green Certificate program?

When is the deadline for applications?
There is no deadline for applications; we register students throughout the year.

I am turning 15 this spring and am enrolling in grade 10 in September. When can I apply?
You need to be 15 years of age and enrolling into grade 10 so it sounds like you can enroll in Green Certificate this summer.

How do I apply for the program for this school year?
Your next steps are to contact your high school coordinator (usually your Career Counsellor) and your nearest regional coordinator.

What if I am in 4-H?
If you are in 4-H, you may want to inform your leader that you are enrolled in Green Certificate so they can register you for the Green Certificate 4-H Project in the fall.

I am a Green Certificate student who signed up in the fall and am working on the course. I am in Grade 12 and do not need the credits to graduate. I want to do the GCcourse and plan to come back to school in September for more classes. If I am registered as a student can I still stay on GC and earn my credits?
Students are allowed to enroll in a high school as long as they have not reached the age of 20 on September 1 of the last year they apply – so you will qualify. Many students do return for part time study because they want to upgrade marks or acquire courses for entrance into certain post secondary programs. In summary – it should be no problem for you to continue with your Green Certificate course next fall.

My home-schooled daughter would like to take Green Certificate . Is it possible for her to register for the course?
Yes your daughter can enroll in the course via her homeschool. Contact your home school organization; inform them that your daughter would like to enroll in Green Certificate. Your home school organization can access any information on the school representative pages on our website. Depending on your location, you will then need to get in touch with your regional coordinator, in order attend an induction meeting, register and receive your curriculum workbook. Your regional coordinator will be able to assist your and your daughter as you progress through the green Certificate Program. You may wish to bookmark the Green Certificate Web Pages for your future reference.

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Trainees (Students)

Is AGR 3000 a pre-requisite for GC student trainees?
AGR 3000 is a pre-requisite for GC student trainees . We are working on developing a course/workshop that GC trainees can take that will meet the needs of this course (25 hours - 1 credit)
How old/what grade does a Trainee have to be in order to participate?
A Trainee must be at least 15 years old and in Grade 10 to participate. If a student has a birthday later in the year, and is not 15 at enrollment, they can still participate as long as they are in Grade 10.

Do you still accept adults (anyone not in high school) into the program?
No, As of September 1, 2014 we no longer accept adult trainees.

What are my responsibilities as a Trainee?
Trainee responsibilities include attending an Orientation (Induction) session with your Trainer and Parents, developing a training plan with your Trainer, searching out additional resources with your Trainer as needed, working with your Trainer to test competencies on the farm, communicating regularly with your school representative, attending Regional Training Days, attending Certification tests and submitting test forms to your school representative to receive credit.

How many High School credits does a Trainee earn?
A Trainee can earn a total of 16 credits in their choice of a technician level specialty. A Trainee will earn 6 credits for completing the X section, 5 credits for completing the Y section and 5 credits for completing the Z section in one of the Livestock specialties (or 5 credits for completing the X section, 6 credits for completing the Y section and 5 credits for completing the Z section in the Crop/Greenhouse specialties). The school applies for their credits just as they do for any other class that student is taking. The Alberta Education course codes can be found on our website.

How many certificates can a Trainee earn during High School?
A student must earn 100 high school credits in order to graduate with an Alberta High School Diploma. Within the initial 100 credits, students can earn up to 16 Green Certificate credits. If a Trainee will be earning more than 100 credits towards their high school diploma, then they may do a second certificate (and third certificate if they choose) – either a Technician certificate in another specialty, or a Supervisor certificate in the same specialty as their Technician certificate. The only two certificates that cannot be done by the same student for High School credit are the Field Crop Technician and Irrigated Crop Technician, as there is significant overlap in material between the two curriculums.

Can a Trainee do more than one area (i.e. Cow/Calf Technician and Field Crop Technician) at once?
We strongly discourage a Trainee from doing more than one area at once. Each area has a large amount of material to cover, and it should be concentrated on. Many schools do not allow a Trainee to do more than one Certificate at one time. Please check with your school representative for your school’s specific policy.

Does a Trainee have to do the curriculum book in alphabetical order?
A Trainee can start with any letter training period they wish. A Trainee and Trainer should look at what is required in the curriculum book, and work it into the annual cycle of the farm.

How long can a Trainee take to finish the Green Certificate program?
A Trainee can take up to 3 years if they start the program in Grade 10, 2 years to complete the program if they start in Grade 11 and 1 year to complete the program if they start in Grade 12.

Some of the programs seem very in-depth. Can I finish the course in one year if I enroll in Grade 12?
This depends on your motivation and time put into the course. If you are highly motivated and willing to work hard, yes, it most definitely can be completed in one year.

Do Trainees have to keep log books in order to earn High School credits?
It depends on your school. Many schools require Trainees to keep a log book to assist the high school in monitoring their progress. Please talk to your school representative for your school’s specific policy.

Can I switch from one area to another area?
Yes, you may switch from one area to another. Please note that if you switch to a new area, you will have to do all three of the tests (X, Y and Z) in the new area, even if you have already successfully completed some of the tests from your original area. Please see the question above regarding “How many certificates can a Trainee earn during High School?” for more information.

Does a Trainee get paid while they are participating in the Green Certificate program?
A Trainee can be paid or unpaid for their work while on the Green Certificate program. It is up to the Trainer and Trainee to determine if they are getting paid.

Is the Trainee covered by WCB while they are on the Green Certificate Program?
Yes. A Trainee is covered by WCB. If a Trainee is hurt, they should first seek medical attention. They should then contact their school’s representative and inform them of the injury. The school will give them the appropriate forms.
Who covers Workers Compensation for the trainee/student apprentice?
If the trainee is a high school student enrolling in GC for High School credit then their WCB coverage falls within the Alberta Education Off campus Policy WCB account. It should be noted that only the trainee is covered be the GC program, not the trainer.

Is there insurance coverage if the Trainee damages equipment/animals on the farm while on the Green Certificate program?
No. There is no insurance coverage.

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Can my parent/other relative act as a Trainer?
Yes, a parent or other relative can act as a Trainer.

What experience does a Trainer have to have to be eligible to train a Trainee?
A Trainer must be an experienced farmer that is comfortable and capable of passing on the knowledge outlined in a curriculum book to the Trainee. A Trainer must also know his/her limitations, and be able to ask another farmer for assistance if required. A Trainer should also be keeping up with industry standards (i.e. injections in the neck as opposed to the rump, Beef Quality Assurance Program).

Are there a minimum number of animals that I need to have in order to have an appropriate training site for the Trainees?
There is no hard number – you need to have enough so that the Trainee can learn and practice the skills required. Two cows or twenty cows may not be enough if they all calve when the student is asleep or in school! The Trainer and Trainee need to look at the curriculum book and decide if the Trainee has access to the cattle, equipment, etc that will allow them to become competent in the skills required. The answer will be different for each farm, depending on how they run their operation. If you feel that you are limited in your facilities, please ensure that the Trainee has access to another site where they can practice all of the skills required.

What are my responsibilities as the Trainer?
Trainer responsibilities include attending an Orientation (Induction) session with the Trainee, providing a work site environment and conditions that support the Trainee’s learning, assessing Trainee’s previous knowledge level, developing a training plan with the Trainee, teaching to industry standards, performing an on-farm test with the Trainee and signing-off on the skill profile page when competency has been achieved as well as communicating with the School Representative and Regional Coordinator when requested.

Can a Trainee use more than one Trainer?
A Trainee can use as many Trainers as necessary to complete the program. Each Trainer must write their name and initials on the Skill Profile page.

Is the Trainer covered by WCB while training the Trainee?
No. The Trainer is not covered by WCB – only the Trainee is covered.

What do I do if there is a skill in the book that we do not have the ability/required equipment to do it on our farm?
A student is required to complete all of the skills, regardless of whether or not they have everything on their farm site. The Trainee or Trainer will have to find another site where they have the ability/equipment to teach the Trainee that particular skill. Failing that, a Trainee can always talk to people in the industry such as equipment dealers, Veterinarians, or other producers.

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How often does testing occur?
Testing occurs three times each school year.

How many tests do I have to complete?
Each subject program requires a Trainee to successfully complete 3 tests in order to receive their certificate.

When is testing done?
Testing is generally done in the late Fall, during the Winter and in late Spring.

Where is testing done?
The majority of testing is done on the College Campus that hosts the Green Certificate program in your region. In some areas, testing is done at a local farm site (i.e. La Crete in the Peace Region, Oyen in the Central Region and Spruce Grove in the Northwest Region) to assist Trainees that would otherwise have to travel great distances. Timing of satellite tests may be different than the regular testing.

Who is eligible to be a Tester?
Testers are experienced farmers, and in some cases, former Green Certificate Trainers. Testers are hired for their experience and ability to work with Trainees.

How do I become a Tester?
Please contact the Regional Coordinator closest to you for more information on becoming a Tester.

What format do the tests take?
The tests are oral and practical, hands-on tests. Trainees will have to be able to describe and talk about the information in the Curriculum book, as well as show a tester using machinery/animals/props provided at the test site.

Does a Trainee have to take a test each round?
No. A Trainee and Trainer determine together if the Trainee is ready. A Trainee only takes a test if they are ready.

Can a Trainee do more than one test each time testing is offered?
A Trainee can do up to 2 tests if the Trainer and Trainee feel that the Trainee is ready. The Trainee must let the Regional Coordinator know ahead of time so that they can be scheduled for two tests.

Where do Trainees usually have difficulty with the Green Certificate tests?
Trainees usually have the most difficulty when they are not prepared for the tests and/or their Trainer did not cover all of the areas. Trainees also run into difficulty if they mistakenly believe that they have been farming all of their lives and don’t need to read or study.

What happens to a Trainee if they do not complete a test?
A Trainee will receive an “Incomplete” on that test. A Trainee will also receive feedback from the Tester as to where they need more work and where to get more information. A Trainee can return at the next round of testing and redo the test without academic or financial penalty.

Are you really going to send me home if I forget my book or do not have all of the necessary skills signed off when I come for testing?
Yes. No exceptions.

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Training Days and Resources

Where can the Trainee go online to find additional resources?
A Trainee can go to Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development's website for the most comprehensive list of additional resources available.

What are Regional Training Days?
Regional Training Days are day-long workshops that are conducted in each region to give Trainees and their Trainers access to information relevant to their studies.

Is there a cost for Regional Training Days?
Regional Training Days are free to Trainees, and have minimal costs for Trainers or parents interested in attending as well.

What sorts of topics are covered on Regional Training Days?
Previous topics have included livestock handling, farm safety, injury prevention and resources for Trainers. Topics vary from year to year, but the goal is that the training relates to the Green Certificate curriculum.

How do I find out about and register for Regional Training Days?
School Representatives will be able to provide Trainees with information on upcoming Training Days. In some cases, the Regional Coordinator may also mail or email information to the Trainee directly.

Is the Trainee required to attend the Regional Training Days?
Participation is not mandatory, but it is strongly encouraged as it presents a unique learning opportunity for the Trainees.

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High School Administration

What is the cost to the school for a Trainee to participate?
Effective September 1, 2017, new students enrolling in the Green Certificate Program will have their fee paid directly by Alberta Education.
The school receives money for up to 16 Green Certificate credits achieved by the student, without doing the teaching or testing. The farmer is the actual teacher. Is he financially compensated for training the apprentice?
The school receives money for each credit a student receives ( Alberta Education Funding Policy). This is how schools are funded in Alberta. No, the Farmer does not receive financial compensation for training the trainee.

Can I submit the Registration Form by fax?
No. You are required to submit the original form to your Regional Coordinator, signed by the Trainee, Trainer, Parent and the School Representative. You can also submit a registration using the GINA system.

Who should I contact for more information?
You should contact your Regional Coordinator.

What region am I in?
The regions cover the following areas:
South – north to (and including) Strathmore, west to the BC border, south to the US border and east to the Saskatchewan border
Central – north to (and including) Ponoka, west to the Rocky Mountains, south to Strathmore and east to the Saskatchewan border
Northeast –north to Smoky Lake, west to Calmar, south to Coronation, and east to the Saskatchewan border, west to Highway 21
Northwest – north to Slave Lake, west to the BC border, south to (and including) Wetaskiwin and east to Boyle, Morinville and Edmonton area, east to Highway 21.
Peace – north to the NWT border, west to the BC border, south to Grovedale and/or Little Smoky, and east to Slave Lake

What are my responsibilities as the School Representative?
The School Representative's responsibilities include being knowledgeable about the program, to attend Orientation (Induction) sessions with your students, follow the Alberta Education Off-Campus Policy to administer your school’s fee procedure, assist the Regional Coordinator in the scheduling of tests, promote the program within your school, communicate regularly with the Trainees in your school, assign course marks for your students and arrange for the Trainees to receive appropriate credits from Alberta Education.

What does Alberta Education require in order for a High School student to become a Trainee in the Green Certificate program?
Alberta Education requires several things. First, the Trainee must complete AGR 3000 as a pre-requisite to the Green Certificate Program. Second, the School Representative will do a Worksite inspection, which is required of all off-campus worksites. Third, the Trainee must receive regular monitoring from the School Representative. Finally, after a Trainee has completed each test, the Trainee must submit the test to their School Representative in order to receive their High School credits.

How do I assign marks for the Green Certificate program?
Teachers should refer to the Green Certificate School Representative pages. Teachers also should refer to the Green Certificate Program Brochure prepared by Alberta Education.

Do you have any materials that I can give to my Trainees who are considering participating in the program?
Yes. We have a general training overview that can be given to Trainees, as well as individual brochures for each program area that outline the contents of the program.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Raelene Mercer.
This document is maintained by Lindsay Rodriguez.
This information published to the web on November 12, 2004.
Last Reviewed/Revised on January 14, 2019.