Cook Apprenticeship

As a Cook, you will develop the knowledge and skills to prepare food in many different eating establishments. Cooks are responsible for nutrition, food costs and sanitation. Cooks may be employed in restaurants, hotels, clubs, catering firms, cafeterias, specialty food outlets and bases/camps.
Domestic Status:
Apprenticeship and Trades
3 Years
Part-Time On Campus

About the Cook Apprenticeship

Do you love to cook but want to take your cooking to another level? Turn your love of cooking into a career and expand your skills in the kitchen through the Cook Apprenticeship program. 

Train to become a Cook and explore ways to prepare food in eating establishments including hotels, restaurants, institutions, trains and cruise ships. Successful completion culminates in receipt of a Journeyman’s Certificate and interprovincial Red Seal, the preferred designation for Cooks in the hospitality industry. 

In this program you will learn from experienced chefs and explore both modern and classical cuisine. You will spend a lot of your technical training in restaurant/industry kitchens to support and apply the theory you learn in class. You will also have opportunities to volunteer to help with catering events in the community to create connections and further your learning. 

Take the skills you learn and challenge yourself. This trade has an opportunity for you to compete in the Provincial Skills Canada Competition, Skills Canada National Competition and WorldSkills Competition. 

Are you worried about the time commitment? You can learn while you work. Red Deer Polytechnic is pleased to offer Cook Apprenticeship Training in the W.A.T.S. format. You will attend Red Deer Polytechnic one day per week for 40 weeks, early September through late June. This format allows you to maintain employment while completing your formal training.  

When you graduate, you’ll receive both a:   

  • Journeyperson Certificate: This certificate not only acknowledges your expertise in your chosen trade but also grants you the legal authority to work in that trade.  

  • Education Credential: This is a formal testament to your dedication and hard work. It confirms that you've successfully finished a Diploma in a post-secondary study program and highlights the time and effort you've invested in mastering your trade or profession. 

Work-integrated Learning

Apprenticeship is a unique form of post-secondary education that blends hands-on work experience with classroom learning. On average, you will spend 80 per cent of your apprenticeship on the job, practicing your trade or profession, and 20 per cent in the classroom or lab through structured learning at RDP.    

Further Study 

At the end of the final year of the program, you will also be eligible to earn a Red Seal Endorsement on your Journeyperson certificate upon successful completion of the Red Seal Exam. The Red Seal Endorsement allows Journeypersons to work anywhere in Canada without additional training.  

If you have a valid Alberta Journeyman Certificate, you are eligible to receive a Blue Seal Achievement in business competencies after completing the necessary requirements.  

Program Content

During this three-year program you will spend one day a week on campus (40 weeks per year), and a minimum of 1,560 hours on-the-job training.  

Completion of Classroom Training

Students must achieve a weighted average of 65% with no section under 50% in both the theory and practical components of the classroom training as well as achieving a minimum grade of 70% on the AIT Provincial Exam for each period of classroom training.  

Completion of a Journeyperson Certificate

The term of apprenticeship for a Cook is three years (Three 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1560 hours of on-the-job training and one day a week on campus (40 weeks) of classroom instruction each year. 

Louise Rautenbach_Cook Testimonial
From September 2020 until June 2023 I was enrolled in the Cook Apprentice Program at Red Deer Polytechnic. Being in a kitchen and preparing food has always been my passion. I work part time in a commercial kitchen. A colleague of mine signed up for the Cook "Apprentice course and within a few weeks I was also signed up and ready to take my skills to the next level. I have learned a tremendous amount during the last three years and can honestly say that there isn't a day that goes by that I don't use some of the information or skills that I have learned. The program is very well structured and offered by a highly skilled and Professional Instructor. I can highly recommend the course to anyone interested in the Culinary field."
Louise Rautenbach
Shannon Mahoney_Cook Testimonial
"The RDP cooking program took me by surprise. Days would fly by in a moment and I would find myself thinking of all the new recipes and methods I'd learned. Chef Garnett is a wealth of knowledge and years later I still find myself thinking "What would Chef Garnett do?" I left that class feeling confident with the skills and techniques given, and ready to take on the world!"
Shannon Mahoney

Admission Requirements

How to become an Apprentice:   

  1. Ensure you meet Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) eligibility and entrance requirements for your desired skilled trade.   

  2. Apply for an Apprenticeship Education Program.    

  3. Register for classroom instruction.   

Academic Requirements  

Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) entrance recommended path requirements:  

  • ELA 30-2  

  • Math 30-3  

  • Physics 20 or Chem 20 or Science 20  

  • Related CTS courses 


Minimum Requirements:  

  • ELA 10-2  

  • Math 10-3  


A pass on all five Canadian GED tests  


Successful completion of AIT’s entrance exam  

Intake Details

Registration opens May 15, 2024

1st Period
September 9, 2024 - June 9, 2025
  • On Campus Delivery
  • On campus time requirements
    • Mondays | 8:30am - 3:30pm 


2nd Intake
September 3, 2024 - June 3, 2025
  • On Campus Delivery
  • On campus time requirements
    • Tuesdays| 8:30am - 3:30pm 


3rd Period
September 4, 2024 - June 4, 2025
  • On Campus Delivery
  • On campus time requirements
    • Wednesdays | 8:30am - 3:30pm 

Program Cost

Estimated Tuition & Fees
1st Period
2nd Period
3rd Period

These costs are an estimate of tuition and fees based on the recommended course load per training period.   

NOTE: Additional fees may apply. 

For full fee information, view our Program Cost Estimates.

Course Materials


Year One

  • Required
    • Professional Cooking 9th Edition with Wileyplus (Gisslen)
  • Optional
    • The Chef's Companion: A Culinary Dictionary, 3rd Edition (Wiley) ISBN: 978-0-471-39842-4

Year Two

  • Required
    • Professional Cooking 9th Edition with Wileyplus (Gisslen)
  • Optional
    • The Chef's Companion: A Culinary Dictionary, 3rd Edition (Wiley) ISBN: 978-0-471-39842-4

Year Three

  • Required
    • Professional Cooking 9th Edition with Wileyplus(Gisslen)
  • Optional
    • The Chef's Companion: A Culinary Dictionary, 3rd Edition (Wiley) ISBN: 978-0-471-39842-4

All students must also supply;

  • White/Black Chef's Jacket
  • checkered or black pants
  • white/black short aprons
  • RDP Chef's hat
  • black non-slip faux-leather or leather (wipeable) footwear.

Cancellation Policies

In all cases, a minimum fee of $150 will be withheld should you cancel your enrolment before the first day of class. To  cancel call 403.342.3100 or 1.888.475.1101 

  • For training delivered face-to-face (on-campus) or hyflex, you will not receive a refund if you cancel your registration on or after the first day of class.
  • For training delivered in our blended format (some online, some face-to-face) you can cancel up until 11:00 a.m. on the first day of your second week of class and receive a refund less the $150.00 cancellation fee. No refunds will be issued for cancellations received after 11:00 a.m.
  • If the Polytechnic cancels a scheduled Apprenticeship training period, all tuition and related fees will be refunded.

Waitlist Notification 

If you are waitlisted for a course, we will email the personal email address on file at RDP when a seat becomes available