Environmental Technician

Cornwall Campus | Program Code: 0964 | Open for International Students
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Start your career off by developing essential skills required by environment sector employers and by being prepared to participate in the green economy. The Environmental Technician pro­gram provides a well-rounded background for employment in a wide range of sectors through courses in water and air quality, waste management, occupational health and safety, and environmental assessment.

Program Details

Code 0964
Start Date September
Credential Ontario College Diploma
Campus Cornwall
Program Length 2 Years
Delivery Full-Time
Open for international students

Program Highlights

Program highlights include field courses at the end of the second and fourth semesters and a four-week work placement.

Students benefit from the College’s partner­ship with the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences. The River Institute, located on the Cornwall Campus, is a centre for scientific research focusing on the St. Lawrence river and the sur­rounding environment. Scientists at the River Institute are actively involved in the teaching of many of the science and field courses in the program and they work with the College in ongoing program development. Through this partnership, you will have an opportunity to learn and work with research scientists on a variety of environmental issues.

Program Outline


This course is an introductory course that will cover several general biological principals such as molecular biology, genetics, cell biology, evolution, ecology, classification and biodiversity. Students will study the different levels of complexity in living organisms and examine factors that affect speciation.

This course covers key concepts in atomic structure, chemical bonding, nomenclature, chemical reactions, and quantities in chemical reactions. Data collection, data analysis and laboratory techniques will be covered in the laboratory component of the course.

This course is designed to help students develop and practice the communication skills needed to succeed in college and workforce environments. Emphasis is placed on improving foundational communication strategies-reading, writing, listening, and speaking—and on developing research and critical thinking skills. 

This introductory course familiarizes students with the functionality of the internal college computer network. Course content explores the effective use of the student intranet site, email, and the learning management system. Students are also introduced to the current version of Microsoft Word and how to create, edit and manipulate documents. Using Microsoft Excel, students create and manipulate workbooks and worksheets for the purpose of organizing, analyzing and presenting data.

This course encompasses environmental based activities which enable students to begin to develop a professional network. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to identifying, understanding and analyzing current environment issues and technologies that affect Canada and the world. Topics include consumption patterns, sustainability and ecosystem threat with a specific concentration on water, food and energy issues.

As the first mathematics course for Environmental Technician, General Arts and Science and Game Development students, the content covered includes conversions, number systems, fundamental algebra, linear and quadratic functions, trigonometry of right triangles, 2D and 3D geometry, vectors, and exponential and logarithmic functions. All concepts are presented with real world applications including health, environmental sciences, and game development.

This course builds on the concepts developed in CHEM103 with emphasis on energy changes and rates of reactions, chemical systems and equilibrium, acids and bases, stoichiometric calculations, and oxidation-reduction reactions. Nomenclature and reactions of organic compounds including selected biomolecules are covered. An emphasis is placed on applications of these topics in health care and environmental issues. Data collection, data analysis, laboratory techniques, and report writing are covered in the laboratory component of the course.

Prerequisite(s): CHEM 103

In COMM32, the emphasis is on the development of technical communication skills as well as the ability to translate this information for a non-technical audience. These skills are developed through written assignments which include short reports, summaries, formal reports, resumes and cover letters. American Psychological Association (APA) format and documentation is reinforced.

Prerequisite(s): COMM110

This course will provide an overview of GIS terminology and its applications and how it interacts in the professional world and everyday life. You will learn how to navigate through ArcView, import data, collect data using GPS, and edit GIS data. By the end of the course, you will be able to create basic maps.

Prerequisite(s): COMP9

This course will introduce student to the science of ecology. We will expand on some topics covered in General Biology, including biodiversity, evolution, and genetics. Students will also be introduced to new topics as we study ecology at the individual, population, community, and ecosystem levels of organization.

This two-week intensive field course introduces students to some of the methods used to sample biological populations. The course covers topics such as designing sampling protocols, field identification of terrestrial and aquatic organisms and estimating population sizes. Students are introduced to some common standardized sampling protocols such as the Marsh Monitoring Program protocol for Amphibians and Marsh Birds, and the Ontario Benthic Biomonitoring Network invertebrate sampling protocol.

Prerequisite(s): ENVI13 + BIOL1

This microbiology course provides an introduction to the study of microorganisms with particular focus on the following subject matters: identification and classification, physiology and cellular structure, culturing and controlling growth, metabolism, genetic engineering and the importance of microbes in medicine and industry. During the laboratory sessions, students will learn basic microbiological skills such as microscopy, aseptic techniques, media preparation, isolation and growth of cultures, microbial enumeration, dilution and filtration techniques, staining and identification of microbes using a variety of biochemical tests. This course emphasizes an understanding of microbiology in the context of environmental sciences.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL1

This course will cover the main principles of limnology and freshwater ecology. Students will be provided a general introduction to physical and chemical processes in freshwater systems delivered through in class and field sessions. The students will also learn various analytical techniques and methodologies to collect aquatic organisms and analyze data. It will provide a basis for Freshwater Ecology 2 course which will focus on the biological elements in freshwater systems.

Prerequisite(s): CHEM104 + ENVI13

This course introduces the concepts of soil characteristics and hydrogeology for the purpose of determining the suitability of a given site for a particular purpose or to evaluate environmental conditions. This involves identifying and locating relevant objects and site features with the use of a variety of mapping and database tools as well as via sample collection. A site’s soil characteristics and water balance will be determined and presented in a report summarizing the findings in a manner that is relevant. Students study relevant legislation, ensuring that their plans will meet all requirements and guidelines.

Prerequisite(s): MATH9 + COMP70

Environmental Analysis I is an introduction to fundamental techniques and methods of chemical and physical analysis used by technicians in the environmental field. These methods are also extensively employed in industry, food, health, agricultural and forensic sciences. The course is broken into two modules.

Module I: The first module is dedicated to building a foundation for environmental analysis. In the first part of module 1, the student is introduced to key concepts such as quality assurance, good laboratory practices and basic analytical laboratory techniques. The student will also be introduced to common methods used in environmental analysis of soil, air and water, including gravimetric analysis, titrations, spectrophotometry, and gas chromatography. An emphasis will be on the theory and practice of performing precise and accurate chemical measurements with estimates of the associated uncertainties. 

Module II. The second part of the course applies the techniques and knowledge from module 1 with a focus on the properties of soils and the methods used in their characterization.  

Prerequisite(s): CHEM104

This course provides students with an introduction to Environmental Legislation and Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) related to Environmental Protection and development in Ontario.  A range of legislation is discussed: Acts, associated regulations, Guidelines, Codes of Practice, Environmental Compliance Approvals and By-laws associated with environmental compliance.  Emphasis is placed on awareness of and distinction between Federal, Provincial and Municipal By-laws.  The course provides the background knowledge required to perform environmental site assessments and audits; successful completion of the course requires the completion of a full Environmental Site Assessment of a prescribed property.

Students will develop a working vocabulary and understanding of exposure, risk and safety terms.  This can be applied to interpret occupational health technical data, and in the accurate communication of safety concepts.  The course will give an overview of the laws and regulations governing occupational health and safety in Canada and Ontario.  Students will be exposed to established systems currently in use, specifically WHIMIS and MSDS. Promotion of awareness in terms of the risks and issues surrounding Occupational Health and Safety is the course goal.

This course will introduce students to sampling design and statistical analysis. The course will consist of a combination of lectures, student seminars and computer lab sessions during which students will analyze data sets. Whenever possible we will use real data sets from current research projects underway at the River Institute or that have been collected by students as part of other courses (e.g., Ecology, Freshwater Ecology or the 1st year Field Course).

ENVI 24 introduces the field of ecotoxicology which uses toxicity test methods in concert with environmental data to provide an assessment of the effects of chemicals on individual organisms, populations and ecosystems. Toxicity tests are important monitoring tools used by industries and agencies to determine the potential for adverse effects of discharges into the environment.  Held as an intensive field and laboratory course in the spring term of the second year, students will learn toxicity testing techniques and associated data analysis procedures. Students will sample industrial wastewater, assess its chemical characteristics, and use this data in concert with toxicity data to interpret the observed effects on biota. Students will work individually and in groups and create a report on the data collected.


Prerequisite(s): ENVI35 + ENVI36 + MATH12

The work placement offers students the opportunity to observe and experience first-hand the operations, processes and protocols of an environmental technician related workplace environment. It is designed to immerse students in the real world of the work and promote the successful integration of curriculum elements in an applied setting. It provides the opportunity to access equipment or processes that may not have been accessible in the program, promotes opportunities for specialization and provides increased awareness of the industry and job potential. Students have the opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge they have been developing to a relevant work place environment. The course is offered as a four week full time placement in Semester 4. Placements can be implemented at approved local, regional, out of province or international sites, private or public.

Prerequisite(s): ENVI24 + ENVI38

This course will cover the main principles of limnology and freshwater ecology.  Students will be provided a general introduction to biological processes in freshwater systems delivered through in class and laboratory sessions. The students will also learn various analytical techniques and methodologies to collect and observe aquatic organisms. 

Prerequisite(s): ENVI16

This course is intended to provide students with a basic understanding of air pollution.  Students will develop an awareness of the sources of air pollution, the range of contaminants that are emitted, and the impacts of air pollution on environment, human health and society.  Legislative requirements, with emphasis on Ontario legislation, will be presented, with a focus on how the requirements impact the industrial sector and drive pollution reduction initiatives.  Students will learn about the technology that is available to monitor and quantify air pollution levels, as well as the technology that is utilized to reduce dischargers into the air. Common sampling techniques will be taught for both ambient and particulate contaminates.

Prerequisite(s): CHEM103

Environmental Analysis II expands the student’s experience in the field of environmental analysis.  It is split into two modules: water analysis and air quality analysis.  

Module I: The aim of this module is to introduce the main properties of water that characterize its suitability for various purposes such as for drinking water, protection of aquatic life and other beneficial services.  The laboratory component will emphasize analysis techniques used for measuring the properties of surface water, wastewater and drinking water.  For drinking water, material from the self-study module for the Entry Level Course for Drinking Water Operators will be introduced.

Module II: This module supports the ENVI32 Air Quality course by providing supplementary material with a focus on hands-on activities to expand the student’s understanding of air quality monitoring and testing.  

Prerequisite(s): ENVI35

This course will introduce students to solid waste management. It includes the management of municipal, agricultural and hazardous wastes. In addition, students will perform a waste and packaging audit and visit a local waste disposal facility. Key environmental regulations and legislation pertinent to solid waste management will be discussed and applied.

In this course, information and techniques specific to operation of drinking water treatment plants will be provided following the Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s (MOE) Entry Level Course for Drinking Water Operators (ELO). The MOE exam for the ELO course will be administered at the end of the course. Students who achieve 70% on the exam and who graduate from the Environmental Technician program, will receive the Entry Level Drinking Operator certificate. 

Prerequisite(s): ENVI36


Admission Requirements

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with the majority of Grade 11 and 12 courses at the C, U or M level including the following prerequisites:

  • Grade 12 English at the C or U level
  • Grade 11 Math at the C, U or M level
  • Grade 11 or 12 Biology or Chemistry at the C or U level

For OSSD equivalency options, see Admission Requirements.

If you are missing prerequisite courses, enroll in the Career/College Prep program - free for Ontario residents who are 19 years or older. 


The 160 hour work placement offers students the opportunity to observe and experience first-hand the operations, processes and protocols of an environmental technician related workplace environment. It is designed to immerse students in the real world of the work and promote the successful integration of curriculum elements in an applied setting. It provides the opportunity to access equipment or processes that may not have been accessible in the program, promotes opportunities for specialization and provides increased awareness of the industry and job potential. Placement is a four week unpaid full time commitment completed at the end the program. Placements can be at approved local, regional, out of province or international sites, private or public institution.



Program Fees
Ancillary Fees
$3,189.60 CAD
Program Fees
$150.00 CAD
Ancillary Fees
$979.82 CAD
$4,319.42 CAD

Fees are estimates only.  Tuition is based on two semesters.

Program Fees
Ancillary Fees
$15,960.00 CAD
Program Fees
$150.00 CAD
Ancillary Fees
$1,755.15 CAD
$17,865.15 CAD

Fees are estimates only.  Tuition is based on two semesters.


Our Cornwall campus has a brand new library, new health simulation labs, renovated student common areas and more to make your transition to college life an easy one.

Cornwall Campus

Career Opportunities

Current environmental legislation requires increased monitoring and testing of the natural environment and the industrial, agriculture and public sectors. Employment opportuni­ties are expanding in these areas.

Graduates of the Environmental Technician program find work in the following areas:

  • Environmental consulting firms
  • Water and wastewater treatment plants
  • Government ministries
  • Industry and private companies
  • Testing laboratories
  • Research institutes
  • Conservation authorities

Types of activities you may carry out in these career areas include:

  • Sampling air, water, soil, plant, and animal populations
  • Testing air, water, and soil samples in the lab
  • Assessing areas for environmental impact
  • Designing ways to reduce the impact of waste on the environment
  • Implementing legislation requirements and health and safety procedures
  • Assisting in the design of environmental programs in the public and private sectors
  • Preparing reports and proposals
  • Entering and analyzing data using com­puter applications


"After I was laid off from work, I wanted to return to school but I was afraid of failure. I registered for the Environmental program, was accepted, but after twenty years away from school, I wanted a refresh. The program coordinator suggested some courses that I could take to prepare. Now I'm ready and confident to start my program in September."
John Amell
"After recently completing an honours degree in biology, I didn’t feel quite ready to enter the workforce. The Environmental Technician program gave me the additional skills that I was looking for. It offers a hands-on approach to learning skills and concepts, which can then be applied to almost any environmentally related career."

Other Information

Additional Certifications:
The Ministry of the Environment Entry Level Drinking Water Operator course is incorporated into the program with a certificate granted after successful completion of the course and program. Program courses also prepare you to write the Water/Waste Water Operator in Training (OIT) and the Water Quality Analyst (WQA) exams. These certificates are required to work in water treatment plants and are highly valued in the Water/ Waste Water Industry.

Visit the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences website and the Walkerton Clean Water Agency website 

WSIB Coverage:
Students from health sciences program on placement are covered by Workplace Safety and Insurance Board(WSIB) coverage in the event of an incident.

To be eligible:

  • A student must be currently registered in the program; 
  • The placement must be sanctioned by the educational institution;
  • The student must not be paid for the placement.

Advanced Standing

BSc graduates are eligible to complete the program in one year. Please contact the program coordinator for more information.

Program Contacts

Program Contact
Jordan Ann Kevan de Haan 
613-933-6080 ext.2331

Admissions Information
Click here to message Recruitment.

Click here to schedule an appointment with Recruitment.