Environmental Technician – Water and Wastewater Systems Operations

Program Title – Environmental Technician – Water and Wastewater Systems Operations

Program Codes
Program codes are for September intakes except those that are indicated differently.
NORT-T089 (KL) Kirkland Lake Campus
NORT-T089W (KL) Kirkland Lake Campus

This is a blended program combining on-site and distance learning. The program operates in a continuous 6-semester cycle of academic and placement cycles, requiring 2 years of continuous study or placements until graduation. Students starting the program in January 2018 will enter into Semester 2 or students who enter the program in September 2018 will enter into Semester 1. Northern College will make every effort to assist students in finding co-op employment, but cannot guarantee co-op employment. Students are encouraged to speak with local employers in water and/or wastewater treatment plants about co-op placements prior to starting the program.

The fastest path to qualification for employment in this field in Ontario. This compressed (4 academic semesters into 3), co-op diploma program prepares students with a strong combination of theory and practical systems operator experience needed to work as water and wastewater treatment operators under Ontario’s stringent standards. Students write the Ontario Operator-In-Training examinations and the Drinking Water Operators Entry-Level Course, and through three 4-month-long co-op placement semesters obtain the experience required for Class I operator licensing. Additional courses further enhance graduate employability. This program is now recognized by OACETT as meeting the requirements for the Certified Technician designation for graduates.

  • Overview Video
  • Extended Version (4 Minutes)
Information for Prospective Students
Many employers provide work wear (pants, shirts, hard hats) to students free of charge while they are on co-op. However, steel toed work boots are not supplied. Therefore, the following is a suggested personal equipment list to prepare you for this program:

  • Steel toed work boots (required)
  • Work pants (optional)
  • Work shirts – orange reflective type (optional)
  • Safety goggles (optional)
  • Hard hat (optional)
  • Lab coat (optional)
Important Information for Domestic and International Students

Domestic Students
To be eligible to write the OIT examination noted above, the Ministry of the Environment requires all students writing their Drinking Water & Wastewater Operator/Water Quality Analyst Certification need to have their high school diploma or grade 12 equivalency in order to qualify to write the examination. This is important for mature (19 years of age or older) students who may not have completed high school and have gained entry to the program as a mature student. The grade 12 equivalency can be obtained in different ways (e.g. OSSD, GED or equivalent) and you are encouraged to contact Admissions for further information.

International Students
There are regulations that affect students wishing to work on placements in municipal drinking water and waste-water processing plants. (They do not affect students finding placement in industry water systems work). The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) requires all students to have evidence acceptable to the MOE of their high school equivalency in order to qualify to write the OIT examination. If you have a diploma or degree we encourage you to have this documentation assessed/evaluated early in your application process by sending your documentation to the World Education Services (WES) assessment centre.

How do International students prove equivalency to Ontario Grade 12?

1. Via WES (World Education Services)
Students that wish to be able to go on placements in municipal plants during their first placement (summer 2019 is the first placement period for the January 2019 intake) are advised to proceed with this option: WES (World Education Services) http://www.wes.org.


2. Via Completing the First Year of the Program at Northern:
After students successfully complete the first two Academic semesters – Winter 2019 and Fall 2019 – students will be able to receive a letter from Northern College stating that since they have passed their first year of college they have achieved the equivalence of Ontario Grade 12. With this they will be able to proceed into their next 2 placement semesters which happen in an 8 month stretch during Summer and Fall 2020. As a consequence, International students arriving without a WES – certified equivalent to Ontario Grade 12 may graduate without delay and earn the Environmental Technician – Non-Co-op Diploma option. After graduation, students will need 4 more months of industry-related work to obtain sufficient workplace hours to write the provincial licencing exams to become fully Class I licenced operators.

Additional Information for International Students

What are the implications for International students who don’t have their WES-certified equivalency to Ontario Grade 12 prior to entering the program?

• Student will not be able to work in Ontario municipal drinking water and wastewater plants in their first placement period (summer 2019 for students that start January 2019).
• Students can work in other jobs in Ontario (summer 2019).
• Students can do program-related work in non-municipal water treatment plants (various industries, mines etc.) during summer 2019, and this first placement time may be able to count towards the co-op diploma.

Career Opportunities
Graduates may find employment in municipal water and waste water facilities, environmental departments in mines and other industries, solid waste management facilities, and in government.

Contact Information
Richard Kallio
Tel: 705-567-9291 ext. 3705