International Admission Requirements
Environmental Technician – Water and Wastewater Systems Operations Program

This is an Ontario college two-year diploma compressed into 3 academic semesters, and 3 co-op placement semesters. A non-co-op diploma is an option but with shorter program completion dates – but can affect immigration visa dates.

Understanding the Pathway for Environmental Technician

Pathway 1: September 2018 (Fall Intake) | Flow Chart of Semesters
• You complete fall (2018) and winter (2019) semesters.
• You find two consecutive placements or other work for summer and fall 2019. (See important note below about the type of placement you may be eligible for, depending on your prior proof of equivalent to Ontario Grade 12 high school).
• You complete your final academic semester winter 2020.
• You find and complete your final placement semester summer 2020.

Pathway 2: January 2019 (Winter Intake) | Flow Chart of Semesters
• You complete the winter 2019 semester.
• You find a placement or other work for summer 2019. (See important note below about the type of placement you may be eligible for, depending on your prior proof of equivalent to Ontario Grade 12 high school).
• You complete the fall 2019 and winter 2020 academic semesters.
• After completing the winter 2020 semester, you are then eligible for the remaining two 4-month-long placement periods in summer 2020 and fall 2020.

If you have not been able to work in a municipal plant during your first placement semester, after graduation, you will need 4 more months (a total of 12 months) of industry-related work to obtain sufficient workplace hours to write the provincial licencing exams to become a fully Class I licenced operator.


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 wastewater systems work. The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) requires all students to have evidence acceptable to the MOE of their educational equivalence to Ontario high school 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.

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 September 2018 and January 2019 intake) are advised to proceed with this option: WES (World Education Services). This is the preferred route for students that want to work in municipal plants in their first placement semester, positioning them to accumulate the 12 months of related work experience needed to obtain their Class I operator’s exam within 2 years from starting the program.


2. Via Completing the First Year of the Program at Northern: After students successfully complete all their courses in the first two Academic semesters they 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 and their OIT certificate, they will be able to look for placement in municipal water plants for their 2nd placement semesters. This does not delay graduation from the program (possibly with a non-co-op diploma), but results in students not being eligible for their first placement in an Ontario municipal water plant.

Additional Information

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 in either fall 2018 or January 2019).
• Students can work in other jobs in Ontario (summer 2019).
• Students may find program-related work in non-municipal wastewater treatment plants (various industries, mines etc.) during summer 2019, and this first placement time may be able to count towards the co-op diploma.

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