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Associate Diploma in Environmental Technician


Study the Environment

Protect our water, reduce our environmental footprint and solve environmental issues by protecting and managing our resources. Tailor your learning to your area of interest: conservation and natural resources; water and wastewater treatment; or municipal/industrial/agricultural.

Learn how daily life impacts the environment and how the latest research discoveries can protect our environment and resources.

Program Benefits

2-year program

In only two years, you’ll be ready for your career with applied and practical experiences in lectures and labs.

Access to unique facilities

Explore course concepts in off-campus facilities including the Ridgetown Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Prep for industry exams

Graduates are eligible to write: MECP’s Operator in Training Certificate exam, OACETT’s Professional Practice (PPE) exam and the Entry-Level for Drinking Water Operators exam.


of graduates are employed within 2 months of program completion.

450 acres

of beautiful campus grounds and research plots.


anaerobic digester on campus.

Co-op Option

Co-operative education is an opportunity for you to extend your learning beyond the classroom. As a co-op student, you will gain work experience, build professional networks, and develop interpersonal skills essential to pursuing a career as an environmental technician. Plus, you’ll get paid while earning your diploma.

In the co-op program, you will participate in one (1) co-op work term (during the summer) in addition to four academic semesters.

Co-op students receive an exceptional level of support in securing a placement. You will take a co-op preparatory course, a Co-op Coordinator will assist you during the employment process, and you will have access to senior student mentors.

Degree Pathways

Graduates of the Associate Diploma in the Environmental Technician program who have achieved a minimum 70% cumulative average may apply to transfer into the Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management with a major in Environmental Management and receive 5.0 transfer credits. Learn more about the U of G Degree Pathway here.

Required Courses

Year One

DAGR*1090 Students will develop written language skills and become proficient at using word processing software. Practical skills include writing business letters and other business correspondence, resumes, formal and informal reports, instructional writing, critical thinking and critical writing. Students will become familiarized with campus software systems including campus e-mail, library resources, and classroom support software. Instruction will be provided in computer file management and using the internet as a research tool.
DENM*1000 This course will expose the student to a broad range of environmental issues facing society today. The course will present the student with issues such as environmental quality and protection, the effects of industrialization and the need for conservation, global warming and the production and politics of food and its affect on the global, national, regional and local environmental quality.
DENM*1120 This course will introduce students to mathematical concepts used by Wastewater, Water, Distribution and Collection Operators. The material taught will address the concepts required to write the optional Ministry of the Environment “Operator In Training Exams”. Students will learn how to evaluate the efficiency of the individual process units of the plant and understand the basic mathematical concepts that are essential for maintaining efficient plant operation and compliance with environmental approvals and regulations.
DENM*1150 This course will introduce the student to the Canadian legal process. The development of statutes, regulations and by-laws and the roles and responsibilities of the various levels of government will be explored from an environmental and constitutional context. Environmental compliance, tort law, due diligence, corporate environmental liability, the role of the media and NGO’s, and the role and responsibilities of regulatory agencies will be examined. Environmental policies and treaties dealing with issues such as climate change, Alberta oil and hazardous waste as examples will be discussed.
DENM*1200 This course will explore the environmental, legal, technical and ethical aspects of the management, control and abatement of reportable spills to the environment. Spill response reporting requirements, site remediation options, spill prevention and contingency planning will be included. Students will gain a detailed understanding of the site assessment process by completing a Phase 1 and Phase 2 assessment of a contaminated property and developing a decommissioning strategy for their chosen site.
DENM*2200 This course will introduce the Environmental Management student to the various methods used to measure environmental impact. Students will achieve a summary understanding of the various government and other agency threshold limits and guidelines of environmental parameters such as water quality, vegetarian, terrestrial and social impact analysis.
DAGR*2090 Students will develop effective oral communication and presentation skills using software. Oral communication skills, preparing formal and informal reports with and without technological support. Practical presentation skills include the use of voice, eye contact, time appropriateness and response to questions. Students will also understand the importance of formalized meetings and be instructed in the use of spreadsheet software as a data management tool. Software available on personal electronic devices used to access business and production information will be overviewed.
DENM*2150 Water is a precious resource that is all-too-often taken for granted. This course will demonstrate the significance of the various elements of the hydrologic cycle (e.g. precipitation, runoff, infiltration, groundwater recharge and discharge, etc.) It will focus on water supply systems, water wastewater perspective with other jurisdictions and the world. The students will learn of common water quality problems, including causes, and pathways that contaminants follow to reach water and groundwater.
DENM*3000 Introduction to the use of statistics in the field of environmental management. Basic concepts include probability, observations, generalization of means, normal distribution, standard deviation, standard error, sampling, principles of experimental design, use of correlation and regression, index numbers.
DENM*3100 This course is designed for students in environmental studies. The importance from an environmental point of view, including water systems and soils as well as their importance in disease, nutrition, food and food processing will be emphasized.
DHRT*2230 This course examines the role of agriculture, landscape horticulture and nursery production on soil processes and properties, and water resources. The course will examine best management practices to conserve soil and water resources and enhance the quality of the ecosystems of which they are a part. In the course, soil and water conservation techniques including plant selection, xeriscaping, the use of ground covers, and dry shade gardening will be covered. The student will also be introduced to various aspects of the hydrologic cycle in the context of designing landscapes and production systems to reduce water use.

Year Two

DENM*2000 This course provides an introduction to the topic of occupational health and safety. Topics to be covered include current Ministry of Labour Statutes and Regulations that pertain to the workplace. Students will become informed and conversant with topics including hazardous materials, hazardous chemicals, material safety data sheets, the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System and health and safety planning.
DENM*2100 An introduction to the science of ecology, the study of interactions between organisms and their environments. Major topics include adaptation, populations, communities, biodiversity, ecosystems and competition. The effects of climate and human activities on ecological processes are also considered. Ecological principles are used to explain the issues associated with several environmental problems.
DENM*3120 This course will introduce the student to the basic principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), map reading and production. They will learn how to read maps and to create their own maps using current GIS technology. Students will learn to use GIS software, the Global Positioning System (GPS) and how these tools are used to collect, organize and store spacial data. finally, Remote Sensing techniques will be examined reviewing the range of technology from basic air photo interpretation to the full range of current electronic sensors utilized by the land management professionals.
DENM*4000 Students will be introduced to a basic understanding of entrepreneurship and business ethics. They will learn how a business is formed and various legal structures, marketing, book keeping, public presentation skills and how to write a resume. The student will become acquainted with business planning, budgets and financial planning, proposal writing and delivery. Finally the students will study the advantages of professional designation and the rights and responsibilities that come with it.
DAGR*4600 Students will learn the theoretical and practical skills of management and interacting with people. Topics will include recruiting, supervising, motivation, training employees, effective listening, dealing with difficult people, group dynamics and leadership skills.
DENM*4050 This course is designed to give the student an opportunity to thoroughly review the environmental systems of an industry, municipality, agribusiness and/or agricultural enterprise. The student will complete an Environmental Management System using Gap analysis and create environmental policies and action plans.
DENM*4400 This four-week mandatory, post-semester training and evaluation period will offer the students the opportunity to gain practical experience in off-campus work placements typical of those available to them upon graduation. Students are required to perform many of the duties that are commonly performed by graduates and are assessed by industry representatives as well as the course instructor. Reports of their experiences will be required to be submitted to the course instructor at the conclusion of their experience. A passing grade is required to complete the diploma. Students choosing to do their work placement in the water or wastewater treatment field must have successfully completed OIT certification in order to participate in the externship.


  • The Associate Diploma in Environmental Technician requires the completion of  24 courses (12.00 credits) total
  • Wide variety of electives to choose from
  • Successful completion of a 4-week Industry Work Placement, at the end of Semester 4, is also required
  • For a list of all courses and the curriculum layout, please refer to the Associate Diploma Calendar


  • Agriculture environmental advisor
  • Compliance officer
  • Conservation officer
  • Environmental Farm Plan consultant
  • Nutrient management advisor
  • Renewable energy technician
  • Research technician
  • Waste management technician
  • Wastewater treatment plant Operator
  • Water treatment plant operator

There is currently 1 career opportunity posted on the job posting page


  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or Equivalent
  • A minimum cumulative average of 65% in 6 Grade 11 or Grade 12 U, C, M, or O level courses (excludes co-op credits)
  • Includes a minimum of Grade 11C Math and Grade 12C English
  • Or apply under Mature Student Status: Applicants don't have a high school diploma/equivalent but are 19 years of age or older and out of high school for a minimum of 1 year; pre-admission testing may be required

Acceptable English Proficiency Tests

International English Language Testing System (IELTS - Academic)

  • Competence Level: Minimum overall score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.

Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL)

  • Competence Level: Minimum overall band score of 70.
  • Please note that the University of Guelph will be accepting the CAEL Online Test for Fall 2021 admission only and will re-evaluate the opportunity for future use.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • Competence Level: Internet-based: minimum total score of 89 with no individual scaled score less than 21.

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

  • Competence Level: Minimum overall score of 60 and no score less than 60 for any individual component.

Advanced Level of the English Language Certificate Program (ELCP)

  • Competence Level: Successful completion of the University of Guelph, Open Learning Advanced Level of the English Language Certificate Program (Levels 9 and 10).

Cambridge English: C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency

  • Competence Level: Minimum overall score of 176 with no band less than 169.

Duolingo English Test*

  • Competence Level: Minimum overall score of 110.

The University of Guelph institution code is 0892.


Ontario Resident Year 1 Approximate Costs In CAD
Tuition $3,198.60
Compulsory Fees $1,846.60
Textbooks $381.00
Residence (Double Room) $3,934.00
Meal Plan $4,648.00
Total $14,008.20
Out of Province Year 1 Approximate Costs In CAD
Tuition $3,358.53
Compulsory Fees $1,846.60
Textbooks $381.00
Residence (Double Room) $3,420.00
Meal Plan $4,261.00
Total $13,267.13
International Year 1 Approximates Costs In CAD
Tuition $12,618.08
Compulsory Fees $2,602.60
Textbooks $381.00
Residence (Double Room) $3,420.00
Meal Plan $4,261.00
Total $23,282.68

Estimates based on 2022-2023 fee schedule.


  • Anaerobic Digester
  • Level 1 Microbiology Lab
  • Lecture halls
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Library and Resource Centre
  • Study Lounge
  • Student residence
  • Cafeteria
  • Gymnasium
  • Lots of green space on-campus

Are you ready to Improve Life?