What will I learn?

Environmental Technician – Water and Wastewater Systems Operations 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.

Program Description

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.

Important Information: International Students

In order to be eligible to write the OIT examination noted above, the Ministry of the Environment requires that all students, including international students writing their Drinking Water & Wastewater Operator/Water Quality Analyst Certification will need to have their high school equivalency in order to qualify to write the examination.

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.

Which department am I in?

School of Engineering Technology and Trades

Study options

Online/Distance with attendance (4 semesters)

Tuition fees
Tuition Fees Estimate for 1st Year (Fall: CAN $14,877.50 /; Winter: CAN $16,000 - CAN $16,350)

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

6 January 2021


Kirkland Lake Campus

140 Government Road E,


Ontario (ON),

P2N 3L8, Canada

Entry requirements

For students from United States

The minimum requirement for admission to a post-secondary program is an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD/OSSGD) or its equivalent, including Grade 12 English. Individuals who are 19 years of age or older may apply as mature students. IELTS 6.0, Internet based TOEFL 79.

For international students

Industry Regulations and Licencing

Operator-In-Training (OIT) Certificate: This is a “learner’s permit” earned via an exam taken during our program, that is required to work in municipal water or waste-water plants.

The Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) oversees this process, and requires that students must pass an OIT written exam AND provide evidence of equivalent to Ontario Grade 12 education prior to working in these plants.

Class 1 Operator Licencing: A Class 1 operator licence is the entry-level qualification needed to work as a full-time water and/or waste-water operator in Ontario. We provide students with the theoretical knowledge to write this exam that is set by the MOE’s Water and Wastewater Certification Office (OWWCO).

Students must also first obtain a total of 12 months of industry-related work – via placements, summer jobs or after graduation - to be able to write this provincial licencing exam and become a fully Class I licenced operator.

Proficiency Tests for International applicants for whom English is a second language must demonstrate proficiency in both spoken and written English by taking the following:

International English Language Testing System (IELTS): overall score of 6.0 must be achieved, with no individual Band score under 5.5.

Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic: 58+

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): A score of 550 paper and 213 computer-based; 79-IBT.


About this uni

Northern College is one of 24 public colleges of applied arts and technology in Ontario, Canada and is rated number one for employer satisfaction.

  • Offers best-in-class college programs to suit every student
  • Located in small but safe and friendly communities
  • Blends quality teaching with industry required skills
  • Ideally located for seasonal sports and activities