BC's Indigenous Public Post-Secondary Institute

Environmental Resource Technician Certificate

Department: Link to department
Program Delivery Location: Merritt
Credential: Technician Certificate
Format: Full-Time, Part-Time
Start Dates: September, January

Environmental Resource Technician Certificate

The Environmental Resources Technology program ensures graduates are well rounded in natural resource sectors including forestry, fishery enhancement, environmental assessment, mining and grassland ecology. This generalist approach gives students various career paths they can travel within the natural resources sector.


Grade 12 graduation or equivalent including a C grade minimum in:

  • Foundations of Math 11 or Math 057

  • English Studies 12 or English 12 First Peoples, or English 060

  • Biology 11 or Life Sciences 11 or Biology 050

The Department Head may, in exceptional circumstances, admit applicants who are lacking certain program admission requirements, provided that the applicant can demonstrate s/he has a good chance of succeeding in the program.

NVIT is committed to ensuring education is accessible to all people. Students who do not meet program requirements should contact the Department Head or an NVIT Academic Planner regarding upgrading opportunities.


The first year of the program provides students with the skill set necessary for data collection work in the field. Students will learn field skills such as tree and plant identification, navigation skills, mapping skills for use in the field and with geographic information systems, soils identification, resource measurements (distance, heights, slope, diameters, and elevation) and fire ecology. Since many students will work within BC First Nations traditional territories, courses in Ethnoscience and Aboriginal case law are key to provide an understanding of the uniqueness and impact that First Nation people have on the land base. Upon completion of the first year of the program, students are granted an Environmental Resources Technician Certificate. This certificate qualifies students to carry out field data collection.

Year 1 Fall
The Environmental Resources Technician Certificate will be granted to the student who achieves a minimum 2 .0 cumulative GPA and who completes the 57 credits outlined in the certificate completion plan .
  • ENRT-110 - Introduction to Natural Resources
  • ENRT-141 - Aboriginal People and the Land
  • ENRT-150 - Silvics and Dendrology
  • ENRT-155 - Soil Science
  • ENRT-160 - Field Surveys I
  • MATH-140 - Technical Mathematics
  • STSC-101 - Strategies for Success 101
  • Year 1 Spring
  • COMM-140 - Technical Writing
  • COMP-140 - Geographic Information Systems
  • ENRT-145 - Fire Ecology
  • ENRT-165 - Field Surveys II
  • ENRT-170 - Principles of Ecology
  • SCIE-140 - Ethnoscience
  • Course Listing for this program

    COMM-140 - Credits: 3.000
    Technical Writing
    This course will provide students with the skills necessary to write technical papers as clearly, accurately, and succinctly as possible. Students will learn how to take accurate field notes, the difference between primary and secondary source information, and learn how to research and read technical papers. A major component of the course will focus on writing a research and review paper. More Details on this course
    Corequisites: ENRT 170
    COMP-140 - Credits: 5.000
    Geographic Information Systems
    In this course students will develop an understanding of the terms and principles of geographic information systems (GIS). Students will learn to create and enter database structures and reports, as well as apply GIS techniques for such functions as creating views, tables, charts and printing maps. Students will also incorporate the use of global positioning systems data with GIS. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission/instructor permission
    ENRT-110 - Credits: 3.000
    Introduction to Natural Resources
    The goal of this course is to provide students with an overview of the natural resources sector and current ecology and management issues. It serves as an introductory core course in the Environment Resources Technology Program, but is tailored for all students with an interest in natural resources. The lectures and field labs in the course provide a general overview of how scientific inquiry and knowledge can be integrated with First Nations, economic and cultural values to provide a basis for understanding the natural resource sector. The subject areas will include: forestry, wildland recreation, wildlife, mining, fisheries, rangeland, hydrology, and First Nations traditional ecological knowledge. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: None
    ENRT-141 - Credits: 5.000
    Aboriginal People and the Land
    Resource developments that occur throughout BC often encompass Aboriginal Traditional Territory. With landmark cases such as Calder, Sparrow and Delgamuukw, Aboriginal people are asserting their right to be included in decisions made about resource development. Natural Resource Technologists who may find themselves working within Aboriginal Traditional Territories need to understand that any decisions they may make regarding resource development could infringe on Aboriginal rights and title. This course will explore the history and perspectives of Aboriginal people toward resource development in Canada, the laws governing resource development and their implications to Aboriginal people and the future of resource development in Canada. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission/instructor permission
    ENRT-145 - Credits: 5.000
    Fire Ecology
    This course deals with fire behaviour as it is affected by weather, topography and fuel types. Weather instrument, fire weather and the Canadian Fire Weather Index System are studied in detail to understand fire ecology concepts. Prescribed burning techniques, use of water and fire pumps, domestic and industrial fire fighting methods are also included. Woods safety is stressed throughout this course. Fire suppression techniques, including use of water, bulldozers, skidders, rotary and fixed wing aircraft, air tankers, chemical retardant and other equipment are topics covered in this course. Initial attack and fire crew organization, detection, communications and pre-suppression methods and concepts are studied. Students will participate in a prescribed burn if the opportunity is presented. Ecological effects of fire on soils, plants and animals will be examined. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission/instructor permission
    ENRT-150 - Credits: 5.000
    Silvics and Dendrology
    This course is a study of the life history and general characteristics of forest trees and stands, with particular reference to locality as a basis for silviculture. Identification and systematic classification of trees and site indicator plants will be emphasized. Plants with traditional values to First Nations will also form an important part of this course. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission/instructor permission.
    ENRT-155 - Credits: 5.000
    Soil Science
    This course is designed to develop a basic understanding of soil productivity and the effect management practices have on soil as it pertains to water, grassland, wildlife and timber management. Topics covered are landform and soil formation, physical and chemical properties of soil, description of profiles, Canadian System of Soil Classification, bedrock classification and basic principles of hydrology. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission/instructor permission
    ENRT-160 - Credits: 5.000
    Field Surveys I
    This course is designed to provide the student with a basic understanding of how to operate field survey equipment such as a hand compass, clinometer and distance measuring devices. Students will also learn how to record data to industry standard and be introduced to various electronic data collectors such as global positioning systems receivers. Use of maps and aerial photographs will also be included in this course and basic algebra, geometry and trigonometry will be incorporated into various field and classroom exercises. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission/instructor permission.
    ENRT-165 - Credits: 5.000
    Field Surveys II
    This course is a continuation of Field Surveys I and will provide the student with a basic understanding of sampling methods used in the management of natural resources. Knowledge and use of such methods as fixed area, line transect and variable plot sampling will be developed, with an emphasis on industry standard note taking procedure and accuracy. This course will also incorporate basic algebra, geometry and trigonometry as it applies to the use of maps, orthophotos, satellite imagery and aerial photographs. Statistical analysis of data will also be included. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: ENRT 160 / MATH 140
    ENRT-170 - Credits: 5.000
    Principles of Ecology
    This course will study the relationship between organisms and their environment. Topics covered include perspectives in ecology, evolution and adaptation, the physical environment, the flow of energy and materials within an ecosystem, population and community ecology. Contemporary issues in ecology will also be explored. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: ENRT 150 / MATH 140 / ENRT 155
    Corequisites: COMP 140
    MATH-140 - Credits: 3.000
    Technical Mathematics
    This course is designed to introduce students to the principles and practices of mathematics with applications to technologies. Topics include: number systems, algebraic concepts, analytic geometry, function and graphs, and trigonometry. This course will apply mathematical principles, so that they can be used in practical problem solving exercises specific to natural resources management. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: MATH-057 / Foundations of Math 11, or Program admission/instructor permission.
    SCIE-140 - Credits: 5.000
    This course is designed to provide the student with a solid understanding of the importance of a Traditional Use Study to First Nation communities. The first section of the course will be devoted to understanding what T.U.S. is and how it evolved out of preparing for Treaty Negotiations. Considerable time will be devoted to understanding the theory, principles, tools and organization of Traditional Use Studies, particularly as it applies to British Columbia. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission/instructor permission.
    STSC-101 - Credits: 3.000
    Strategies for Success 101
    This course is a hybrid incorporating both online and classroom teaching. It introduces the students to college academic culture and connects them to the resources that will aid in their success. The course covers a variety of topics including: test-taking strategies, note-taking, time management, online research, student responsibilities and ethics, learning styles, and setting educational goals. More Details on this course

    Current Course Offerings

    01 = Merritt Campus
    V1 = Burnaby Campus

    Spring 2023 (January - April)

  • COMM-140-01
  • COMP-140-01
  • ENRT-145-01
  • ENRT-165-01
  • ENRT-170-01
  • SCIE-140-01
  • STSC-101-V1

    Find a course

    Search for: