Friday, January 11, 2013

Environmental Programs Prepare Students for Constantly Changing Field of Environmental Technology

The constantly changing field of environmental technology needs Environmental Protection Technicians to fulfill positions in areas such as: municipal/provincial/federal governments, environmental consulting/management firms, water/wastewater/industrial wastewater treatment operations, environmental and chemical laboratories, and manufacturing and energy production. Environmental Protection Technicians employed in these areas have duties such as: laboratory and fieldwork in water and waste chemistry; collecting samples of gases, soils, water, industrial wastewater, and asbestos products to conduct tests on pollutant levels and identify sources of pollution; responding to and investigating hazardous conditions or spills, or outbreaks of disease or food poisoning as well as collecting samples for analysis; making recommendations to control or eliminate unsafe conditions at workplaces or public facilities; and more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the environmental protection arena is projected to expand faster through 2018 than other occupations that require post-secondary training or an associate degree.

At Centennial College, students of the Environmental Technician program receive practical training in the three foundation disciplines of biology, chemistry and civil engineering — which teaches them to understand and manage complex environmental problems. This unique combination of technical skills greatly increases Centennial graduates’ career options.

Applicants to this environmental program are required to possess at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. They must also have completed the compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent and Math 11M or U, or 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent.

To ensure students are in the right program, the Environmental Protection Technician undertaking consists of a first semester that is common to all Biotechnology and Environmental Protection Technology programs at the college. This first semester features environmental program courses that include: Chemistry, Occupational Health and Safety, Intro to Biological Systems, Microcomputer Applications for Technology and others.

Once students have a solid understanding of what the Environmental Protection Technician field entails, they move onto more specific training. Among the courses in which they partake during the remainder of their time in the program are Microbiogoloy Techniques, Lab Instrumentation, Chemistry of Pollutants, Ecology, Organic Chemistry, Soils and Goundwater, Water Quality Control and more. Much of the course time is spent in labs where students learn to use tools and equipment that professionals use in the field, and participate in practice in water quality testing, groundwater movement and the chemistry of pollutants.

In addition to preparing students for the field, Centennial College's Environmental Protection Technician allows students to apply credits towards university degrees. Transfer credits/ advanced standing may be awarded for previous science or engineering education. Additionally, the offering ensures students are ready to write the Ontario Ministry of the Environment Operator in Training (OIT) and Water Quality Analyst (WQA) exams, and lets them apply to register with the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologist (OACETT).

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