Geological Technician (Co-op) (formerly Earth Resources Technician Co-op)

Formerly named: Earth Resources Technician (Co-op)

School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences

Accepting Applications for September 2022

See curriculum for: September 2023
Credential: Ontario College Diploma ( 5 semesters )
Classes begin:
September 06, 2022
Offered at:
Frost Campus
Program code:
Tuition & Ancillary Fees:
$2,153.63 per semester*
$8,502.70 per semester*
* Tuition and fees subject to change.

Vocational Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and classify the significance of a range of environmental, engineering or minerals samples and features in laboratory and field conditions, in accordance with professional standards and agency protocols
  • Work safely, professionally and ethically in compliance with applicable government legislation and guidelines, as well as industry standards and protocols in a multi-stakeholder environment.
  • Collect data, map and perform field and laboratory tests and analyses on representative environmental samples, in accordance with professional standards and agency protocols.
  • Calibrate, use and maintain field and laboratory equipment according to industry standards.
  • Use information technology tools, to effectively assemble, synthesize and present environmental data, in accordance with professional standards and ethics.
  • Evaluate appropriate field tests and field activities for site investigations in compliance with industry regulations and agency protocols.
  • Apply sustainability principles to environmental management activities and projects, in compliance with standardized environmental protocols, policies and procedures and industry regulations.
  • Conduct environmental risk assessments to identify hazards, opportunities or potential risks to human health and the environment in accordance with industry regulations and agency protocols.
  • Communicate technical information accurately and effectively in oral, written, and visual forms, to numerous stakeholders, in compliance with industry standards and established protocols.
  • Develop strategies for ongoing personal and professional development to enhance work performance and to remain current in the field of practice.
  • Prepare a portfolio of best practices that reflects personal growth, job readiness, and resources for ongoing professional development and learning.
  • Provide basic project management support in accordance with professional standards and ethics.
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of corporate strategies and practices within a multi-stakeholder environment.
  • Complete a Co-op Placement which meets the needs and expectations of the individual, the employer and the college, while adhering to legal, ethical, and professional standards and agency protocols.

Courses and Descriptions

Semester 1

Units/ Hours: 45

This course will enable students to apply specific mathematical concepts and acquire foundation skills important in the Natural Resource and Environmental Sciences. It is designed to complement and reinforce learning within other first semester courses and program areas.

COMM 201
Units/ Hours: 45

Communications I is an introductory course that provides a foundation in college-level communications by teaching students to read critically, write appropriately for a variety of audiences, conduct and cite research, and revise for clarity and correctness. In seminars and labs, students will engage in both independent and collaborative activities, including the development of a digital portfolio designed to help them become more effective communicators in academic and professional environments.

Units/ Hours: 60

This course introduces students to the processes and materials that shape our planet. Topics include the unifying theory of plate tectonics and how it underpins fundamental geological processes that operate on and within the Earth, the geological evolution of Canada, and the dynamic relationship between Earth, climate, and humans. Students will learn to identify rocks, minerals, and soils at an introductory level, and develop an understanding of Earth and its atmosphere.

Units/ Hours: 60

Learn how nature works by studying the key components of the ecosystems in the Kawartha Lakes Region. Through field and lab exploration of wild life, landforms, forests, lakes, rivers and wetlands, students will see the connections between themselves, the environment and ecosystems that surround them.

Units/ Hours: 60

This course will focus on three areas of study: identification, field and lab skills. Students will identify and classify the living and non-living components of the specific ecosystems described in the Ecology and Environment (ENVR 20) course. Field skills to be developed include the ability to navigate through the natural environment and use a variety of ecosystem inventory techniques. Special emphasis will be placed on safe work habits in lab and field.

GEOM 163
Units/ Hours: 45

Data used in the environmental and natural resource fields are nearly always tied to a geographic location. In this course students will learn the specialized skills needed to work with spatial data including mapping fundamentals, field data collection, data management, spatial analysis, and cartography. Students will use online mapping tools and ArcGIS to analyze geographic data and apply recognized cartographic standards to create a map related to their field of study.

Units/ Hours: 45

This course is an introduction to the study of Indigenous (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit) peoples in Canada. Students will explore the complex historical and contemporary relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The course will also guide students to begin to understand the diversity and depth of Indigenous societies, worldviews, and knowledge through a multi-disciplinary lens.

Semester 2

APST 154
Units/ Hours: 30

This course is designed to equip students with the skills needed for their work search and to develop and enhance career planning skills. Students will learn how to write competitive job search documents, interview with confidence, and will develop and use their career portfolio as a tool to identify and incorporate career goals into the job search process.

COMM 202
Units/ Hours: 45

Communications II, building on the foundation of Communications I, is a blended course that teaches students to write and communicate for a variety of professional situations. In seminars, labs and online modules, students will develop a professional portfolio that demonstrates their abilities to meet the challenges of a changing workplace.

Units/ Hours: 45

In this course, various techniques of subsurface sampling are examined and specific means of determining their major engineering properties are detailed in the lab. Students will be introduced to a variety of topics, including subsurface sampling equipment and methods, resource investigations and their environmental implications, subsurface water, bearing capacity, and introduction to deep foundations. Students will conduct all necessary tests in the labs, including index property tests, combined grainsize analysis, unconfined compressive tests, and shear strength tests.

SCIE 189
Units/ Hours: 60

This course is designed to provide a knowledge and understanding of the principles of chemistry. The following topics: matter and energy, atomic structure, properties and nomenclature of compounds, chemical bonding, chemical reactions, solutions, acids and bases, and a brief study of organic chemistry will be presented

APST 183
Units/ Hours: 60

This course introduces students to basic field methods, including collecting field notes, sampling techniques, stratigraphy, structural geology, and field safety. This immersive field course will also facilitate the development of cognitive and collaborative skills, and prepare students for a future in geoscience.

Units/ Hours: 60

This course is introductory and planned to enable students to megascopically recognize common minerals and gain an appreciation of how minerals form. It will provide a foundation for further studies in applied geology.

Units/ Hours: 18

This course introduces the student to safety protocols anticipated in the earth resource workplace. It will prepare the student to work in and to maintain a safe working environment. Contaminant risks and exposure action limits will be explained to encourage detection and avoidance of hazardous conditions.

Units/ Hours: 45

This course consists of practical laboratory exercises and lectures that stress the important aspects of the environmental and geotechnical fields. Topics covered will include soil index properties, earth works, ground water studies, and environmental concerns.

Units/ Hours: 45

This course covers data organization, the basic statistical parameters, confidence intervals for means, the normal distribution, hypothesis testing (Chi-square, 'F', 't' and Anova), and regression analysis.

Semester 3

APST 100
Units/ Hours: 645

The Earth Resources Technician co-operative experience (co-op placement) provides the student with the opportunity to experience directly, active participation in the Earth Resources Industry. The student will perform appropriate industry related tasks/duties which contribute to the student's educational program outcomes in the areas of measuring, monitoring, presentation skills, and work place dynamics. The co-op placements will take place within the geotechnical, geo-environmental or minerals industry sectors, and can be supplemented with appropriate community related and relevant experiences. During this learning experience, each student will work under the direction of an industry supervisor and liaise with college staff. In preparing individuals to enter a career in the earth resources industry, a blend of theoretical knowledge, practical skills and general related abilities are essential. The co-op experience is designed to augment the in-class curriculum and allow the students to take their learning experience from the classroom to the industry; and from industry to studies focused on synthesis and analysis. The co-op placement immerses the student in the real life environment of the earth resources industry. Combined with duties and responsibilities assigned by the employer, the student must complete specific learning outcomes set out by the college. The evidence of course outcome completion is a report by the employer of technical and behavioural competence of the student, and a detailed report by the student demonstrating the exposures the candidate had to aspects of the industry.


Semester 4

Units/ Hours: 45

This course introduces students to the basics of two-dimensional drafting using AutoCAD. Drafting concepts and standards applicable to the earth sciences will be developed and applied to projects.

Units/ Hours: 60

This course surveys the technology of environmental sampling for air, water, soil and bedrock. Effective sampling of environmental and resource sites requires knowledge of the behaviour of materials, the site geology and the sample frequency/volumes to acquire good definition of site conditions. Personnel safety, communications skills and technical knowledge of best practicies are key considerations of the workplace and this course. Where applicable the current Province of Ontario policies on sampling are reviewed.

Units/ Hours: 45

This course examines the basic concepts of glaciation and resultant landforms. Field trips examine the main physiographic units found in Southern Ontario. The course also focuses on basic geomorphology concepts pertaining to weathering, mass movement, erosion, stream and valley development and coastal processes which have occurred since deglaciation. The course is intended to give students a basic knowledge of the impact glaciation and modern surficial processes have had on our natural environment. Field trips examine the main glacial, fluvioglacial and lacustrine features found in South Central Ontario and encourage hands on participation in sampling data acquisition. Laboratory analyses serve to document the relationships between texture and origin of these features and to emphasize the importance of soils to land development. A major composite term project allows the student to develop and apply participation, organization and writing skills.

Units/ Hours: 30

This course places the emphasis on the fundamental principles of Geomatics as they apply to Surveying. Electronic instruments will be used with emphasis on data loggers to obtain field positions with features and attribute data. These field locations and attributes will be used to create GIS related survey plans. Coordinate Geometry will be used in the computation of boundaries areas and volumes. The GIS features will be implemented using practical field projects and the projects will be related to land information systems.

Units/ Hours: 45

This course will introduce students to the field of Anthropology and facilitate their critical thinking skills over a broad range of subject matters in order to better understand the human experience as a whole. While learning about the four fields of Anthropology, students will explore the biological and evolutionary roots of humankind, the rise and fall of complex civilizations, the importance of linguistics and symbolism, the role of social structure, inequality, gender, ethnicity as well as a focus on the experience of Canadian Indigenous groups. Students will engage with course material as well as their own ideas and experience to better understand what it means to be human.

Semester 5

Units/ Hours: 45

The course prepares students to carry out analysis of rock, soil and water samples. Topics will include sampling methods, sample dissolution and preservation, and Field instrumentation for Water analysis. The methods of ion analysis such as titration techniques, Specific Ion electrodes, spectrophotometry, Anion Chromatography, Atomic Absorption, ICP Spec and GC/MS will be studied.

Units/ Hours: 60

This course introduces students to a number of exploration concepts, including grid layout and map making, through studies of the magnetic, frequency domain electromagnetic, gravimetric and, radiometric geophysical methods. Applications of these methods to environmental contamination, mineral exploration and, geotechnical site investigations will be stressed throughout the course. Students will produce a number of geophysical maps using dedicated mapping software (Geosoft), carry out magnetic diurnal drift corrections, undertake an on-campus Magnetic Field Survey, producing a contoured map, along with a report. Students will have an opportunity to use a number of geophysical instruments in field situations.

GEOL 162
Units/ Hours: 60

This course introduces the principles and properties which govern the occurrence, movement, and management of groundwater resources. Major topics include the hydrogeological properties of soils and bedrock, installation and testing of wells, groundwater contamination and remediation, and sustainability of water resources. Exercises focus on field and laboratory methods of determining hydraulic conductivity and flow direction, interpreting test results, remediation techniques, and reporting.

Units/ Hours: 45

This course provides the student with tools to assess bedrock stability, utilize quarried and crushed rock, assess ground water movement in bedrock and broader exposure to the science of geology as related to folding/faulting and jointing. The student will become familiar with a suite of metamorphic rocks and minerals as part of the geological studies. The various schemes for rock mass rating will be explored in the course.

Units/ Hours: 45

This course inter relates the basic properties of soil and rock masses with site observations to assess stability of land formations (both natural and man-made) and structures built on certain formations. Settlement, landsliding, and slope stability are a few of the major topics covered. Laboratory exercises will include settlement studies from consolidations testing, circular arc slope stability, and physical and chemical stability of certain bedrock formations.

Units/ Hours: 45

All graduates of diploma programs require general education credits. These courses allow you to explore issues of societal concern by looking at the history, theory and contemporary applications of those issues.

Your program has designated some required general education courses. In addition, you have the opportunity to choose from a list of electives each semester.

Many of these courses and some other general education courses are also available through evening classes, by distance education, or on-line. See our Part-Time Studies Calendar for these opportunities.

You may already possess general education equivalencies from other colleges or universities. Please see the General Education Co-ordinators at the Peterborough and Lindsay locations for possible exemptions.