Essential Fisheries Field Skills Certificate Program (EFFS)


The EFFS is a two-week fisheries field technician certification program offered by the Natural Resources Extension Program (NREP). The program focuses on practical skills training, and addresses the need for certified, skilled fisheries field technicians.

The EFFS will provide participants with in-demand skills and knowledge in salmonid biology/fish identification, fisheries field techniques, fish and fish habitat inventory and assessment (qualitative and quantitative), electrofishing certification, and water quality sampling and monitoring techniques.


The EFFS is designed to address the need for certified, skilled fisheries field technicians. This program is designed to provide relevant, in-demand training to individuals seeking to acquire or upgrade fisheries field skills. Graduates of this program may then become certified technicians, ideally suited for employment conducting fish habitat inventory and assessment.

Class vs Field

Class: 3.5 days; Field: 6.5 days


The EFFS has one pre-requisite; successful completion of an approved First Aid course having a CPR component. Please note: first aid training may be completed after completion of the EFFS program.

Who enrolls in the EFFS?

This high-paced program is designed to provide high-quality skills training to new or existing environmental practitioners wishing to update and expand their skills and abilities. Participants that commonly enroll in this program include; environmental consultants, existing field technicians, resource workers, First Nations, individuals new to the industry, and graduates of other post-secondary fisheries or environmental programs.

Completion Options

Participants may complete the program full-time or part-time, to meet their own schedule and conveniences. Issues to consider may also include; course availability, timing, cost, and travel requirements.


As a requirement for certification, participants will need to meet or exceed the following program standards.

  • 100% attendance for the program. 
  • 70% score on the program Knowledge Evaluations.

Employment Opportunities

Graduates of this program will find employment with a wide variety of employers, including; federal and provincial government agencies (e.g., DFO, provincial government), consultants (environmental, forestry, fisheries), First Nations organizations, stakeholder groups (e.g., watershed protection groups), and other non-government organizations. A number of program graduates have established successful self-employment roles, fulfilling contracts with a wide variety of agencies and organizations.

The format and content of the EFFS is based largely on industry demands. The acquired field skills and knowledge from this program are currently in-demand in the fisheries and environmental fields. The course has been reviewed, critiqued, and received input from an industry panel (government, private, First Nations, non-government agencies). Graduates are "job-ready", and frequently experience high employment rates.

You Supply

Participants must supply their own personal field gear and clothing. Mandatory items include; leak-proof chestwaders (rubber, nylon, or neoprene) with non-slip footwear (e.g., felt or cleated soles), brimmed hat (e.g., baseball hat), wading belt and polarized sunglasses. It is strongly recommended that participants also acquire; a field cruiser's vest, rubber boots, rain gear, and work gloves (leather or nylon). Participants are advised to contact sporting goods stores and specialty outfitters, such as flyfishing stores or outdoor equipment suppliers.

NREP staff will provide all field and classroom-related supplies and equipment, including; course manuals, electrofisher unit(s) and accessories, dipnets, linesman gloves, biological sampling and fish inventory equipment, and associated field equipment.


The EFFS is comprised of six course modules, delivered over a two-week period, Monday to Friday. The daily delivery format is typically an 8-hour session, with approximately three classroom days and seven field days. Classroom and field sessions typically run from 9 am - 4:30 pm and 9 am - 5 or 6 pm respectively. Longer field sessions are common when extensive travel to field sites is involved. Additionally, instructional staff is available for scheduled tutoring and assistance.

Course Schedule information.


Registration information.  


Course fees are refundable if you withdraw a minimum of 10 days prior to the start date of the course.Note that special refund deadlines are stated for some courses, and we are unable to issue refunds after those deadlines - information will appear in the intake's details available on the NREP schedule page.
Non-Refundable Fees: Some courses may have non-refundable tuition, application, and/or lab fees.
Please note: A full refund is issued if a course is cancelled.