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Essential Fisheries Field Skills Certificate Program

Course Description

The Essential Fisheries Field Skills Certificate Program (EFFS) is a highly applied, two-week training program that provides 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. This program is suitable for new or existing environmental practitioners wishing to update and expand their skills and abilities. Participants that commonly enroll 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.


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


Class: 3.5 days; Field: 6.5 days

This course is comprised of six modules delivered over a two-week period, Monday to Friday. Classroom sessions typically run from 9am to 4:30pm and field sessions typically run from 9am to 5pm or 6pm. Longer field sessions are common when extensive travel to field sites is involved.


Successful completion of an approved first aid course containing a CPR component. Please note that first aid training may be completed after completion of the EFFS program.


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

  • 100% attendance
  • 70% score on the program's Knowledge Evaluations

Employment Opportunities

Graduates of this program will find employment with a wide variety of employers, including; federal and provincial government agencies (ie. DFO, provincial government), consultants (environmental, forestry, fisheries), First Nations organizations, stakeholder groups (ie. 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 demand. The acquired field skills and knowledge from this program are currently in-demand in fisheries and environmental fields. The course has been reviewed, critiqued, and received input from an industry panel (government, private, First Nations, non-governmental agencies). Graduates are "job-ready", and frequently experience high employment rates.

You Supply

Students are responsible for supplying their own personal field equipment, as follows:


  • leak-proof chest-waders (rubber, nylon, or neoprene) with non-slip footwear (ie. felt or cleated soles)
  • brimmed hat (ie. baseball hat)
  • wading belt and polarized sunglasses


  • field cruiser's vest
  • rain gear (including rubber boots)
  • work gloves (leather or nylon)

Participants are advised to contact sporting goods stores and specialty outfitters, such as fly-fishing stores or outdoor equipment suppliers.

Other necessary field and classroom-related supplies and equipment will be provided for you, including; course manuals, electrofisher units and accessories, dipnets, linesman gloves, biological sampling/fish inventory equipment, and associated field equipment.

Upcoming Deliveries and Registration Information

See our program schedule for a list of all upcoming NREP course deliveries. If this course is not currently noted in the schedule, please contact NREP@viu.ca to enquire about future opportunities. Prior to registering for any NREP course, please review the program's registration guidelines, including important refund policy information.