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Fisheries Field Skills Certificate Program


The Fisheries Field Skills Certificate Program provides participants with skills and knowledge in WorkSafe-approved backpack electrofishing certification, fish identification, fisheries field techniques, fish and fish habitat inventory and assessment, stream invertebrate sampling, streambank restoration and water quality sampling and monitoring. 

Each NRTG course includes free, lifetime admission. Enrol once – come back anytime.

The 80-hour (two-week) Fisheries Field Skills Certificate Program includes online sessions while the majority of the program is field-based, and focuses on training individuals in a series  

How do I attend?

This course is available for individual registration via our website Schedule Page, or on contract to organizations/community groups.  Are interested in a contract delivery of this course? If so, please contact us.

Related Training 

More Information:

Fisheries Field Skills Certificate Program graduates are qualified to perform fish and fish habitat inventory and assessments directly, or as an assistant to professional biologists, hydrologists, experienced technicians, and other fisheries professionals.  

Upon successful completion, participants will be qualified and able to:  

  • Conduct standard fish and fish habitat inventory and assessment procedures 
  • Conduct backpack electrofishing surveys 
  • Perform water quality sampling procedures 
  • Conduct fisheries field hydrology procedures 
  • Conduct advanced fish habitat and fish population assessments 
  • Conduct biological sampling methods and design a biological sampling program 
  • Conduct fish inventory & capture procedures 
  • Design and conduct a stream invertebrate sampling program 
  • Construct and install streambank restoration techniques and structures 
  • Isolate an instream construction project and conduct a fish salvage 

The 80-hour (two-week) Fisheries Field Skills Certificate program is available in two formats:  

  1. A community-based, in-person instruction program delivered weekdays (Monday – Friday) for two consecutive weeks.  
  2. A blended online and field-based program delivered weekdays (Monday -Friday) for two consecutive weeks. This program version includes ‘student led’ field practicum sessions where students complete field sessions on their own, recording notes, video, images and returning to share and discuss those results with the online class.  

The Fisheries Field Skills Certificate delivery ‘season’ will vary by region, as the program requires suitable field conditions (unfrozen stream water and suitable water temperatures and flow levels, etc.). 

This course can also be customized for an organization and/or community based on their needs.  In its standard format, this course is comprised of two, one-week modules:   

Week 1:  Essential skills: Mapping, Orientation, Navigation, Compassing/GPS, Data Collection, Water Quality Monitoring, Stream Hydrology.  

Week 2:  Fish & Fish Habitat Inventory/Assessment, Aquatic Insect Inventory, Streambank Restoration, Fish Passage Methods, Electrofishing Certification  

Each weekly module can be delivered independently or combined with another NRTG training program. For instance, this course could be delivered as a one week course along with our Fish Habitat Restoration courses or any other NRTG training program.  

Please contact us with your ideas and needs, and we’ll work with you to design and deliver a specialized training program that meets your needs.  

None.  A standard one to two-day First Aid course is required as a co-requisite to the Electrofishing Certification training.  

Course participants are required to provide their own personal protective equipment: chest waders (with no leaks), wading belt, non-slip footwear, polarized glasses, and a hat with a brim (e.g., ball cap), and a waterproof field notebook. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We offer this course beginning in February in coastal regions and March in interior regions throughout North America. Please refer to our Schedule page for course timing and locations.

First aid training may be obtained before or after this training program.

Ensure first aid training is recognized and endorsed by WorkSafe agencies in North America. This one-day training program may be referred to by different titles, such as “Occupational First Aid” or “Standard First Aid”. Consult with your provincial or state WorkSafe authorities for more information.

Course participants are required to provide their own personal protective equipment (PPE): chestwaders (with no leaks), wading belt, non-slip footwear, polarized glasses, and a hat with a brim (e.g., ball cap), as well as the following equipment: clinometer, compass, waterproof field notebook, Eslon or other 30m measuring tape, minnow trap, ziplock bags, meter stick (1.2m wooden doweling, marked in centimeters), and bucket.

You can purchase chestwaders from Canadian Tire, Cabela’s, or industry suppliers such as Dynamic Aqua Supply (Surrey, BC), IRL Supplies (Prince George, BC), Winners Edge (Lillooet, BC), Surplus Herby’s (Williams Lake, Kamloops, Vernon BC), Forestry equipment suppliers across Canada and other outdoor equipment outfitters. Chestwaders can also be purchased from any flyfishing shop across Canada.

First, always ensure your chestwaders don’t leak! You can do this easily by holding a flashlight (or your phone) in your waders in a dark room. Beams of light coming out in small pinholes might indicate a small hole. Patch using Aqua seal or Shoe Goo.  

Neoprene chestwaders are appropriate for spring, fall and winter conditions but may be too warm for summer field work. Nylon chestwaders and Gore-Tex ® or breathable chestwaders are excellent choices for most seasons, where crew members wear warm layers (e.g., fleece, polypropylene) underneath during colder field conditions.

No, there is no requirement to recertify for this program. If there is a significant pause in your environmental monitoring fieldwork (e.g., four years or more), we would recommend that you recertify with NRTG. Note: all NRTG courses include free, lifetime certification. Enrol once – come back anytime.

NRTG’s Fisheries Field Skills Certificate program is accredited by BC’s College of Applied Biology (CAB). CAB will recognize graduates of the Fisheries Field Skills Certificate program as meeting the core academic requirements for entry as an Applied Biology Technician. An ‘Applied Biology Technician’ designation qualifies an individual as a BC provincially recognized and certified technician and helps to expand their industry credibility. 

NRTG also partners with post-secondary institutes across Canada, who offer their own non-credit Certificate of Completion for this program. Contact NRTG for further details.  

Absolutely! First, identify an upcoming Fisheries Field Skills Certificate program of interest and notify NRTG well in advance of the start date. We will do our best to create a free seat for past NRTG students and coordinate your attendance during the program.


Great course! Excellent balance of class vs. field and we learned valuable skills that will certainly help me with my position.

-Colin LaRochelle, Fisheries Technician, Lillooet, B.C.

This course was professionally conducted and provided training specific to the needs of our organization. Excellent instructors and course content.

-Natasha Lukey, Fisheries Technician, Merritt, B.C.

The FFS course was well planned out. The instructor (Kyle Milburn) did a fantastic job. This was easily one of the best courses I have ever taken in terms of information, experience, networking possibility, layout, and a balance of classroom and field sessions.

Brian Titaro, Vancouver, B.C.

Wonderful ‘hands on’ learning! Kyle was an excellent instructor, and ensured everyone maximized their learning and enjoyment. These are valuable skills that will help advance my career.

-Leigh Anne White, Fisheries Technician, Port Alberni, B.C.

Great information and instructors. I am experienced in the field and learned lots too.

-Patricia Clarke, Fisheries Technician, Merritt, B.C.

The instructors are very thorough and continuously ensuring we are on the same page. Excellent program, highly recommended!

-Sherry Michell, Fisheries Technician, Pavilion, B.C.

Excellent course, awesome instructors!

-Roxanne Pinyon, Environmental Technician, Merritt, B.C.

Great information and instructors. I am experienced in the field and learned lots too.

-Patricia Clarke, Fisheries Technician, Merritt, B.C.