Educational mining and energy programs offered in Western Canada

These schools train Canada’s next generation of workers

by Jillian Clark
Students are in a forest for an outdoor classroom as part of a mining education experience.

Outdoor classrooms can be part of the mining education experience. — Photo courtesy NWCC

There is no arguing that Canada’s workforce is aging. Western Canada’s schools are prepared to replace the skilled tradespeople, engineers, geologists and businesspeople as they retire from the mining and energy sector.

Most schools also are expanding to meet the demands of evolving industries. They are working to align their curriculum with current industry standards and are teaching their students the skills needed to create innovative solutions for the energy problems that challenge the country.

Below are 10 mining- and energy-related educational programs offered in Western Canada.

Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering at the University of Alberta
The University of Alberta offers one of two mining engineering degree programs in all of Canada. Its proximity to Canada’s hotbed of mining and its broad range of subjects prepare graduates for a career in the industry. This program covers both surface and underground mining, as well as the physics and math required for the role.
Length: 4 years
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Certified Crane Training Incorporated (CCT Inc)
CCT Inc offers on-site crane training across Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Choose from 10 on-site courses including Overhead Crane Cab Operator Certificate, Rigging and Inspection Certificate, and Jib Crane Operator Certificate. Courses range from single-day to nine-week programs. CCT Inc also offers online courses for individuals or group training purposes.
Length: varies
Location: Western Canada

Doctor of Philosophy in Mining Engineering (PhD) at the University of British Columbia
Some areas of mining require higher education. The University of British Columbia provides exactly that. Students leave with a PhD in Mining. This program explores innovative solutions in the industry: mineral extraction and processing, and environmental issues, among others. Graduates leave with the research and critical thinking skills necessary to lead advances in industry practices.
Length: 2 years
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Bachelor of Science in Oil and Gas Engineering at the University of Calgary
Study in the energy capital of Canada at the Schulich School of Engineering. A subsection at the University of Calgary, the oil and gas program teaches students about geology, energy and mass conservation, and thermodynamics. The university suggests students pair this undergraduate program with a minor in Management or Enterprise Development for a competitive edge in their job hunt.
Length: 4 years
Location: Calgary, Alberta

Geology at Mount Royal University
The job of a geologist is a lot more technical than it used to be. Mount Royal offers a Bachelor of Science in Geology. The program teaches students about petroleum and mining, covering topics ranging from environmental aspects to diamonds and tarsands. This program includes plenty of lab and fieldwork to give students a hands-on experience unlike typical university degrees.
Length: 4 years
Location: Calgary, Alberta

Mineral Exploration and Mining Technology at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
BCIT programs are available full-time, part-time or on a course-by-course basis for people in the industry looking for a refresher. The Mineral Exploration and Mining Technology diploma program teaches students about geology, methodology, exploration and surveying. Students experience a combination of traditional fieldwork and regular use of innovative mining technology. This hands-on approach sets students up to easily integrate into their respective careers.
Length: 2 years
Location: Burnaby, British Columbia

Haul Truck Operator Program at the College of the Rockies (COTR)
COTR works closely with Teck Coal—a benefit of its location in East Kootenay. The Haul Truck Operator Program offers one-on-one training with instructors straight from the industry. The simulators give students hands-on experience without leaving campus, and each student leaves with the necessary skills to find a job quickly. A Mining Supervisor Safety Certificate is also offered at COTR. This program is a quick upgrade for current workers.
Length: 4 weeks
Location: Cranbrook and Fernie, British Columbia

School of Exploration and Mining at Northwest Community College (NWCC)
The School of Exploration and Mining offers a variety of programs that lead to careers in the industry. Courses include drill core technician basic training and surface diamond drilling. Available programs rotate through the schedule, ranging from 40 days to 11 weeks in duration. Programs are continuously evolving to meet the demands of the energy sector. NWCC also offers mobile and customizable courses in modular formats to train employees within a single company.
Length: varies
Location: Smithers, British Columbia

School of Communications at Simon Fraser University
In every mining company, someone needs to know how to communicate between the geologists, investors, partners, media and others involved in a specific project. Communications roles will become more important as standards in the mining industry increase. Communication roles help solve social and environmental road blocks in the exploration stage of a mine, or work with the public throughout a mine’s life. Simon Fraser University’s School of Communications offers a variety of courses that help students build a multi-purpose toolbox of skills to be applied in the industry.
Length: 4 years
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)
SAIT offers a range of programs that lead to oil and gas, and energy careers. SAIT’s programs include more than just the standard engineering and drilling programs: oil and gas specialized accounting, administration, and management; construction management; vehicle operator certificates; electrical and electronics engineering; machinist technician; and health and safety courses. Almost an entire mine operation could receive their credentials from SAIT.
Length: varies
Location: Calgary, Alberta

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