Do you have a love for the outdoors and a desire to help keep Canada’s natural spaces healthy and prosperous? Does the idea of searching for clues and investigating cause/effect interest you?

The Biological Sciences Technology – Conservation Biology 2-year diploma program will help you develop the skills needed to ensure that our natural resources are used in an optimal way that is sustained for future generations. Your knowledge and technical expertise will also allow you to engage in resource management activities without compromising the integrity or sustainability of the ecosystems in which they work.

Sep 01, 2023

Quick Facts

Credential: Diploma

Diplomas are credit programs that take 2 to 3 years and lead to government approved and industry-recognized credentials.

Campus: Main

Any in-person components of your courses will be delivered at NAIT's Main Campus in Edmonton. View map

Delivery Options:

  • Both On-Campus and Virtual - Some of your coursework will be in-person, on campus and some will be done online.

Length: 2 Years

With a typical full-time course load, this program will take 2 Years to complete.

Open Studies: Available

This program has courses that are available for Open Studies. Open Studies allows you to explore credit courses without applying to a program. It is an opportunity to get a feel for school and what program you want to be in. View courses

International Students: Accepted

This program accepts international students, however, program availability may be limited. Check program availability for this term. This program also meets the eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit program. Each student is responsible for maintaining their eligibility throughout their studies.

Grad Employment Rate

Employment rates reported by NAIT alumni are for information purposes and do not guarantee future employment opportunities.

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Median Starting Salary

Salaries reported by NAIT alumni are for information purposes and are not a guarantee of future alumni income.

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Hands-on, industry-relevant skills

In this program, you’ll acquire skills used in field sampling, environmental education and resource management by studying chemistry, botany and the biology and ecology of birds, fish, mammals, insects, plants, rivers, lakes and soils.

You’ll also explore genetics, wildlife surveys, plant and animal diversity, soil and range management, water quality issues, parks management and environmental education projects.

With the help and support of instructors with years of industry experience, you’ll learn in a combination of classroom, lab and field settings. Our facilities will provide you with practical, job-ready experience using a variety of modern laboratory and field instruments, and simulation and computer applications. You may also learn through work experience, field trips, applied research and other opportunities. 

Woman on a boat

Biological Sciences Team Inspect River Samples

Field Skills

  • collect and identify plants, invertebrates, mammals, birds and fish
  • measure and monitor biodiversity of aquatic and terrestrial systems
  • conduct field studies on ecological systems
  • perform soil, vegetation and water quality analyses
  • working and navigating in remote and adverse conditions
  • conduct environmental site assessments
  • operate and maintain field equipment
  • present information as an interpreter or naturalist
  • collect and analyze water, soil and biological samples for analysis

Laboratory Skills

  • perform necropsies on mammals, birds and fish
  • prepare and age fish structures
  • prepare and identify vascular and non-vascular plant specimens
  • prepare reagents

Additional Skills

  • opportunities to work independently and apply team building skills
  • design and manage a group-based project
  • use legislation and standards related to environmental and park management issues
  • prepare literature searches, oral presentations and written reports
Worksite Presentation

Labs and classrooms

You can expect to spend, on average:

  • 30 hours per week attending classes over the course of a semester
  • 15 to 20 hours per week studying and completing class assignments outside of scheduled class time

We maintain 6 dedicated instructional laboratories for the delivery of program curriculum, supported by a technical support team of 5 skilled and dedicated individuals. These labs contain an extensive inventory of scientific equipment for investigative and instructional purposes.

Recent articles

Students help endangered bats at Cadomin quarry

Partnership with industry produces an award-winning approach to conservation.

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A long trip through the Arctic for a rare bird

Dave Critchley spent his summer vacation in a way that few would consider a vacation.

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NAIT students band together for birdwatching project in isolation

Watching the comings and goings of their local birdfeeders is more than idle daydreaming – it’s gathering important data for an international research project.

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The race to save Alberta's bats

As a deadly disease closes in on the province, Dave Critchley is on a mission to save Alberta's bats.

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Enter the workforce with confidence

Upon graduation, you may find work with consulting companies, regulatory agencies, analytical laboratories, government agencies or post-secondary institutions. You may also find environmental monitoring opportunities in industry.

Typical jobs secured by graduates include:

  • wildlife technologist
  • fisheries technologist
  • biodiversity field technologist
  • environmental educator
  • conservation officer
  • museum technologist
  • laboratory technologist
  • weed inspector
  • independent consultant
Conservation Biology

Pre/post graduation affiliations and certifications

The following professional affiliations and certifications are often required in the conservation biology field in order to prove professional competence and adherence to safe work/research practices:

  • WorkSafeBC Accredited Backpack Electrofishing Crew Member Certification
  • Alberta Hunter Education Instructor Association certification (optional)
  • Alberta Safety Council (ASC) Standard:
    • Alberta Safety Council Bear Awareness Certification
    • All Terrain Vehicles Safety (optional)
  • Industry Canada Restricted Aeronautical Radio Operators Certificate (ROC-A)
  • Pleasure Craft Operators License (optional)
  • Possession and Acquisition License (optional)
  • Standard First Aid (optional)
  • Stream Crossing Assessment (optional)
  • Eligible for student membership with the Alberta Society of Engineering Technologists (ASET)
  • Eligible for student membership with the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists
  • Eligible for student membership with the Alberta Institute of Agrologists

Professional associations

Alberta Society of Professional Biologists

As a professional society and self-regulating body, the ASPB is committed to the promotion of excellence in the practice of biology.

Alberta Institute of Agrologists

The AIA regulates the profession of Agrology and strives to address these issues in an objective, competent and ethical manner.

Become a certified engineering technologist

Students of this program are eligible for student membership in the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET).

Do you have a love for the outdoors and a desire to help keep Canada’s natural spaces healthy and prosperous? Does the idea of searching for clues and investigating cause/effect interest you?

The Biological Sciences Technology – Conservation Biology 2-year diploma program will help you develop the skills needed to ensure that our natural resources are used in an optimal way that is sustained for future generations. Your knowledge and technical expertise will also allow you to engage in resource management activities without compromising the integrity or sustainability of the ecosystems in which they work.

Is this program right for you?

To be successful as a biological scientist, you must be able to work in a team and communicate effectively with strong interpersonal skills. You may also need to update and/or develop specialized skills to fulfill the needs of your employer or position.

Due to the nature of renewable resource industries, employment opportunities are often found in remote or rural areas. To give yourself the best chance for a rewarding career, you must be willing to relocate to various geographical locations within the province or Western Canada.

Water Sample Collection

Advanced Credit

You may apply for advanced credit once you have been accepted into the program. Advanced credit can be Transfer Credit (for completed post-secondary courses) or PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition).

Transfer Credit

In addition to the common guidelines outlined on the Transfer and Credit Options section, your program has other advanced credit requirements that are applied to each request including:

  • You must have completed the course or program no more than 7 year(s) ago unless a formalized articulation agreement is in place
  • You must have a minimum mark of C in the course(s) or program

Read more about advanced credit or contact us about applying for credit for this program.

Courses

Expand each course below to see details about credits, requisites, scheduling, and more.

Tuition & Fees

Scholarships & Awards

The following scholarships and/or bursaries are available to you as a student in this program. To access your opportunities, visit the Student Portal.

Admission Requirements

Want to learn more about this program?

Thank you for your interest! We want to get you in contact with the right person to answer your questions.

Please contact the Student Service Centre for general inquiries such as:

  • Student application support
  • Program entrance requirements, tuition & fees, and how to apply
  • Program admissions process
  • Enrolment support
  • Student funding options
  • Fee and refund inquiries
  • General program and course withdrawal procedures
  • Navigating nait.ca and MyNAITPortal

Contact Student Service Centre

Please fill out the form below if you have any program-specific questions relating to:

  • Program details
  • Work-integrated learning and cooperative education
  • Advance credit and Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR)
  • Program and course withdrawal



The personal information on this form is being collected under the authority of the Post-secondary Learning Act and section 33(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). The information will be protected by the provisions of FOIP, and will be used for the purpose of registration and administration of the event. If you have any questions or concerns about the collection, use, security or disclosure of the personal information, please contact General Council at 780.471.7664 or legal@nait.ca.

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