What are the main similarities and differences between the three core programs in Environment & Geomatics?
The first year of each of the programs is common to all three, covering the basics in such areas as botany, geology/soils, hydrology, navigation, computers and GIS, measurements and mathematics. The second year is where the specialization begins. There is the opportunity for students to switch programs after first year if, once a student starts on one path, they decide another is really more appropriate to their needs and goals. Transfers to another program are dependent on space available, in any given year.
All three of our diploma programs have strong basis in ecology. Integrated Environmental Planning Technology (IEP) leans a little more toward environmental chemistry, planning and the restoration of damaged ecosystems. Forestry (FOR) leans toward operational and silvicultural activities (the harvesting and growing of trees). Recreation, Fish and Wildlife Technology (RFW) leans toward fish, wildlife and their habitats, and how to travel and play safely and effectively in our wilder places.
Do I need to worry about a waitlist for any of the programs?
The intake of first-year students in the School of Environment & Geomatics is capped at 75 students, with the aim of having three full programs of 25 students apiece entering second year. Those students who are waitlisted would be the last to apply—the "late summer" applicants. If you apply early, you shouldn't have to worry about being waitlisted.
GIS program intake is limited by the number of workstations available for student use in the dedicated teaching lab. Early registration is encouraged for this popular program.
What is the job market like for graduates?
The number of jobs available varies from year to year, as does any job market. Employment opportunities for many of our graduates are also strongly influenced by the cyclical natural resources market.
Because there is a great deal of overlap between the core field skills of the programs, often graduates of different programs are hired to work together as a team and do the same jobs, with employers knowing that each brings a slightly different skill set to the workplace.
Can Selkirk College help me with my job search?
Yes! The School of Environment & Geomatics (SEG) runs a job board for current students that is active during the Winter Term (January through the end of April). New job postings are put up on the board several times per week, with hundreds of jobs being posted over the course of the semester. These jobs are entry level, with a strong focus on Western Canada (BC, AB, YT, and some in SK and MB), and are posted by us only on the physical job board at the college and on the college intranet, so our current students are able to get a leg up on the competition.
Co-op Education is also an excellent option. Students who enrol in this program have access to employers that the general public does not and can earn college credits, as well as a pay cheque, while they work.
During the summer months and on occasion during the rest of the year, jobs are posted on the SEG student and alumni Facebook group. This is a private group with membership made up of current SEG students, staff and alumni only, with membership granted at the request of the student/alumni. Jobs posted on this Facebook group may be entry level (except during the Winter Term, as discussed above) or require the experience possessed by more seasoned applicants. Alumni may remain a member of this group for as long as they like. Often alumni find themselves in a position to advertise employment offers on this site themselves. It’s not only a great place to find a job, but also a great place to find an employee!
Do I really need to go out and buy *all* that gear?
Along with a registration package, incoming students will receive a list of gear that is required to enable participation in their chosen program. Although all of this gear will be required, it is not necessary—or even advised—that an incoming student go out to purchase everything before showing up for classes! The list is given mainly to help incoming students with their budgeting process.
Some things required for first-year courses may be purchased in advance, such as good-quality rain gear, sturdy boots and warm winter clothing. Some students find they already have many of these types of items.
Other gear can be purchased in advance but is also available at our college bookstore, including items such as hard hats, lab coats, field books and field vests.
It is recommended that students wait until they arrive at the college before purchasing specialized instruments such as a compass or calculator. For ease of instruction, it is required that all students use the same make and model of such items, and if you arrive with the wrong type, you may find yourself having to go out and purchase another.
Still other purchases may be put off until they are needed in the course of instruction—things like snowshoes, chest waders and camping gear. If you decide to wait to purchase these items, please talk to your instructor to see when they will be required.
It is often possible to purchase used field gear from past students through flyers posted at the college. Please be aware that such purchases should be inspected carefully before the transaction is completed—buyer, beware! If you’re not sure how to determine if a piece of gear will suit your needs, ask an instructor or a second-year student. They’ll be glad to help you make sure you get what you need.
Do I need to buy all the books listed for my courses at the bookstore?
We try to minimize the number of textbooks that students are required to purchase through a combination of methods, such as the use of reference books owned by the college, which are signed out to students via the SEG Equipment Room, the use of free online resources and the production of inexpensive lab manuals and course note packs.
Lab manuals and course note packs are available at the bookstore, and you are sure to need these in the course for which they were produced. It’s safe to beat the beginning of semester rush, and buy these in the days before classes start, if you are able.
Textbooks may be required or optional purchases, as they can be quite expensive items. It may be best to wait and talk to your instructor to see if and how they are to be used. It may be possible to share a copy between a few students, or to purchase used copies via the bookstore.
If you decide to purchase books privately from past students, please make sure the edition you are purchasing is the one currently being used in classes, and that it contains all required parts (e.g., CDs or separate appendices).