Turn your love for our wonderfully wild country and the diverse wildlife it supports into a rewarding career protecting that land and wildlife with a diploma in Natural Resource Compliance.

See the Courses tab below for details on program delivery.


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Focusing on the core of conservation enforcement – “bears and bad guys,” as one instructor explains – the Natural Resource Compliance program turns the outdoor activities you enjoy into a career you’ll love. You’ll put in two fast-paced years learning about natural resources and how to detect and investigate natural resource violations through a mixture of lectures, labs and fieldtrips that give you a first-hand look at what it takes to be at the core of this vital industry.

Whether you’re looking to head directly into year three of our Conservation Enforcement – Bachelor of Applied Science program or want an opportunity to get a job and gain some experience before taking your education to the next level, the Natural Resource Compliance program is the perfect place to start. With our blend of academic and practical learning, you’ll be equipped with the skills and knowledge to begin upholding the law and protecting the resources of our beautiful landscape and creatures.

If you’re thinking of a career in conservation enforcement, start in the Natural Resource Compliance program. Apply today!

Career opportunities

When you finish the Natural Resource Compliance program, you’ll be ready to begin your career in conservation enforcement as a:

  • Conservation Officer
  • Environmental Investigator/Inspector
  • Fish and Wildlife Officer
  • Fishery Officer
  • Municipal Police Officer
  • Park Patrol Officer
  • Park Ranger
  • Pollution Control Officer
  • Resource Management Officer
  • RCMP Officer
  • Wildlife Investigator
Starts In: September
Application Deadlines:

For current application status, terms being processed and application deadlines visit the Program Application Status page.

Duration: 2 years
Credential: Diploma

Interested students can obtain further information on these partnerships from the School of Environmental Sciences Chair. Students who wish to continue studies at other institutions must meet the entrance requirements of that institution.

Lethbridge College

Graduates of the Natural Resource Compliance diploma may be eligible for up to 60 credits towards a Bachelor of Applied Science in Conservation Enforcement or a Bachelor of Applied Science in Ecosystem Management. Details regarding these programs can be found in the academic calendar or on the Lethbridge College website.

Royal Roads University

Graduates of the Natural Resource Compliance diploma are eligible for full block transfer into the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Practice and the Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Practice. Graduates may also receive full block transfer to the Bachelor of Science in Environmental 3 Science and the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management. Two additional courses in math (calculus, linear algebra, physics), and two additional university level courses need to be completed upon arrival.

University of Northern BC

Graduates of Natural Resource Compliance diploma are eligible for block 3 transfer into the Bachelor of Science Natural Resources Management, 3 NRM Forest Ecology Management major. For more information, please 3 visit https://www.unbc.ca/forestry/transition-laddering-agreements.

Delivery Format

A blended course is intentionally designed to include continuum of both face to face/on-campus and online delivery. This includes both synchronous (in real-time on a set schedule) and asynchronous learning strategies (learning that does not occur at the same time or same place). Communication, instruction and assessment components of a blended course provide consistent information but go further by enhancing and supplementing each other. Students may complete some of their lessons online and may also be required to come to campus.


Learning does not occur at the same time or same place. Instructor provides materials including online readings, recorded lectures or presentations, posted lecture notes, video content, assignments and exams for online completion. Students access the course materials within a flexible timeframe prescribed by the instructor.


Learning happens in real time. Student and instructors interact and engage with each other in a specific virtual space, through a specific online medium, at a specific time. This can include video conferencing, live chatting, and live-streaming lectures.

New Students Returning Students
You can expect to experience a blended program. Lectures will occur as scheduled video conferences. Students will have real-time instruction and discussion with faculty and classmates. Lectures or lecture content will be saved and can be reviewed at later times. Labs/field work will be presented through video conference and supplemented with home self-study options where applicable. On-campus lab/field experiential sessions will be offered as a block (three to five days) at the end of the semester and will be used to supplement video delivery. As a continuing student in Natural Resource Compliance, your program will be blended. Lectures will occur as scheduled video conferences. Students will have real-time instruction and discussion with faculty and classmates. Lectures or lecture content will be saved and can be reviewed at later times. Labs/field work will be presented through video conference and supplemented with home self-study options where applicable. On-campus lab/field experiential sessions will be offered as a block (three to five days) at the end of the semester and will be used to supplement video delivery.


Learning Environment

No Practicum in Term 1, field components will be incorporated into blended format

Students will be expected to complete non-credit environmental field techniques courses as part of the requirements to complete the program. Courses such as bear safety, firearms safety, pleasure craft operator’s card and boat operations will occur as part of field trip season activities.

Students will be responsible for the fees associated with these courses. Prior valid training possessed by students will be considered for recognition.

Year 1 Term I
Course Code Title Credits

The following courses include a field study component:

  • BIO-1172 Ecology
Year 1 Term II
Course Code Title Credits

The following courses include a field study component:

  • BIO-1167 Botany
  • BIO-1168 Zoology
  • RRM-1197 Spatial Information Techniques
Year 2 Term I
Course Code Title Credits

The following courses include a field study component:

  • RRM-2250 Grassland and Forest Resources
  • RRM-2299 Fire Management
Year 2 Term II
Course Code Title Credits

The following courses include a field study component:

  • CEN-2269 Field Investigation Techniques
  • RRM-2258 Principles of Wildlife Biology
  • RRM-2259 Principles of Fisheries Science


New students are accepted into the Natural Resource Compliance program for the Fall (September) term only.

General admission requirements

All applicants must meet the general admission requirements for Lethbridge College programs as indicated in the Admissions section of this calendar.

Academic requirements

In addition to meeting the general admission requirements indicated in the Admissions section of this calendar, applicants to this program must also satisfy the following specific course requirements (or equivalencies):

  • Grade 11 Biology
  • Grade 12 Math (equivalent to Alberta’s Math 30-2 or a higher level math)

Basic computer literacy in the use of the internet, email, word processing and fundamental processes of spreadsheets is required for the student to be successful in this program. Students lacking these skills are strongly urged to complete a basic computer literacy course prior to entering this program.

Note: Admission is competitive. Competitive marks will be based on the average of grades in Grade 12 Math and English and Grade 11 Biology.

Your investment

Students are responsible for the cost of the field trips relating to this program.

Field studies supplies

Students on field studies are expected to provide their own equipment and supplies. This includes:

  • 30 cm metric steel ruler
  • adequate clothing for cold/wet weather
  • back pack for gear
  • binoculars
  • cooking and eating gear (may be shared)
  • digital camera (standard feature)
  • field equipment vest (recommended)
  • food
  • ground sheet and pad
  • hiking boots
  • orienteering compass
  • safety glasses (third year)
  • sunscreen
  • tent may be required (notification will be given at orientation)
  • warm sleeping bag
  • water bottle
  • work gloves
  • “write-in-the-rain” treated field notebook/surveyors book

Equipment ad supplies may not be required in all courses or terms. Please consult the course outlines for specific equipment required before purchasing. Field studies schedules are dependent on many variables and may require students to participate on weekends. All program field studies require mandatory attendance.

Other required supplies

Available from Lethbridge College Bookstore:

  • 16X hand lens
  • dissection kit
  • lab coat
  • metric triangular scale with 1:20, 1:25, 1:50, 1:75, 1:100 and 1:125 graduations
  • safety glasses
  • “write-in-the-rain” treated field notebook/surveyors book

Available from sporting, hardware, and office supply stores:

  • 4 GB or higher USB memory stick
  • 12 or more coloured pencils (pencil crayons)
  • 30 cm metric steel ruler
  • binoculars (8 X 40 or 10 X 50 magnification)
  • chest waders
  • clipboard
  • scientific calculator ($15 - $30 range)
  • Nexus Type 115 or Silva Ranger compass (with declination adjustment screw)

For additional information concerning lab or field equipment, contact the lab coordinator at 403-320-3202 ext. 5594.


  • Natural Resource Law Enforcement Officer positions have specific physical requirements such as vision, hearing and physical fitness. The specific requirements differ with each agency. It is the applicant’s responsibility to confirm that they meet the requirements of the agencies with which they hope to work.
  • Persons with a criminal record may have difficulty competing for jobs as Conservation Enforcement Officers in Canada.
  • Employers often require that students hold a valid Standard First Aid or Wilderness First Aid Certificate and/or a CPR Certificate to be eligible for seasonal and/ or permanent employment. Students are encouraged to obtain these certificates either prior to entering the program or during the first term.
  • A number of workshops and short courses sponsored by various agencies are available on evenings and weekends. Students are encouraged to attend these sessions to enhance their credentials for employment.

Prior learning assessment (PLA)

If you have experience working in this field of study, you may be eligible for prior learning assessment.

Applicants who lack the required academic admission requirements can apply to the Academic Upgrading program to upgrade their academic skills.


Upon successful completion of the program, students are awarded a Natural Resource Compliance diploma.

Academic Year Tuition Fees Books & Supplies
Year 1 $3,810.00 $1,273.00 $1,800.00
Year 2 $4,890.00 $1,513.00 $850.00

Our Budget Wizard is a free self-service tool that can help you make sense of your finances and the cost of your education. Give it a try!

Budget Wizard

  • Costs for supplies may vary considerably depending on what students already have or where they purchased their supplies; cost provided is on the moderately high end.
  • Students will be charged a medical/dental benefit fee unless they opt out by demonstrating alternative coverage prior to the end of the first week of class.
  • Students are responsible for the cost of the field trips relating to this program.
  • Tuition for international students is $12,810 for Year 1 and $14,379 for Year 2. The cost of additional fees, books and supplies is the same for all students.

Learn by doing

You'll have your feet on the soil and your hands in the water, exploring, learning and gaining skills that simply cannot be acquired in the classroom.

Out in the wilderness, far from the classroom – that’s where our environmental science students are during field trip season. We provide opportunities for hands-on learning in the field, quite literally. Our location is an ideal gateway to diverse ecosystems. To the west lay the foothills, the Rocky Mountains and Waterton Lakes National Park. To the east lay the Badlands, and all around us, the prairies.

As a student in one of our environmental science programs, you’ll get to experience it all. You’ll have your feet on the soil and your hands in the water, exploring, learning and gaining skills that simply cannot be acquired in the classroom.

When you’re preparing for a career in environmental science, it’s not enough to read from a textbook or stare at a screen. It’s something you need to do. And at Lethbridge College, you’ll get that opportunity.

Hands-on, immersive learning

Fully renovated, fully equipped
Fully renovated, fully equipped

Use research-grade equipment in the Cousins Science Centre.


Fully renovated, fully equipped

Fully renovated in 2007 to remain on the cutting edge of technology and equipment developments for years to come, the Cousins Science Centre houses a level of equipment seldom seen at the college or undergraduate level. Students in our environmental sciences and agriculture sciences programs use research-grade labs and equipment, meaning the researchers of tomorrow learn while using the same equipment they’ll use later in their careers. And yes, you almost do have to be a rocket scientist to understand just what our labs contain, including:

  • a mass spectrometer
  • an atomic absorption spectrophotometer
  • infrared autoanalyzers
  • photo-ionization devices
  • and so much more

The building contains 13 labs, eight of which are multifunctional and flexible, and its air system utilizes 33 fume hoods that create negative pressure within the labs for increased safety. The Cousins Science Centre features:

  • three chemistry labs
  • two botany labs with diurnal growth chambers
  • two zoology labs
  • a physics lab
  • a necropsy lab
  • a flume lab
  • a soils room
  • a microbiology suite with two labs and accompanying facilities
  • the Hubbard Wildlife Collection

A hub of collaboration

The Cousins Science Centre isn’t just a state-of-the-art building to study in – it’s a hub of collaboration and hands-on learning. It connects us with all of the other resources we share with industry across southern Alberta, meaning your education is relevant for the workforce of tomorrow. And it’s the starting point of all the field trips and producer visits that you’ll go on as a student in either our Agriculture or Environmental Sciences programs.

Get up close and personal
Get up close and personal

…with some of the most diverse residents of the province.


Get up close and personal

No, we’re not about to put you face-to-face with a live grizzly bear or cougar as part of an identification course, but you will be able to get up close and personal with the full body taxidermy versions.

Lethbridge College is home to one of Canada’s largest collections of full body taxidermy mammals, most of which are native to Alberta. Donated by the family of Alfred Hubbard, the collection provides our students with a 360-degree view of over 100 specimens, including:

  • grizzly
  • cougar
  • bison
  • bobcat
  • pronghorn
  • mountain goat
  • deer
  • wolf
  • black bear
  • badger
  • silver fox
  • lynx
  • several birds of prey

Rather than staring at one image on a page in a textbook, you’ll be able to examine an actual specimen from all angles. It’s a far more engaging way to learn about species and, in our opinion, a far more memorable experience.

Learn from those who have been there, done that

Our environmental science instructors have been there, done that and want you to follow in their footsteps. They have extensive experience and expertise to share, and students aren’t the only ones seeking out their knowledge.

The team for Bushnell’s Trigger Effect, a hunting and fishing show, have also sought out their expertise, specifically creating the Conservation Connection segment on the show to feature our instructors. These experts, who could one day be your instructors, talk on a wide variety of issues related to hunting, conservation, habitat, endangered species, enforcement, fisheries and more. The segment adds an educational element unique to hunting shows and illustrates the extensive knowledge of our instructors and what we’re teaching here at Lethbridge College.

Catch our instructors on the latest season of Bushnell’s Trigger Effect or, better yet, catch them in the classroom.

A pre-requisite for environmental science

The “Godfather” of our Environmental Sciences program

Buck Cunningham built the college’s widely-respected Environmental Sciences program. Kerry Edwards (Renewable Resource Management 1983), a Conservation Enforcement/Natural Resource Compliance instructor, recalls meeting Cunningham when he first came to campus as a student. “He interviewed every student who came in the door,” Edwards says. “He wanted to make sure the student was the right fit for the program. And he had hired an amazing staff. They were all well-educated and experts in their fields. He had a vision to have this be the best Environmental Sciences program in the country. He definitely laid the foundation for a very strong program.”

From here to there: alumni updates

Lethbridge College isn’t just a place to go to school – we’re a community that is here to support you from your initial interest in our program through to the moment you cross the stage at Convocation and beyond. Just take a look at where an LC education has taken some of our grads.

Kara Nyland
Natural Resource Compliance, Bachelor of Applied Science in Conservation

Kara was featured in a November article in the Peace River Record-Gazette that highlighted her childhood in the Yukon and her new career as a fish and wildlife officer in Peace River. After graduation, Kara was offered the job in Peace River and prepared for it all summer by attending the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy in Hinton until the end of August.

– From Winter 2016 Wider Horizons

Dennis Spackman

Dennis was recently appointed to serve on the Milk River Watershed Council Canada Board of Directors. He grew up in a farming and ranching family east of Sterling. After college, he attended the University of Lethbridge and obtained a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Physical Geography and Biology. Dennis has many years of experience around drinking water systems operated in parks and he is certified by Alberta Environment for the operation of water treatment plants and water distribution systems. He has been employed by Alberta Parks as a Conservation Officer since 1982. Most of his career was spent working in the Boreal Forest ecoregion in the Fort McMurray area. He also worked in the Pincher Creek area for about two years before transferring to Writing on Stone Provincial Park in February 2013. A couple of notable achievements include involvement with the designation of the Clearwater River as a Canadian Heritage River and many years up north as a volunteer firefighter. His hobbies include travel, hiking, camping, reading and photography.

– From Fall 2015 Wider Horizons

Laurette LaPlante

Laurette contacted Wider Horizons after reading the winter 2016 issue featuring “polar bear jail warden” Bob Windsor. Both she and her husband, Perry (Fish and Wildlife 1982), attended the college and their son Kade is currently enrolled in the Renewable Resource Management program. Laurette also played volleyball for the Kodiaks while she was a student. She sent in this update: “Perry is now the Alberta Provincial Manager of Ducks Unlimited and just celebrated his 30 year service award. He started in fundraising in 1985 and worked his way up. He completed his college then went on to earn a degree from the University of Lethbridge. I am currently the coordinator of events and Western Communities Foundation, the giving arm of Western Financial Group. Not exactly in my field but it is a great job. I worked for over 20 years with the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society marketing Alberta as a hunting destination to U.S. hunters and the knowledge I learned in college was a great help for that.”

– From Spring 2016 Wider Horizons

Cousins Building: An inside look

Take a look at your future classrooms with the videos below.