Program Details, Costs, and Admission Requirements

  • Program Length 
    32 Weeks
  • Credential 
  • Location Offered 

Start an exciting and challenging career as a power engineer with specialized training that will prepare you to maintain and operate industrial power and processing plants of the 21st century.

Power engineers play an integral role managing and operating large systems as energy demands continue to grow. They operate equipment for our comfort and various applications that impact our daily lives. Today’s power engineers learn about renewable energy and environmentally-friendly power systems, and help find sustainable energy solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change and global warming. 

Highly skilled graduates of the 4th Class Power Engineering/Process Operator 32-week Certificate Program at Vancouver Island University find high paying careers in a myriad of industrial settings such as pulp and paper mills, sawmills, the oil and gas industry, in hospitals, universities and public and commercial buildings maintaining and managing industrial power plants.

Becoming a power engineer is an exciting journey, full of opportunities to contribute to society while ensuring the viability of electrical energy sources and infrastructure vital to our communities.

The Power Engineering/Process Operator - 4th Class Certificate Program

The Fourth Class Power Engineering/Process Operator Certificate Program prepares graduates for employment as power engineers, able to operate, maintain, and manage industrial power and processing plants. This full-time program includes theory and extensive training in an industry workplace practicum. Upon successful completions, graduates will have the knowledge and hands-on experience to challenge the Technical Safety BC standardized examinations for an Interprovincial Fourth Class Power Engineer's Certificate of Competency. The program also prepares graduates with technical knowledge required for a process operator.

Term 1


PENG 100T - (Boilers, Boiler Systems, Codes and Standards)


PENG 101T - (Elementary Mechanics and Dynamics)


PENG 102T - (Elementary Chemistry and Thermodynamics)


PENG 103T - (Power/Heating Plant Safety and Environment)


PENG 104T - (Material, Welding, Piping, Valves, Energy Plant Controls and Instrumentation)


PENG 105T - (Plant Communications


PENG 106T - (Electricity)


PENG 130T - (Power Engineering Review and Exams)


Total Term 1 Credits


Term 2


PENG 120T - (Work Practicum)


Total Term 2 Credits


Term 3


PENG 107T - (Prime Movers, Pumps and Compressors)


PENG 108T - (Power/Heating Plant Operation and Maintenance)


PENG 109T - (Water Treatment)


PENG 110T - (Refrigeration and Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning)


PENG 111T - (Auxiliary Building Systems, Heating and Cooling Systems)


PENG 112T - (Types of Plants & Gas Process Operations)


PENG 131T - (Power Engineering Review and Exams)


Total Term 3 Credits


All program courses must be successfully completed before certificates will be issued.

Completion Requirements

To maintain progression in the program and to graduate with the Fourth Class Power Engineering/Process Operator Certificate from VIU, students must obtain a minimum of 50% per course and a minimum program average of 65%, and must meet attendance requirements (90% attendance for coursework; 100% attendance for 480 hours of Work Practicum).

Students must meet Technical Safety BC requirements for Examinations for Certification as a Fourth Class Power Engineer.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

The program is designed for students with little or no previous experience in power engineering or process operation.

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements for admission to the program:

Notes on Admission

  • A mechanical and electrical aptitude is desirable.
  • Communication skills, good vision, manual dexterity, and decision-making are an asset.
  • Those with good reading and comprehension skills, basic science, mathematics, and study skills have the most success in the program.
  • It is suggested that to achieve higher levels in the Power Engineering profession, students must have computer skills, chemistry, and Mathematics 12.
  • A medical certificate may be required prior to work practicum placement. Applicants should be in good physical health, have sufficient physical strength to meet work demands (capable of lifting 20 kg/44 lbs.), good hearing and eyesight, and normal colour vision. Employers may also require a driver's license and/or criminal record check.
  • Enrolment in this program is limited. Students who meet or exceed the minimum admission requirements may not necessarily be admitted to the program. During the selection process, preference will be given to applicants with previous post-secondary experience, related commercial/industrial experience and superior achievement level on assessment testing.

Program Regulations

To maintain progression in the program, students must obtain a minimum grade of 50% per course and a program average of at least 65% to complete the program and receive a certificate as mandated by Technical Safety BC. Students must attend a minimum of 90% of all classes, and 100% in all lab activities, tours, and the Work Practicum.

If a student, for any reason, is unable to complete the work practicum placement provided, he/she will be required to obtain that training on their own, in a placement acceptable to the school and acceptable to BCSA, before writing Part 'B' of the Technical Safety BC 4th Class Power Engineering Standardized Examination.

Industry demand for qualified power engineers and process operators is high. Power engineers are required in many industries including: pulp and paper, sawmills, oil and gas, refrigeration plants, food processing, mines, utilities, hospitals, universities, public and commercial buildings, and other industrial and manufacturing plants. Canadian law requires Certification to work as a power engineer. The proposed program is driven by the needs of industry and meets the standards established for Interprovincial Certification.

Domestic Fees

Tuition and Other Mandatory Student Fees

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.





Lab fee


Student Activity fee (8 months x $29.36 per month)


Student Services fee (8 months x $21.63 per month)


VIU Students' Union fee (8 months x $26.59 per month)


Health and Dental Plan fee ($265.00 per year)


Books and supplies (approximate costs)





Additional fees may be required for a Criminal Record Check and/or a TB test prior to practicum placement. Please note, practicums may be in a different location than a student's primary residence, therefore there may be a financial need for housing for the 12 weeks of the practicum.

The VIUSU Health and Dental Plan fee is assessed for all students enrolled in 6 credits or more per term, or in Trades/Vocational programs of 5 months or longer.  

All fees are subject to change without prior notice and are expected to increase by 2% each year on April 1.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Domestic (Canadian)

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Location Options
Anticipated intake for someone applying today
Mar 18, 2024
Accepting International Applications
Application Fee
Accepting Late Applications
Testing Required
Admissions Assistant

Name: Donna Kist
Phone: 250.753.3245 ext. 2526

Chair Contact

Name: Paul Mottershead, Associate Dean
Phone: 250.740.6123


Information Session:  January 16, 2024, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Building 180, Room 316

Vancouver Island University, 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo BC  V9R 5S5


Industries on Vancouver Island are currently seeking qualified Power Engineers/Process Operators - 4th Class.

Your journey to a high-paying career begins here:

32-week program including practicum

*Variety of employers

*Pulp Mills

*Processing Plants


Opportunities to advance to higher levels of certification

Meet the chair of the program and learn more about this exciting career training.