A man in safety gear working on large pipes.

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.

Program Overview

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.

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.

Term 1


PENG 100T - (Boilers, Boiler Systems, Codes and Standards)2.2
PENG 101T - (Elementary Mechanics and Dynamics)1.7
PENG 102T - (Elementary Chemistry and Thermodynamics)1.2
PENG 103T - (Power/Heating Plant Safety and Environment)1.0
PENG 104T - (Material, Welding, Piping, Valves, Energy Plant Controls and Instrumentation)1.3
PENG 105T - (Plant Communications1.0
PENG 106T - (Electricity)1.3
PENG 130T - (Power Engineering Review and Exams)1.0

Total Term 1 Credits



Term 2


PENG 120T - (Work Practicum)9.0

Total Term 2 Credits



Term 3


PENG 107T - (Prime Movers, Pumps and Compressors)1.7
PENG 108T - (Power/Heating Plant Operation and Maintenance)1.5
PENG 109T - (Water Treatment)1.5
PENG 110T - (Refrigeration and Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning)1.3
PENG 111T - (Auxiliary Building Systems, Heating and Cooling Systems)1.3
PENG 112T - (Types of Plants & Gas Process Operations)2.0
PENG 131T - (Power Engineering Review and Exams)1.0
Total Term 3 Credits10.3


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

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.

Fees Amount
Tuition 9,959.11
Lab fee 487.59
Student Activity fee (8 months x $29.95 per month) 239.62
Student Services fee (8 months x $22.05 per month) 176.40
VIU Students' Union fee (8 months x $27.60 per month) 220.80
Health and Dental Plan fee ($265.00 per year) 265.00
Books and supplies (approximate costs) 1,700.00

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.

Domestic (Canadian)

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Campus Options