Agronomy Certificate Level I

Student holding seeds

What can you expect from this program/course?

Train while you work!

This entry-level program answers the industry's call for trained crop scouts possessing basic agronomic skills. Interactive online discussion is emphasized to meet your needs, and an on-campus Field School will cap the program of study. You may have had previous post-secondary training but lack specific knowledge in agriculture, or you may have agricultural experience in another country but require specific training in Western Canadian farming practices.

Course specifics include:

  • Crop Production Systems
  • Insect & Disease Management
  • Intro Soils & Crop Nutrition
  • Weed Fundamentals
  • Field Scouting and Data Management
  • Field School (online & 5-day residency)

What will you learn?

In this program, learners will learn to support the agri-service industry by gaining practical training in crop production systems, nutrition and protection. Following the completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  • identify Western Canadian crops and associated production systems
  • interpret soil test reports and calculate fertilizer blends
  • document pest populations
  • implement integrated pest management plans
  • collect crop, pest and soil field data
  • use selected technologies including GPS, GIS, and digital photography
  • communicate clearly and concisely with agricultural stakeholders

Full academic program outline

Program at a glance

*Please note that the (online) Field Scouting and Data Management course may only be taken after having completed the other 4 online courses.  The Field School must be completed last.*

Certification: Agronomy Certificate Level I

Delivery: Online with 5-day Field School Residency on Olds Campus

Length of Program: 8 Weeks/Course

Course Dates: Course dependent
Field School - Blended Online Dates: July 3 - 8
Residency Dates: July 9 - 13

Selection process for admission: First qualified, first accepted

Costs: Tuition - $799/course (includes all materials)
Tuition covers the instruction, materials & field trips (including lunches on field trips). The meals & accommodation is your responsibility.

Registration Deadline: The registration deadline for each course is 14 days (21 days for courses with a January start date) prior to the course start date, however in order to ensure a spot in the course, we recommend registering before that time as sometimes the classes fill before the registration deadline. If there is still room in the class after the registration deadline, you are still able to register if you submit a $75 late registration fee along with your tuition.

Course Details 


Crop Production Systems (online)  |   January 7 - March 1, 2019

An overview of basic botany and the production cycle for agricultural crops in Western Canada. Students will learn the steps of land preparation, seeding, harvesting, and storage of grains, oilseeds, pulses, and hay crops. Their identity, uses and markets will also be covered.


Insect & Disease Management (online)  |  January 7 - March 1, 2019

Become acquainted with the major insect and disease species affecting field crops in the Canadian prairies. Understand the concept of integrated pest management and practices utilized to prevent and manage outbreaks.


Intro Soils & Crop Nutrition (online)  |  March 4 –April 26, 2019

Students will study the principles of soil formation, management and soil fertility. Students will also learn soil sampling strategies, the interpretation of soil test reports and basic fertilizer blending.


Weed Fundamentals (online)  |  March 4 –April 26, 2019

Gain the ability to identify common prairie weeds, understand their characteristics, and how these weeds impact various ecosystems. Understand the value of integrated weed management, and options for preventative, cultural and physical weed management.


Field Scouting and Data Management (online)  |  April 8 –May 31, 2019

This course will be an introduction to the technologies used in data collection for field scouting. This will include GPS, GIS, digital photography and data management systems.


Field School  |  July 2 - 12 (residency)

This field school will be the capstone course of the Agronomy Certificate. In this course the student will demonstrate practical, hands-on application of competencies gained in the prerequisite courses.

Can I complete the certificate over a couple of years?

Yes – you are not required to register for the ‘certificate’, you just register for the courses as you want to complete them & then when you have completed all 6 (you must do the Field School last), you will receive the certificate. We encourage people to take only one course at a time unless they have a good deal of free time for the coursework. So as long as you complete the courses in a timeframe that allows you to recall the info for Field School (as this course tests your knowledge from the other 5 courses), you can take up to 5 years to complete the whole certificate.

If I have taken other courses that may be similar, am I able to receive transfer credit towards the Agronomy Certificate?

There are no set arrangements to allow credit to be granted. However, if you have taken courses that you feel overlap, you are always welcome to apply to our registrar for some transfer credit.  They assess the comparative courses to determine if you will be able to receive credit for any of the courses.

How many courses can I take at one time?

Most people only take one course at a time, although if you like it is possible to take 2 at one time as long as your personal and work commitments allow you enough time each week.

Will I need to be online at any specific time of the day or week?

The courses are instructor led, so although you can work on the assignments & forum posts at any time that is convenient for you (there will never be a specific time you are required to be online or engaged), there are set time-frames within which to complete all components, and you will receive feedback from your instructor on both your assignments and forum posts.

When do I receive a certificate?

You receive a certificate when you complete the entire Agronomy Certificate – at that time you will become eligible to participate in graduation ceremonies (many people are located far from Olds and do not attend). After the graduation ceremonies, you receive your certificate - in person if you attend, or in the mail if you do not attend. In the meantime, if at any point you require documentation proving course completion, you can request a copy of your official transcript. You would obtain this by contacting the registrations desk - (403) 556-4677