Overview

Water treatment plant operators need long-term on-the-job training to become fully qualified. Trainees usually start as attendants or operators-in-training and learn their skills on the job under the direction of an experienced operator. The trainees learn by observing and doing routine tasks, such as recording meter readings, taking samples of wastewater and sludge, and doing simple maintenance and repair work on plant equipment. Larger treatment plants generally combine this on-the-job training with formal classroom or self-paced study programs. As plants get larger and more complicated, operators need more skills before they are allowed to work without supervision.

Water treatment plant operators must be licensed by the jurisdiction in which they work. Requirements and standards vary widely depending on the region. Licenses typically have four levels, which depend on the operator's experience and training. Although some jurisdictions will honour licenses from other jurisdictions, operators who move from one to another may need to take a new set of exams to become licensed in their new location.

Water treatment plant operators need a high school diploma or equivalent to become operators. Employers may prefer applicants who have completed a certificate or an associate’s degree program in water quality management or wastewater treatment technology, because the education minimizes the training a worker will need. Community colleges, technical schools, and trade associations offer these certificate or associate's degree programs.

Water treatment plant operators typically need related work experience to become operators. They often gain experience working as trainees or in other lower level positions in the plant.

What are Water Treatment Plant Operators like?

Investigative

Based on our pool of users, water treatment plant operators tend to be predominately investigative people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Water Treatment Plant Operators by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 80 Sokanu users

Are Water Treatment Plant Operators happy?

37%Happy

Water treatment plant operators rank among the least happy careers. Overall they rank in the 37th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Water Treatment Plant Operator Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Water Treatment Plant Operators

The most common degree held by water treatment plant operators is Biology. 5% of water treatment plant operators had a degree in biology before becoming water treatment plant operators. That is over 1 times the average across all careers. Business Management And Administration graduates are the second most common among water treatment plant operators, representing 5% of water treatment plant operators in the Sokanu user base, which is 0.8 times the average.

Water Treatment Plant Operator Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Water Treatment Plant Operator, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of water treatment plant operators % of population Multiple
Biology 4.9% 3.5% 1.4×
Business Management And Administration 4.9% 6.5% 0.8×
Chemical Engineering 3.7% 0.5% 7.4×
Environmental Science 2.5% 1.1% 2.3×

Water Treatment Plant Operator Education Levels

50% of water treatment plant operators have a high school diploma. 32% of water treatment plant operators have an associate's degree.

No education 3%
High school diploma 50%
Associate's degree 32%
Bachelor's degree 15%
Master's degree 0%
Doctorate degree 0%

How to Become a Water Treatment Plant Operator

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