Wastewater Treatment Operator Distance Learning Programs

German water treatment plant

Wastewater treatment operator distance learning programs prepare students for careers in the field of water and liquid waste treatment. This career field is growing at a much faster rate than the average occupation. A high school education is required for the job, but employers prefer to hire candidates with at least a certification or an associate's degree.

Wastewater Plant System Operators

Job Duties

Water treatment plant operators monitor the facilities that treat and remove pollutants from the water that goes into our sewers and drains. Their job is to run the equipment and manage the processes that make the water safe for us to drink and use in everyday life. They also test the water before putting it back out for the public to use. Systems operators also maintain the machines and pumps that filter the water. They may have to do repair work on electric motors and other equipment in the plant.

Testing the water is another important job at the facility. This involves monitoring gauges and meters that determine levels of necessary water treatment chemicals such as chlorine and fluorine. Tests are run by taking samples of the water to check the readings.

The work combines both indoor and outdoor activity at all hours of the day and in all kinds of weather. The facility may be located in a very large city or in a small town. In larger cities, a wastewater treatment operator's job may be more specialized because there are more workers at the plant. A worker in a small town may have to run the entire plant.


There is a lot of training to be done at the plant once an employee is hired. This is why employers prefer to hire those with associate's degrees, as it reduces the amount of training required. There are technical schools that can help students get their associate's in water treatment. Some community colleges also offer the programs. Employers often participate in on-the-job training while a student is getting his or her associate's degree.

To become a wastewater treatment operator, you must have a state-sanctioned certification. There are multiple levels of licensing and certification. The more experience you have, the higher the certification you can get.

Those skills and an associate's degree enable an experienced employee to advance within the company or even move up to a position with the state as a technician in drinking water control. Private sector jobs are also possible for the trained employee in industrial waste control at chemical companies and engineering consulting firms.

Preparing for a Career in Wastewater Treatment

Biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer skills, problem solving skills and mechanical ability all play a part in working at a water treatment facility. Data must be measured and applied to formulas necessary to maintain chemical levels and flow levels. Therefore, the first step to a career in water treatment can be taken in high school by taking classes in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. Taking all sciences classes available is a good idea as well. The more of this kind of education you have, the better your opportunities will be.

Wastewater Treatment Operator Distance Learning Programs

You can get your certification and further education by participating in distance learning programs. There are a number of community colleges, universities, and other institutions that offer them:

Some of the courses involved with wastewater treatment operator distance learning programs include:

  • Calibration adjustment
  • Principles of measurement
  • Centrifugal pumps
  • Maintaining wastewater equipment
  • Blood borne pathogens
  • Biological oxygen demand
  • Drinking water disinfection
  • Activated sludge
  • Backflow awareness
  • Storm water monitoring

Wastewater treatment operator distance learning programs include sophisticated and complex materials, but distance learning providers present the information in an easy-to-follow manner.

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Wastewater Treatment Operator Distance Learning Programs