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Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators Job Outlook

Employment of water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators is projected to grow 12 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

A growing population and increased demand for water and wastewater-treatment services will drive employment growth. Population growth, particularly in suburban areas, will require new plants or increased capacity at current plants. As existing plants expand and new plants are built to meet this demand, new operator jobs will be created.

Plants will also need more operators to ensure compliance with increased environmental and safety regulations. New regulations often require that plants install new systems or features that operators need to control. Further, while some work can be automated, plants will need skilled workers to operate increasingly complex controls and water and wastewater systems.

Job Prospects

Job prospects for water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators should be excellent. New jobs will be created when existing plants expand and new plants are built. Applicants will also have many job opportunities because many current operators are expected to retire.

In addition, the number of applicants for these positions is normally low, primarily because of the physically demanding and unappealing nature of some of the work. Job prospects will be best for those with training or education in water or wastewater systems and good mechanical skills.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition