Water Plant Technician Courses and Degrees Overview

Water plant technicians ensure that drinking and wastewater is treated and filtered properly. Courses in the water treatment field are available as part of a full certificate or degree program.

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Essential Information

Certificate and associate's degree programs in water technology or water quality management are available for aspiring water plant technicians. Such programs are most often found at two-year institutions and help students qualify for state licensure, which is normally offered at four levels. Students may get the opportunity to get some hands-on experience at a water treatment center during the course of a program.

Also, students usually take a water management course that covers topics like terminology, business functions and leadership techniques. Depending on the program and school, students may also study biology, chemistry, mathematics, environmental science and public administration. Laboratory work is usually done in these programs. Here are some common concepts taught in water plant technician courses:

  • Water technology
  • Operation and maintenance
  • Safety
  • Principles of water
  • Water distribution

Water Plant Technician Courses

Small Water Systems

This introductory course provides a background on working in small water treatment centers. Topics may include the chemical treatment of drinking water, water storage, filtration and disinfection. This course prepares students for work in a water plant that provides drinking water. Students learn the basics to needed to set up, maintain and troubleshoot a variety of operations issues.

Water Treatment

In this course, chemically treating raw and drinking water is covered. Students study tests and look at issues that may occur with drinking water or water plant operations. Examination of filtration, sedimentation, flocculation, softening and chemical control are all studied. Students look at the importance of clean water and study laws like the Safe Drinking Water Act. This course helps to prepare students for professional certification.

Wastewater Treatment

In this hands-on class, students practice the chlorination and treatment of wastewater in a simulated wastewater plant. Students study safety and control procedures and prepare for work with oxidation ditches and stabilization ponds. There may be examination of designs and constructions of industrial treatment systems and facilities.

Water Management

Through this course students learn the basics of managing and working with water and wastewater. Students learn commonly used terminology, budgeting techniques, human resource issues and cost recovery. Students studying human resources learn leadership techniques and how water and wastewater affects the community.


Depending on the degree of certification the student is studying, students may be required to take a course on biology, or the study of life. A basic biology course examines the origin of organisms and DNA prepares students to work with cell-formed organisms in an aquatic environment. Students may want to take this course at the beginning of their certificate or degree program.

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