HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Wallace State Community College’s Training for Business and Industry program announces a new Drinking Water Operators Program in advance of an expected rise in job opportunities.

The accelerated job training is being driven by the potential for job openings due to the fact that many operators are reaching retirement age within the next five years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook between 2010 and 2020 indicated there would be a 12 percent increase, or approximately 12,900 jobs, for water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators across the nation.

The median annual wage for water and wastewater treatment plan and system operators was $44,790 in May 2015, according to the BLS. The lowest 10 percent earned $27,210 and the highest 10 percent earned $70,940. In Alabama, the mean annual wage was $43,970, with average salaries ranging from $30,500 at the lowest 10 percentile to $60,780 at the highest 10 percentile.

Communities rely on having competent drinking water operators and clean water 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Training will include classroom work, as well as on-site training at water utility facilities. Topics to be covered include:

  • Water sources (ground and surface)
  • Water testing
  • Water treatment
  • Operating water distribution systems
  • Math equations associated with treatment and distribution

Upon successful completion of the training, students can take certification exams provided by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for water treatment (Grades III & IV) and water distribution (Grades I & II). Drinking water operator certification establishes a professional standard, and also provides the knowledge and understanding drinking water operators need to provide safe, adequate drinking water to the public.

Training will be held on Mondays beginning April 10, 2017, including field trips (externships). Day or evening/weekend classes are available. Day classes will be from 1 to 7 p.m. each Monday. Evening/weekend classes will be Mondays from 5-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. The non-credit course is 90 hours.

The program fee is $999. For more information, contact Mandi Perkins at mandi.perkins@wallacestate.edu or 256.352.7826.