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APPLY NOW »or call 1-800-472-4554

wastewater treatment plant operator apprenticeship


    Program Number: 50-527-1
    School Year: 2018-2019
    Campus: Online

    Work Description

    Wastewater treatment plant operators monitor, maintain, and adjust a wide variety of systems used in the treatment of wastewater. They control plant processes to ensure the plant operates effectively. Operators monitor laboratory data, charts, and computer control systems, which indicate performance status of a wide variety of biological nutrient and chemical removal. These workers operate various systems and processes, including activated sludge wastewater treatment systems; biological nutrient removal systems, digester gas system pressures and gas compressor operations; digester operating temperatures; heat exchangers; digester circulation pumps, pressures, and flows; boilers and engine generators; influent rate and pumps; sludge and primary sedimentation levels and pumps; and sewage de-gritting systems. Personnel employed in these positions monitor and adjust sludge thickness on flotation thickeners; and monitor and adjust the quantity of sludge in the thickener hopper and rate of pumping to digesters. Operators will back flush, clear, and purge pumps, and monitor and adjust flow rates. Plant operators operate and control sludge dewatering centrifuge and all associated systems. Operators also collect various samples and plant information, including composite samples; disinfection system samples; effluent samples, bay samples; and daily major industrial user samples. Personnel collect, record and maintain records as necessary for state and federal regulations. Advanced certifications exist in the industry.

    Application Information

    For apprenticeship application information, please contact a Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards Representative at 920-693-1102.

    Application Requirements

    Applicants should be 18 years of age and submit an apprentice and employer application to their Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards Representative. See representative information.

    Training Period

    The Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Apprenticeship consists of approximately three years, including approximately 5,568 hours of on-the-job learning and 432 hours of paid related instruction.

    Working Conditions

    Wastewater operators require a moderate level of physical strength. They must frequently stand for long periods in uncomfortable positions. Since much of their work is outdoors, wastewater operators are exposed to various weather conditions.

    Approximate Costs

    • $134.20 per credit (resident)
    • $201.30 per credit (out-of-state resident)
    • Online students are not charged out-of-state fees.
    • Please refer to the MPTC Student Handbook for additional enrollment fee information.

    Program Outcomes

    • Operate pre-treatment and collection systems.
    • Manage wastewater treatment plant processes.
    • Operate wastewater treatment plant facilities and equipment.
    • Maintain wastewater treatment plant equipment and technology.
    • Manage wastewater treatment plant bio-solids programs.
    • Communicate plant and wastewater treatment specific information effectively.
    • Promote a safe work environment for self and others.
    • Perform management related duties based on need.
    • Manage laboratory testing, equipment, and reporting.
    • Utilize computers and wastewater treatment technologies.
    • Comply with wastewater treatment regulations.

    Career Opportunities

    • Wastewater Plant Operator
    • Wastewater Treatment Equipment Sales Representative
    • Environmental Technician
    • Wastewater System Technician
    • Field Service Technician
    • Industrial Waste Technician

    Admission Process

    • Take the college assessment test (ACCUPLACER, ACT or other). The ACCUPLACER assessment can be taken at MPTC.   
    • Obtain a job in the trade or profession you would like to apprentice.   
    • Obtain an employer who is willing to sponsor you.   
    • Complete an apprentice and employer application.   
    • Applications for this trade are available from the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS) at 608-266-3135.   
    • Upon completion of the applications, a contract will be issued. The technical college will then notify you when classes will begin.   
    • Must be 18 years old.   
    • An Aptitude or ACCUPLACER test is required.   

    Please visit the Admissions page for general information.


    Term 1
    527-100Introduction to Wastewater Treatment543
    804-107College Mathematics543
      Total 1st Term Hours/Credits1086
    Term 2 
    527-103Conventional Wastewater Treatment543
    527-111Water Chemistry724
      Total 2nd Term Hours/Credits1267
    Term 3
    527-105Advanced Wastewater Treatment Processes724
    527-120Hydraulics of Water and Wastewater543
    527-136Equipment Maintenance and Instrumentation724
      Total 3rd Term Hours/Credits19811
    Total Program Hours/Credits43224
    Related Electives (Unpaid Related)  
    455-455*Transition to Trainer, Your Role as a Journeyworker80.20

    Additional Requirements:

    The apprentice must complete Heartsaver First Aid/CPR or equivalent in the first year of the apprenticeship and maintain it throughout the program; Confined Space Entry and OSHA 10 Hour; and Transition to Trainer. The apprentice may be required by the employer to obtain a Commercial Driver License (CDL). 

    For apprenticeship application information, please contact the apprenticeship office at 262-335-5849.

    Program Guide

    For additional information on program curriculum, prerequisites and general education course options, please contact your advisor.

    Transfer Opportunities

    Check out the Credit Transfers page for more information.

    Additional Information

    *Enrollment may limit the campus availability or delivery of certain courses.

    For co-curricular activities and opportunities related to this program/certificate, click here.