Student working in water treatment lab

Water and Wastewater Treatment - AAS

At Bellingham Technical College, the Water and Wastewater Treatment program will train you for top jobs at water and wastewater treatment plants, including positions as water and wastewater treatment operators. WWT operators work to ensure that the safety, environmental and water quality standards for an employer’s treatment system are met.

Currently, our primary employers in Washington State are municipalities and private contractors who run fresh water and wastewater treatment plants. The water and wastewater treatment sector of the U.S. economy has 114,770 jobs, with an average of 7,500 positions opening per year. All municipalities are required to meet rigorous fresh water and wastewater treatment standards, and these facilities require highly skilled employees who are trained in advanced treatment methods. BTC’s Water and Wastewater Treatment program gives you training in technical skills and interpersonal skills to get you ready for top jobs in the field of water treatment.

Employment Information

$52,541 starting annual wage
$62,046 average annual wage
$73,986 potential annual wage

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    BTC graduate employment rates:
    The graduate employment rate reflects placement rates of students who graduated from BTC in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Data Linking for Outcomes Assessment database pulls from Unemployment Insurance (UI) data across Washington and Oregon. UI data do not reflect BTC graduates who (a) are employed in states beyond those listed above or outside of the United States, (b) are self-employed, (c) are active duty members of the armed forces, (d) continued on to another educational institution, and/or (e) did not provide a social security number while enrolled at BTC.

    Wages:
    Washington State Employment Security Department 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates ( esd.wa.gov) reflect 2014-2017 employment

    Starting annual wage = 25th percentile
    Average annual wage = 50th percentile
    Potential annual wage = 75th percentile

Entry Information

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?

Admissions application and assessment testing in Reading, Math and Writing is required. Your score on the test and/or your previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence. Contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or at admissions@btc.edu for assistance with academic planning.

What are My Next Steps?

Classes

  • Quarter 1

  • PTEC 101Introduction to Process Technology5 CR
  • PTEC 102Process Technology I (Equipment)5 CR
  • AMATH 111Applied Technical Math5 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • PTEC 103Safety, Health & Environment I5 CR
  • PTEC 104Process Drawings2 CR
  • AENGL 100Applied English5 CR
  • PTEC 109Intro to WWT5 CR
  • Quarter 3

  • PTEC 110Process Instrumentation I5 CR
  • BIOL& 160General Biology with Lab5 CR
  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communications5 CR
  • Quarter 4

  • PTEC 203Safety, Health & Environment II5 CR
  • PTEC 211Troubleshooting5 CR
  • PTEC 221Prelim & Sec WWT Stage 15 CR
  • Quarter 5

  • PTEC 222Solids & Reg WWT Stage 25 CR
  • PTEC 290Process Technology Practicum/Internship I5 CR
  • CHEM& 110Chemical Concepts w/Lab5 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • PTEC 223Water & Adv WWT Stage 35 CR
  • PTEC 291Process Technology Practicum/Internship II5 CR
  • PTEC 224WWT Test Preparation3 CR
  • PHYS& 110Physics for Non-Science Majors w/Lab5 CR

Program Outcomes

In BTC’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Program, you will learn how to monitor and control processing equipment, troubleshoot and solve equipment problems, test product quality, and implement safety standards and procedures. Your career training in this program also prepares you to:

  • Appraise the typical hazards found in water and wastewater treatment plants, basic PPE, and know the requirements of regulating bodies regarding safety, health, and environmental issues (OSHA, DOT, EPA).
  • Combine mathematics, chemistry, and physics theory to apply to process applications such as fluid flow, the nature of heat, chemical reaction, boiling points, vapor pressure and electrical currents.
  • Recognize typical organizational structures, economics, and quality control systems of the process technology industry.
  • Appraise fundamentals of water and wastewater treatment processes; know core functions and principles of operation of typical process equipment such as pumps, compressors, filters and dryers, lubrication systems, valves, piping systems, and draw from memory Process Flow Diagrams.
  • Integrate the principles of process automatic control and data control systems (DSC) to manage simulated DCS scenarios.
  • Graduates will have the ability to compare actual water and wastewater plant experience versus preconceived notions.

Employment Outlook

Over the next 10 years, there will be a great need for trained water and wastewater treatment operators in the industry, both locally and nationally, according to future retirement data. Water and Wastewater Treatment program students will train for top jobs in water treatment and can expect to earn excellent wages. Employers across a range of industries want to hire people with strong problem-solving and hands-on skills, who are trained and ready to go.

The average annual wage in this field is $62,046, with an earning potential of $73,986 per year.

Criminal convictions may restrict or prevent student participation with internships and employment in this industry.

Per local college records, about 90% of BTC Water and Waste Water graduates are employed within nine months of graduation. The average annual wage in this field is $63,087, with an earning potential of about $75,367 per year.

BTC’s water and wastewater treatment graduates are readily employable and actively recruited by local, regional, national municipalities and contractors. BTC collaborates with local industry, employers, and our state and local governments to determine the skills our workforce requires to keep the economy strong.

Faculty & Support

Photo of Scott Cory
Scott Cory
Process Technology