Biomass Plant Technicians
Employers usually hire high school graduates who are trained on the job. Completion of a training program may enhance an applicant’s competitiveness in the job market.
Education and training:
A high school diploma is usually required for an individual to become a water or wastewater treatment plant operator. Some applicants complete certificate or associate degree programs in water-quality and wastewater-treatment technology. Employers prefer to hire such candidates, because completion of a program minimizes the training needed at the plant and also shows a commitment to working in the industry. These programs are offered by community colleges, technical schools, and trade associations, and can be found throughout the country. In some cases, a degree or certificate program can be substituted for experience, allowing a worker to become licensed at a higher level more quickly.
Trainees usually start as attendants or operators-in-training and learn their skills on the job under the direction of an experienced operator. They learn by observing and doing routine tasks such as recording meter readings, taking samples of wastewater and sludge, and performing simple maintenance and repair work on pumps, electric motors, valves, and other plant equipment. Larger treatment plants generally combine this on-the-job training with formal classroom or self-paced study programs.
Licensure and certification:
Both water and liquid waste plant and system operators must be certified by their States. Requirements and standards vary widely depending on the State. Most States have four different levels of certification, depending on the operator's experience and training. Although some States will honor licenses from other States, operators who move may have to take a new set of exams to become certified in a different State. The Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) offers a certificate program that may be helpful for operators who plan to move to a different State.
Water and wastewater treatment plant operators need mechanical aptitude and the ability to solve problems intuitively. They also should be competent in basic mathematics, chemistry, and biology. They must have the ability to apply data to formulas that determine treatment requirements, flow levels, and concentration levels. Some basic familiarity with computers also is necessary, because operators generally use them to record data. Some plants also use computer-controlled equipment and instrumentation.
The data sources for the information displayed here include: Virginia Career VIEW Research.