These days obtaining a degree and having a certificate in wastewater treatment will ensure that you will end up with the relevant jobs in this field of study. A career in this line of profession have bright long-term prospect and potential for further development because as land scarcity becomes a problem and human population increases leading to more waste generation, comes the challenges of having fully trained and knowledgeable professionals ready to take up the job and tasks of providing clean water discharge. Thus the needs and demands for skilled workers go up tremendously and is projected to increase exponentially in the next coming years. Basically what is especially important and highly sought after in the job market right now are those listed and certified by government and regulatory bodies.
Online and offline associate's degree programs are widely available throughout the world offered by several local and foreign universities. Most of it are basically offline studies but there are also some that combine both offline and online together into one but rarely I’ve come across a degree program which can be completed solely by attending only online lectures. The main reason is simple because part of the learning process, about 30% related to wastewater treatment are only classroom teachings, while the balance 70% are most field studies that require hands-on training approach. Furthermore most of the knowledge and experience can only be gained through observations and on top of that mostly it will also involve wide range of testing that need to be carried out that require the engineers and technician to be aware and proficient about. Hence during the actual evaluation, graduates will not only be tested based on theories and understanding but also overall, having the full control and skills of actually running the whole plant.
The entry rules are simple and usually not that strict while the basic requirements for candidates are competencies in general science, biology, chemistry and physics. Some of the common subjects covered are more or less the same for example like environmental engineering, sewage management, biological systems, treatment technology, sludge handling, filtration option and many more. Duration for the degree courses is roughly 3 to 4 years with options to further studies going to Master’s degrees. Let’s look at the general outlines and descriptions for the topics covered in the courses.
Wastewater Generation – Learning about the source of incoming effluent, collection systems, estimation of quantities, evaluation techniques and wastewater characteristics
Different Treatment Process – Talks about various physical and chemical treatment options and which one to use based on cost consideration and effluent characteristics
Individual Onsite Systems – How to set up and commission the treatment plants, dealing with troubleshooting, testing methods and understanding field control parameters
Sludge Disposal and Reuse – Design of facilities for disposal and reuse, control of leachate, storage and possible energy generation.
Wastewater Reclamation – How to handle small treatment processes and design a system that can reuse wastewater coming from small communities including preparation the water for irrigation
Role of Technicians and Engineers – Studies that cover about conception and planning, basic calculation on flowrates and mass balance, data interpretation, operation and maintenance works and finally regulatory requirements.
Overall employment opportunities for graduates are abundant and in terms of salary scale compared to other professions, jobs related to wastewater treatment plants can be considered at the upper level. For successful individuals who have vast experience in the field, there are even opportunities to set up own company that provide consultancy services on wastewater management.