Apprenticeship Program

WaterWorkforce’s apprenticeship program has been approved by the Department of Labor and is the second approved apprenticeship program for licensed operators in California. We are currently anticipating approval of the program by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) for California. Our first cohort will start in September 2023.

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What is a Registered Apprenticeship?

Registered apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway that help employers develop and prepare their future workforce. Participants can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a portable, nationally recognized credential. For students, this is a unique and valuable opportunity to “earn while you learn” and develop relevant workplace experience, skills, and credentials that employers’ value.

How Do Registered Apprenticeships Help Employers?

Recruiting and retaining skilled employees is challenging. Apprenticeships reduce the need for expensive recruitment programs by creating a flow of candidates who are already screened and trained. The cost of wages for apprentices is less than that for regular employees. Additionally, apprentices who complete a program often feel a commitment to their work and loyalty to their employer.

apprenticeship water treatment

Program Overview

The apprenticeship program will last 24 months and will start with an intensive 4-to 5-week boot camp during which students will get hands-on experience and pass an entry-level operator in training (OIT) certification before they go out to the field. Once in the field, apprentices will earn $22.50 an hour while they continued to be trained. The training will be conducted on a site that has a small wastewater plant, two water wells, two water reservoirs and a distribution system where trainees will receive hands-on training. The program will also include training in career readiness and interviewing skills as well as job placement into full-time positions in the water industry.


The curriculum contains modules including classroom lecture courses with oversight by a trainer and labs where classroom theory is applied in a test environment.

Modules topics by categories include:

Wastewater Operations Technician

  • Utility Core Functions
  • Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Grades 1 & 2
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Grades 1 & 2 Practicum/Lab
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Grades 1 & 2 Exam Review
  • Collection System Maintenance Grade 1 Exam Review
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Grade 3 Exam Review

Water Systems Operation

  • Utility Core Functions
  • Water Treatment Operator Grades 1 & 2
  • Water Treatment Operator Grades 1 & 2Practicum/Lab
  • Water Treatment Operator Grades 1 & 2Exam Review
  • Water Distribution Operator Grades 1 & 2
  • Water Distribution Operator Grades 1 &2 Practicum/Lab
  • Water Distribution Operator Grades 1 & 2 Exam Review

“We feel that this apprenticeship program is essential to develop a pipeline of trained candidates who are prepared for careers in the field. The boot-camp accelerates the career readiness of participants for entry-level positions as water systems operation specialists and wastewater treatment plant operators.”

Bret Kadel, CEO, WaterWorkforce

What is a Water Systems Operation Specialist?

A water systems operation specialist, also known as water operation technician, manages a system of delivery devices and machines to transfer or treat water. They monitor water flows, operating conditions, and water quality. They also document, track data, and control operations from SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisitions) computer systems. A water system operator must abide by water system permits issued by the state (SWRCB-State Water Resource Control Board) and meet the operator certification criteria (issued by SWRCB) based on the size, capacity, and components of the water system.

workers at work on waste water treatment plant.

Apprenticeship Details

Income & Career Opportunities

The income advancement opportunities for operators are very attractive, with an entry-level wage of $22.50 for trainees who successfully complete the apprenticeship program. With opportunities for substantial overtime hours, plant operators can earn up to $70,000 annually by their second year, and with additional certification they can earn between $85,000 and $105,000 in Los Angeles County.

Minimum Requirements for Acceptance into the Program

Applicants for the apprenticeship program must be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or a GED, and pass a background check.

Sign up today

Receive updates about our apprenticeship program and notices about mandatory information sessions. Our first cohort starts in September 2023.

Questions? Please contact:

Myranda Kelly
Administrative Coordinator
Tel: 840.9778649

Sign up for an Infosession Today!

The first step in becoming a WaterWorkforce apprentice is attending an online infosession. The next infosession is on 000 at 000pm

Let us know if you have any previous experience in water management or why you're interested in this apprenticeship. Or free free to ask a question.
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