What is a Watershed Science Technician?

What Is Watershed Science?

Watershed Science is a field that specializes in the treatment and production of clean water for daily use in people's homes.

What does a Watershed Science Technician do?

Watershed Science Technicians treat and manage wastewater to provide clean water supplies to people. They often work with complex machinery, plant technologies, and strong chemicals to achieve this end. They are also responsible for monitoring the plant's operating systems and assuring that everything is running smoothly.

Watershed Science Technicians must be detail-oriented and possess sharp math and technological skills because of the equipment they work with every day. Memorization skills also come in handy, as Watershed Science Technicians must be familiar with standard operating procedures and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

Where Does a Watershed Science Technician Work?

Watershed Science Technicians usually work in water treatment plants, a highly industrial environment that is often noisy and sometimes smelly. Many Watershed Science Technicians are required to work both indoors and outdoors, meaning they are sometimes exposed to unpleasant weather conditions and potentially dangerous situations. It is important to note that Watershed Science Technicians experience more occupational injuries than the average career.

Most Watershed Science Technicians are employed by their local governments, though some people work for private utility companies. Because all water treatment plants must always be operating, Watershed Science Technicians are likely to work day shift and be on call for nights and weekends. Sometimes Watershed Science Technicians must work overtime or on holidays.

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What Is the Average Watershed Science Technician's Salary?

According to the BLS, watershed science technicians earned a median salary of $49,090 as of May 2020. The top 10% among water and wastewater treatment plants and systems operators earned more than $79,620 and the bottom 10% earned less than $29,730 during this time.*

What Is the Job Demand for Watershed Science Technicians?

The job demand for watershed science technicians is projected to decline about 3 percent between 2020 and 2030. However, growing populations, particularly in American suburbs, will continue to require the maintenance of watersheds.*

What Are the Educational Requirements to Become a Watershed Science Technician?

Watershed Science Technicians need a high school diploma at minimum. However, many employers prefer applicants with a professional certificate from a technical school or associate's degree in water quality management or wastewater treatment.

In many states, Watershed Science Technicians require state licensing. However, the exact requirements vary from state to state. In most states, you can achieve four levels of licensing. The higher your license, the more likely you are to advance in your position.

Other Degrees Related to Watershed Science

What Kind of Societies and Professional Organizations Do Watershed Science Technicians Have?

Watershed Science Technicians and those who wish to become Watershed Science Technicians can look to the following government site for guidance:

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): http://www.epa.gov
    This bureau of the federal government contains current safety standards and regulations for both water and wastewater treatment plants. Watershed Science Technicians should be well aware of these standards before entering the profession.

Watershed Science Technicians can also browse through these organizations and websites for valuable resources:

  • American Water Works Association (AWWA): http://www.awwa.org
    The largest nonprofit educational association focused on the management and treatment of water. They offer various resources to Watershed Science Technicians and are focused on finding more sustainable ways to use our current water resources.
  • National Association of Wastewater Technicians (NAWT): http://www.nawt.org
    A professional organization that attempts to unite professionals involved in wastewater treatment to represent their interests, promote information about the industry, and make wastewater treatment a respected and well-recognized profession.
  • National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA): http://www.nowra.org
    An organization dedicated to educating and helping any employee involved in the water treatment industry. They are also interesting in examining current challenges that the industry currently faces and attempting to solve them.

*2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for water and wastewater treatment plant and systems operators reflect national data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed September 2021.

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