Operator Education Opportunities There are many options to get training whether for Continuing Professional Education, substitution for experience, or just staying abreast of changes in the drinking water industry. Training is available by attending a resident course (or event training) or by enrolling in distance learning instruction. Distance learning courses may be correspondence courses, online learning and other computer based training, or broadcasts using satellites or video conferencing. Click on the links to find a course that is right for you.
Resident Training Courses These courses require operators to attend in person, and in addition to registration fees, may require travel, per diem, and lodging expenses. There are several nonprofit organizations that provide event training for waterworks operators. Some of these offering standing programs include: the Advanced Operator Short Schools, Mountain Empire Community College, the Southeast-RCAP, Virginia Rural Water Association, Virginia Section-AWWA, and the Continuing Education Division of Virginia Tech.
Waterworks Operator Short Courses. There are three levels to the Short Courses offered at Virginia Tech in the July-August time frame of each year. The courses are designed in a building block manner that the curricula for levels two and three are based on having completed the previous level.
The first course, Year 1, is an introductory level course emphasizing core subjects, such as disinfection, hydrologic cycle, and operator math. The second level, Year 2, examines groundwater production and hydrogeology, begins investigating the treatment of surface source water, and continues course work on core subjects. The third level, Year 3, strictly focuses on the unit treatment processes of surface source water and how to optimize these treatment processes.
For more information on the short courses and registration, click here.
ODW-Virginia Tech Professional Development Workshops (free at 12 locations near you)
Southeast Rural Community Assistance Program (check the calendar)
Virginia Section AWWA (check the calendar)
Virginia Rural Water Association (check the calendar)
Bacteriological Laboratory Workshop. The Bacteriological Laboratory Workshop is designed to help drinking water laboratory personnel improve their knowledge and skills in performing bacteriological sampling and analysis for public drinking water supplies subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act. It combines classroom lectures with hands-on laboratory work. The course covers drinking water microbiology, sampling techniques, principal lab techniques used for coliform bacteria analysis (multiple tube fermentation, membrane filtration, presence/absence technique, heterotrophic plate count), laboratory quality control and certification, lab equipment, and state and federal regulations, including recent changes in EPA's regulations governing biological contaminants. Click here for more information.
Distance Learning. There are several ways to take distance learning—by correspondence, online, or computer-based training. Operators benefit from being able to proceed at their own pace. The Montana Water Center course is free and be taken online or a CD-ROM can be ordered if a high speed Internet connection is not available.
Mountain Empire Community College. Water/Wastewater Courses are now on the Web and can be applied to an Environmental Associate Degree at Mountain Empire Community College. Courses include applied information on Physics, Chemistry, Microbiology, Electricity, Hydraulics, Hydrology, along with other science and engineering information. Labs may be taken at a plant in your area under approved supervision. Website information is free. Click here for more information.
Credit for experience toward licensing may be obtained by taking courses for credit. If you already have a license to work in this field, it can be credited towards your degree. Click here for more information.
Montana Water Center. Operator Basic Training Series (groundwater only available, but a surface water source online course is under development).