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Working As a Transmission System Operator

  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Getting Information
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • $75,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Transmission System Operator Do

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators manage a system of machines, often through the use of control boards, to transfer or treat water or wastewater.

Duties

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators typically do the following:

  • Add chemicals, such as ammonia or chlorine, to disinfect water or other liquids
  • Inspect equipment on a regular basis
  • Monitor operating conditions, meters, and gauges
  • Collect and test water and sewage samples
  • Record meter and gauge readings and operational data
  • Operate equipment to purify and clarify water or to process or dispose of sewage
  • Clean and maintain equipment, tanks, filter beds, and other work areas
  • Follow U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations
  • Ensure safety standards are met

It takes a lot of work to get water from natural sources—reservoirs, streams, and groundwater—into people’s taps. Similarly, it is a complicated process to convert the wastewater from drains and sewers into a form that is safe to release into the environment.

The specific duties of plant operators depend on the type and size of the plant. In a small plant, one operator may be responsible for maintaining all of the systems. In large plants, multiple operators work the same shifts and are more specialized in their duties, often relying on computerized systems to help them monitor plant processes.

Water treatment plant and system operators work in water treatment plants. Fresh water is pumped from wells, rivers, streams, or reservoirs to water treatment plants, where it is treated and distributed to customers. Water treatment plant and system operators run the equipment, control the processes, and monitor the plants that treat water to make it safe to drink.

Wastewater treatment plant and system operators do similar work to remove pollutants from domestic and industrial waste. Used water, also known as wastewater, travels through sewer pipes to treatment plants where it is treated and either returned to streams, rivers, and oceans, or used for irrigation.

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How To Become A Transmission System Operator

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators typically need a high school diploma and a license to work. They also typically undergo on-the-job training.

Education

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators need a high school diploma or equivalent to become operators. Employers may prefer applicants who have completed a certificate or an associate’s degree program in a related field such as environmental science or wastewater treatment technology, as it reduces the amount of training a worker will need. These programs are generally offered at community colleges, technical schools, and trade associations.

Training

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators need long-term on-the-job training to become fully qualified. Trainees usually start as attendants or operators-in-training and learn their skills on the job under the direction of an experienced operator. The trainees 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 plant equipment.

Larger treatment plants usually combine this on-the-job training with formal classroom or self-paced study programs. As plants get larger and more complicated, operators need more skills before they are allowed to work without supervision.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators must be licensed by the state in which they work. Requirements and standards vary widely depending on the state.

State licenses typically have multiple levels, which indicate the operator's experience and training. Although some states will honor licenses from other states, operators who move from one state to another may need to take a new set of exams to become licensed in their new state.

Advancement

Most states have multiple levels of licenses for water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators. Each increase in license level allows the operator to control a larger plant and more complicated processes without supervision.

At the largest plants, operators who have the highest license level work as shift supervisors and may be in charge of large teams of operators.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators must conduct tests and inspections on water or wastewater and evaluate the results.

Detail oriented. Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators must monitor machinery, gauges, dials, and controls to ensure everything is operating properly. Because tap water and wastewater are highly regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, operators must be careful and thorough in completing these tasks.

Math skills. Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators must have the ability to apply data to formulas that determine treatment requirements, flow levels, and concentration levels.

Mechanical skills. Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators must know how to work with machines and use tools. They must be familiar with how to operate, repair, and maintain equipment.

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Transmission System Operator Career Paths

Transmission System Operator
Information Technology Specialist Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Technical Support Specialist Field Service Technician
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Technician Team Leader Office Manager
Office And Operations Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Instructor Research Associate
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Computer Technician Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Officer Operations Officer
Chief Of Operations
7 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Computer Technician Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Senior Network Engineer Information Technology Director
Director, Technical Operations
10 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Field Service Technician Service Manager
Installation Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Telecommunications Specialist
Telecommunications Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Production Supervisor Quality Assurance Supervisor
Control Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Sergeant Platoon Sergeant Chief Of Operations
Chief Deputy
8 Yearsyrs
Sergeant Non-Commissioned Officer Journeyman
Deployment Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sergeant Field Technician Journeyman
Systems Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Installation Technician Network Administrator Systems Manager
Systems Operations Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Installation Technician Electronics Technician Senior Engineering Technician
Engineering Laboratory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Senior System Administrator Help Desk Manager
Support Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Transmission System Operator?

Top Skills for A Transmission System Operator

  1. Communications Systems
  2. Preventive Maintenance Checks
  3. Unit Level Maintenance
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supervised a team of 4-10 personnel on the installation, maintenance and operation of secure tactical/strategic telecommunications systems.
  • Led subordinates in preventive maintenance checks/services.
  • Streamlined procedures to perform unit level maintenance on all equipment in order to greatly reduce overhead costs.
  • Facilitated communication security devices and associated equipment.
  • Assisted in the accountability and serviceability of consolidated resources and communications equipment valued in excess of $1,200,000.

Transmission System Operator Demographics

Gender

Male

73.9%

Female

14.8%

Unknown

11.3%
Ethnicity

White

59.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

13.9%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.2%

French

9.3%

German

7.0%

Carrier

7.0%

Russian

4.7%

Swahili

2.3%

Chinese

2.3%

Ukrainian

2.3%

Japanese

2.3%

Mandarin

2.3%

Kinyarwanda

2.3%

Polish

2.3%

Korean

2.3%

Lingala

2.3%
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Transmission System Operator Education

Schools

Central Texas College

15.6%

University of Phoenix

14.2%

University of Maryland - University College

7.5%

Cochise College

6.6%

Strayer University

5.2%

Ashford University

4.7%

Fayetteville Technical Community College

4.7%

American University

4.7%

Community College of the Air Force

4.2%

Grantham University

3.8%

Kaplan University

3.8%

Colorado Technical University

3.8%

ECPI University

3.3%

The Academy

2.8%

Troy University

2.8%

Western Governors University

2.8%

Bismarck State College

2.4%

Liberty University

2.4%

American InterContinental University

2.4%

Capella University

2.4%
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Majors

Business

15.8%

Information Technology

15.6%

Criminal Justice

8.1%

Computer Science

7.3%

Computer Information Systems

7.3%

General Studies

7.0%

Computer Networking

7.0%

Electrical Engineering

5.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.9%

Communication

2.9%

Management

2.9%

Education

2.6%

Accounting

2.3%

Liberal Arts

1.8%

Psychology

1.8%

Kinesiology

1.6%

Automotive Technology

1.6%

Nursing

1.6%

Biology

1.6%

Health Care Administration

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

33.5%

Other

30.3%

Associate

22.6%

Masters

6.3%

Certificate

5.0%

Diploma

1.9%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Updated May 19, 2020