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Working as a Water Plant Operator

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a water plant operator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $22.18 an hour? That's $46,141 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -5% and produce -6,100 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Water Plant Operator Do

There are certain skills that many water plant operators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed mechanical skills, analytical skills and detail oriented.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a water plant operator, we found that a lot of resumes listed 10.7% of water plant operators included plant equipment, while 10.0% of resumes included water treatment plant, and 10.0% of resumes included water quality. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the water plant operator job title. But what industry to start with? Most water plant operators actually find jobs in the government and health care industries.

How To Become a Water Plant Operator

If you're interested in becoming a water plant operator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 24.0% of water plant operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 4.3% of water plant operators have master's degrees. Even though some water plant operators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a water plant operator. When we researched the most common majors for a water plant operator, we found that they most commonly earn high school diploma degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on water plant operator resumes include associate degree degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a water plant operator. In fact, many water plant operator jobs require experience in a role such as plant operator. Meanwhile, many water plant operators also have previous career experience in roles such as maintenance technician or technician.

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Average Salary$46,141
Job Growth Rate-5%

Water Plant Operator Jobs

Water Plant Operator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Water Plant Operator

Top Careers After Water Plant Operator

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Average Salary for a Water Plant Operator

Water Plant Operators in America make an average salary of $46,141 per year or $22 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $64,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $32,000 per year.
Average Salary
$46,141

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range39k - 62k$50k$49,613
Salary Range37k - 56k$46k$46,071
Salary Range36k - 57k$46k$45,848
Salary Range37k - 53k$45k$44,535
Salary Range35k - 52k$43k$43,314
Salary Range34k - 54k$43k$43,259
$34k
$62k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Plant Operator A. B. or C Water Reclamation
Plant Operator A. B. or C Water Reclamation
Fort Pierce Utilities Authority
Fort Pierce Utilities Authority
10/30/2020
10/30/2020
$44,14010/30/2020
$44,140
Plant Operator-Water
Plant Operator-Water
Collier County
Collier County
09/18/2020
09/18/2020
$39,83209/18/2020
$39,832
Utility Water Plant Operator I
Utility Water Plant Operator I
City of Sanford
City of Sanford
08/21/2020
08/21/2020
$40,43608/21/2020
$40,436
Water Reclamation Plant Operator Trainee
Water Reclamation Plant Operator Trainee
Gainesville Regional Utilities
Gainesville Regional Utilities
08/18/2020
08/18/2020
$28,69608/18/2020
$28,696
Plant Operator/Water
Plant Operator/Water
City of Stockton, Ca
City of Stockton, Ca
06/29/2020
06/29/2020
$55,79406/29/2020
$55,794
See More Recent Salaries

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Water Plant Operator Demographics

Gender

male

85.8%

female

9.6%

unknown

4.6%

Ethnicity

White

72.0%

Hispanic or Latino

11.9%

Black or African American

9.9%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.4%

Chinese

11.1%

Japanese

11.1%
See More Demographics

Water Plant Operator Education

Degrees

High School Diploma

35.1%

Bachelors

24.0%

Associate

20.7%

Top Colleges for Water Plant Operators

1. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, NY

Tuition and fees
$53,880
Enrollment
6,590

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Tuition and fees
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA

Tuition and fees
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

4. University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Lafayette, LA

Tuition and fees
$9,912
Enrollment
14,245

5. SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

Alfred, NY

Tuition and fees
$8,570
Enrollment
3,721

6. Duke University

Durham, NC

Tuition and fees
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

7. Sacred Heart University

Fairfield, CT

Tuition and fees
$41,420
Enrollment
5,907

8. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and fees
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Tuition and fees
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

10. Siena Heights University

Adrian, MI

Tuition and fees
$27,124
Enrollment
2,035
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Water Plant Operator

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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Water Plant Operator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.7% of water plant operators listed plant equipment on their resume, but soft skills such as mechanical skills and analytical skills are important as well.

Best States For a Water Plant Operator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a water plant operator. The best states for people in this position are Rhode Island, Alaska, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Water plant operators make the most in Rhode Island with an average salary of $54,901. Whereas in Alaska and Connecticut, they would average $54,717 and $54,319, respectively. While water plant operators would only make an average of $54,073 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Pennsylvania

Total Water Plant Operator Jobs:
185
Highest 10% Earn:
$82,000
Location Quotient:
0.97
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Connecticut

Total Water Plant Operator Jobs:
51
Highest 10% Earn:
$91,000
Location Quotient:
0.94
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New York

Total Water Plant Operator Jobs:
249
Highest 10% Earn:
$88,000
Location Quotient:
1.11
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Water Plant Operator Employers

1. James Hardie Building Products
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$53,190
Water Plant Operators Hired: 
6+
2. City of McAllen, TX
3.0
Avg. Salary: 
$39,654
Water Plant Operators Hired: 
5+
3. City of Perry
3.4
Avg. Salary: 
$43,339
Water Plant Operators Hired: 
5+
4. The Villages
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$40,355
Water Plant Operators Hired: 
5+
5. City of Cleveland
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$46,515
Water Plant Operators Hired: 
5+
6. KBR
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$56,787
Water Plant Operators Hired: 
4+

Recently Added Water Plant Operator Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020