Professional Development

Water & Wastewater System Operator

The five-week Water Operator Workforce Ready Certificate Program was developed by WaterWorkforce in collaboration with the College of Engineering/Civil Engineering department & College of Professional and Global Education (CPGE) at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (CPP).  The Program — taught onsite at the Cal Poly CPGE campus in Pomona — prepares students for entry-level water/wastewater operator positions and the WaterWorkforce apprenticeship program. Dedicated students will attain comprehensive water systems knowledge, work-ready skills, and industry-recognized certifications. Additionally, students will have job placement opportunities in the water and wastewater industries. Entry-level wage is $22.50-$27.00 per hour, and the average wage full-time in California is $57,669 per year.

Participants will gain a thorough understanding of essential industry skills including:

  • System operations
  • Tools and equipment
  • Safety procedures
  • Installation and repairs
  • Utility fundamentals
  • Water math
  • National Incident Management System (NIMS) principles
  • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) operations
  • Work readiness and professional skills (soft skills)

Students who successfully complete the program will be issued Certificates of Completion by Cal Poly Pomona CPGE and WaterWorkforce (80 contract hours) and receive 8.0 continuing education units.

Additionally, during the program, students will submit their application to State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) to take the Water Distribution Operator 1 or 2 Exam and/or Water Treatment Operator 1 or 2 Exam. Students should receive an accepted application letter and a testing date issued from the state at the completion of the 5-week course.

Take the First Step!

Step 1: Attend the Mandatory Information Session
Step 2: Submit Application – sent via email after signing up for the info session
Step 3: Submit resume and high school or college transcripts (unofficial transcripts accepted)
Step 4: Interview with WaterWorkforce Staff Member
Step 5: Submit Right to Work Documentation & Selective Service Letter (males, if applicable)
Step 6:  Receive Acceptance Letter (sent via email) Mandatory Cal Poly Pomona Tour: February 3, 2024
Step 7: Begin the Training Program! Program start date: February 9, 2024


The ideal program candidates will meet the basic eligibility requirements and any of the following criteria

  • Those who have water quality or plumbing experience.
  • Those who have taken a water and/or wastewater course.
  • Those who have worked volunteered or interned in the water industry.
  • Military personnel who have worked in water/wastewater or hydraulics.

Basic eligibility requirements

  • High School Diploma
  • 1-2 water or wastewater courses and/or any experience in water/wastewater operations.
  • Pass a background check and drug test.

Utility Core Functions (Entry Level) - 80 hrs

1 Introduction to Cal Poly Facility 1 1 0 2
2 Soft Skills: Conflict Resolution, problem-solving, professionalism 2 0 2 4
3 Water/Wastewater Systems Operations 9 0 0 8
4 Tools and Equipment 2 2 0 4
5 Safety Protocols and Regulations 8 4 4 16
6 Installation/Leaks Repair: Service Line, Meters, Valves 2 6 0 8
7 USA (Underground Service Alert) 1 0 2 3
8 Chemical Feed and Applications 1 3 2 6
9 Utility Employee Fundamentals 3 0 0 3
10 Water Quality Sampling 2 2 2 6
11 Water Math 4 0 0 4
12 Analytical Equipment 1 3 2 6
13 SCADA Operations 1 0 1 2
14 NIMS Training 4 0 4 8
TOTAL 40 21 19 80


We feel that this certificate 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

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3801 W. Temple Ave.
Bldg 220C-140
Pomona CA 91768


Phone: 909-869-2288
Office Hours:
Monday – Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM


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