The online RCAP Resources Library has a variety of resources that are useful to small, rural drinking water and wastewater systems.

The Water Workforce

RCAP’s mission is to help small, rural communities operate their drinking water and wastewater systems well – in an efficient, effective, and sustainable way. We provide training and technical assistance to members of small, rural communities who are involved with their water systems. These people include members of the board or governing body that oversees a system, managers of water plants, and, of course, operators, who have probably the most hands-on job in running a system.

RCAP Supports the
Current Workforce

Not only are an extensive infrastructure and costly plants and equipment required for this, but so are qualified workers to operate all of it. Because we all use and consume water from our taps every day, providing and treating water is a public health concern. It is also an environmental concern. So the human oversight of this essential public service is very important. Machines and operations can be automated and computerized, but workers are needed to use their skills and judgment in testing and treating our water and keeping the infrastructure in good operating order so water can be clean and safe and available to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, year after year, decade after decade. RCAP provides training a technical assistance to build on the abilities, skills and capabilities of all of the people involved in operating a water system. We also encourage new people to enter this part of the workforce and encourage current operators to raise up and train new operators in their systems.


Download our Wastewater Operator brochure here: Wastewater Operator Careers.

Download our Water Operator brochure here: Water Operator Careers.

What does it take to be an Operator?

See our brochures

interested in a water-operations career?

Across the country, water and wastewater operators are retiring and there is a growing need for more young people to enter the water workforce. This is a very secure field to get into because operators will always be needed everywhere. And, because operators are on the front lines of protecting public health and the environment, they are the ultimate green jobs!

What does it take to be an Operator?

This video will cover taking a good chlorine sample and methods for analysis. Effective measurement of chlorine residual is essential for protection of public health. The presence of the residual not only provides disinfection, it also serves and an indicator of water quality. Loss of residual can be an indicator of a water quality problem.


Operators do not need an extensive education (often not even college), but there is some training and experience needed. Below are helpful sources of information on operator schools and training programs.


Certification from the appropriate authorities is also often part of what is needed to be an operator. To learn more about the certification requires of your state, visit the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC).

Lists of current job openings in the water and wastewater industry

Lists of current job openings in the water and wastewater industry

Other Sources

  • In small communities, your local newspaper
  • Your state program (for USDA Rural Development or your state’s health/environment/natural resources) field office
  • A local water operator association
  • An RCAP technical assistance provider in your state