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Careers in Water

Two EGLE employees stand on a platform above a wastewater treatment tank, one holding a clipboard and the other holding equipment.
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Careers in Water

No matter your skills or interests, there is a career for you in water. 

It takes a variety of positions to help ensure Michiganders have clean water, and there is a substantial and immediate demand for workers in these fields. Careers in water operations are stable – there is always a need for water! – and offer competitive salaries and opportunities for growth. Providing a service to communities can also be very impactful and rewarding. Curious about how community water systems work? Visit our City/Community Residential Water page.

Some examples of fields and positions in the water profession are listed below. Work for Water provides an excellent overview of the positions listed below (along with many others), including a description of the position and what knowledge, skills, and education is useful or required. 

Fields and Positions in Drinking Water & Wastewater

  • Water Resource Recovery Operator 
  • Engineer 
  • Laboratory Technician 
  • Electrician/Mechanic
  • Biology 
  • Chemistry 
  • Communications 
  • Trade Skills 
  • Finance 

    Career highlight

    Drinking Water Treatment Operator

    In this video, you'll learn what it takes to work as a Water Station Operator at a Michigan water supply. If you enjoy working with numbers and are interested in science, this could be the career for you.

    Career highlight Video

    Some apprentice and educational programs in Michigan

    An outline of the state of Michigan with a dot marking the location of the Iron Mountain / Escanaba area

    Bay College

    Bay College offers an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Water Resource Management and a Water Technology Certificate.

    • Flexible Schedules. All courses are offered online, with labs completed in collaboration with a local municipality near you so you don’t need to travel far.
    • Work experience counts. Earn credit for approved work experience.
    • Funding Opportunities. Water Program Scholarships are available, along with employer reimbursement options, apprenticeship programs, Michigan Reconnect funding, and Pell Grants.
    • Post-Graduation Job Security. Graduates are highly sought after, as shown by their incredible 100% placement rate! 
    An outline of the state of Michigan with a dot marking the location of the Bay City / Saginaw area

    Delta College

    Delta College offers an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Water Environmental Technology.

    • Flexible Schedules. Their online, in-person, or hybrid classes are offered during the day, at night, and on weekends to work with your schedule. They also have three centers, so that you can take classes closer to home.
    • Funding Opportunities. Financial aid and scholarships are available.
    An outline of the state of Michigan with a dot marking the location of the Grand Rapids area

    Grand Rapids Community College

    Grand Rapids Community College, the City of Grand Rapids, and Bay College have partnered to offer Water & Wastewater Treatment apprentice and educational programs. This project is supported by a national $3.8 million EPA grant, and aims to introduce middle and high school students and adult learners from neighborhoods with high unemployment to opportunities in fresh water and wastewater utilities. 

    An outline of the state of Michigan with a dot marking the location of the Detroit area

    Great Lakes Water Authority

    Great Lakes Water Authority’s (GLWA) Apprenticeship Program is a 3-year apprenticeship program that combines paid, on-the-job training; in-house educational course; and community college courses. Graduates are offered full-time positions at GLWA, which is a regional water and wastewater treatment service provider in Southeast Michigan. 

    Michigan Reconnect

    Michigan Reconnect may provide free tuition at your community college to earn an associate degree or skill certificate. This may apply to some drinking water and wastewater programs. The community colleges listed above accept Michigan Reconnect. Visit the Michigan Reconnect website or reach out to your campus representative to find out if you and your program are eligible.

    Upon completion of some of these programs, you would be eligible to take Michigan’s water operator's certificate exam and wastewater operator’s certificate exam. Bay and Delta Colleges boast high passing rates for their recent graduates. 


    Michigan Water School

    Resources for local officials

    EGLE Classroom

    Resources for educators

    Clean Water Ambassadors

    To learn about drinking water and become a resource in your community