Apprenticeship Program

It takes more than 380,000 highly skilled water and wastewater personnel to ensure the public supply of safe drinking water, in addition to protecting our lakes, streams and groundwater.



Welcome to Rural Water and the National Rural Water Apprenticeship Program! If you are looking for a stable, promising career where you will be able to serve your community and make a difference in everyday lives, learning from some of the best water and wastewater operators in the nation, apply to become an apprentice in the water and wastewater industry. There will always be a need for water and wastewater professionals and there is no better time than now to become the next generation of respected professionals in the most vital industry in the world: Water.


Thousands of hard-working men and women protect our environment and ensure the health and safety of its citizens by providing access to safe, affordable drinking water and effective sanitation management. Water and Wastewater Operation Specialists have a wide range of skills from computer technology to heavy machinery, from financial understanding to regulatory compliance. This profession works both indoors and outdoors and must interact and work with engineers, chemists, management staff and laboratory staff. Rural utility operators typically are responsible for management, operations, and maintenance of a system. They can also be responsible for inspecting equipment, monitoring daily activity, maintaining regular test samples and ensure that safety standards are met by staying current on environmental laws and regulations.

About the Apprenticeship Program

The NRWA Apprenticeship Program has provided the guidelines to states that lays a firm foundation for the apprentices to thrive upon completion. With little to no-cost, apprentices will attend an approximate 2-year training program through a State Association. From classroom instruction and on-the-job training, you are provided the tools necessary to be a successful operation specialist in your community. During your apprenticeship, you will earn-while-you-learn with knowledgeable, passionate people who strive to deliver clean drinking water to their community and treat wastewater before returning it to the environment. This program starts as a job and emerges as a solid and secure career as either a water operations specialist or wastewater operations specialist.


Since more than 90% of the US is being serviced by small and rural utilities, career opportunities are everywhere. When an apprentice receives its NRWA approval of completion and US Department of Labor Certificate, the apprentice will have a wide range of career prospects across the country, with no debt to repay. There will always be a need for water and wastewater professionals. And the NRWA Apprenticeship Program, through its State Associations and utility members, will ensure highly skilled professionals are prepared and ready to become part of the respected Rural Water family.

About NRWA

The National Rural Water Association is the largest public drinking water and sanitation utility organization representing the interests of more than 31,000 water and wastewater utilities nationwide. NRWA provides training and technical assistance through 49 affiliated State Rural Water Associations dedicated to supporting and promoting the water and wastewater professionals that serve small communities across the United States. NRWA and the State Affiliates provide training on operator certification, financial sustainability, environmental compliance, utility management and governance to over 80,000 water professionals annually in all 50 states.


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