Water work: Jobs related to water utilities
More than 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered in it.
We use most of it for purposes other than drinking.
We need it to survive.
It’s water, of course. But less than 1 percent of this essential compound is accessible for our consumption. We rely on workers in water and wastewater treatment to keep the supply we do have clean and safe—and available to us.
Industries related to water utilities include local government utilities; water, sewage, and other systems; and water and sewer system construction. As chart 1 shows, employment in local government utilities and water, sewage, and other systems has been relatively stable over the past decade. Water and sewer system construction employment, like construction employment as a whole, has fluctuated.
These industries employ workers in a variety of jobs, including those in:
- management and supervision;
- design and construction;
- operations and maintenance; and
- office and administrative support.
As table 1 shows, compared with all occupations, many of the selected occupations offer either higher pay or better job prospects, or both. And you can enter most of the occupations shown in the table with a high school diploma and on-the-job training.
In addition to opportunities arising from growth, opportunities are expected from the need to replace workers who leave these occupations permanently. Chart 2 shows selected occupations related to water and wastewater treatment that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects to have higher-than-average replacement rates through 2024.
Learn more about these and other occupations in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Detailed industry and occupation projections are available from the Employment Projections program.
Related Career Outlook articles:
Elka Torpey, "Water work: Jobs related to water utilities," Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2017.