Wastewater Collection CAS

Pursue an industry career with a hands-on Wastewater Collection education.

The Wastewater Collection certificate program at MSU-Northern is a one year program that prepares you for successful employment in various settings. Integrating practical experience with wastewater treatment technology and theory, the program helps you build skills and knowledge to give you an edge with employers.

  • Prepare to enter a field that has a high demand for employees with the required certification to operate and maintain a wastewater collection system and with a strong education.
  • Pair the wastewater collection program with one of MSU-Northern’s complementary programs in Agricultural Technology, Applied Science, Biology, Business Technology, Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Civil Engineering Technology, Electrical Technology or Plumbing Technology and develop an even broader skill set.

Wastewater Collection Education Program: Career-focused. Experiential.

  • Earn a Certificate of Applied Science in Wastewater Collection from MSU-Northern’s water quality program and be immediately prepared to pursue full-time employment in the industry.
  • Become an integral part of protecting public health and safety and the environment by returning quality reclaimed water to Montana’s surface water and groundwater sources.
  • Gain certification from the Association of Boards of Certification as a Class 3 Wastewater Collection System Operator upon successful completion of an exam and fulfilling experience requirement. Reciprocity available with many states.
  • Achieve certification by the American Backflow Prevention Association as a Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester upon successful completion of an exam. Recognized in 38 states, District of Columbia, US Military, Guam, Japan and South Korea.

Wastewater Collection Faculty: Knowledgeable. Dedicated. Student-Focused.

  • Learn about wastewater collection methods and technologies, laboratory and sampling techniques, related state and federal regulations, and safety through classroom and hands-on learning with MSU-Northern faculty and professionals currently in the field.
  • Interact with MSU-Northern’s water quality faculty and industry leaders that have years of experience and advanced knowledge in industry practices.
  • Experience effective learning and success by working with program staff online, in small groups and one-on-one.

Wastewater Collection Courses: Online. Statewide. On Campus.

  • Course Location - By integrating MSU-Northern online courses with METC courses of a two to six day workshop format in various locations across Montana and requiring on campus lab work three to four weekends per semester for just one course in the Wastewater Collection Certificate program does not require students to relocate to MSU-Northern’s campus.
  • Technical Education - Build a base of knowledge with program courses covering topics in wastewater collection, testing, environmental health and safety, rules and regulations, water hydraulics, backflow prevention, and various technologies.
  • Real-world Experience - Hands on backflow prevention assembly testing, wastewater laboratory testing, one-on-one interaction with wastewater collection operators currently in the field, and tours of statewide wastewater collection systems will provide students with a combination of real-world experience and technical background.

Career Outlook for Wastewater Collection Operators and Managers

Certificate of Applied Science
Gainful Employment Information.
  • Graduates with a Wastewater Collection certificate from MSU-Northern’s Water Quality Technology program pursue employment opportunities in a variety of settings and roles as municipal, industrial and private wastewater collection system operators and managers, laboratory technicians and managers, technical assistance providers, county, state and federal agency regulators and field personnel, manufacturer’s representatives, and engineering and consulting firm field technicians.
  • Statewide – Montana law does not currently require certification of wastewater collection system operators. However, it is being discussed for presentation to the state legislature as wastewater collection system operators are the only operators in the water and wastewater industry in Montana not required to become certified at this time.
  • Nationwide - the two premier water and wastewater professional organizations, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF), identified the highest level of need for non-administrative employees was in the area of certified operators in both drinking and wastewater in 2011. AWWA has also identified in its State of the Industry report workforce issues as one of the top five topics of concern. It is now estimated that 40% - 50% of the workforce will retire in the next 10 years. In addition, the US EPA has identified the water and wastewater industry as an area for returning military veterans to find employment.

Do you have questions about a career in wastewater collection? Please contact these organizations.

Morrison-Maierle, Inc. 
Robert Morrison, Past President
1 Engineering Place
Helena, MT 59604
Phone: (406) 442-3050

City of Helena
Mark Fitzwater, WWTP Superintendent
2108 Custer Avenue
Helena, MT 59602
Phone: (406) 457-8558


Great West Engineering
Amy Deitchler, Project Manager
2501 Belt View Dr.
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 494-6160

MT Department of Environmental Quality
Reta Therriault, Certification Team Lead
1520 E. 6th Ave.
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-3434


Carol Reifschneider 
    Office: Hagener Science Center 206
    Phone: (406) 265-4126