Consider a Career in the Water Industry

Whether you’re a young person just beginning to think about what type of work you’d like to pursue or someone of riper years thinking about a change of career, consider the opportunities available within the water industry.

Shortage of skilled people

The water industry is facing a severe shortage of skilled people―while the demand for those skilled people grows along with our country’s population.

How bad is it? According to a study by the American WaterWorks Association (AWWA), the average age of a water utility worker is 45, while the average retirement age is 56. As these older workers retire, there are fewer young people in the pipeline to take their places.

One reason some people aren’t attracted to the industry is because of the false notion that only “dead-end” jobs are available in the business. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Types of jobs

The water industry hires a wide variety of people, from recent high school graduates to those

with advanced technical degrees. Do you want to work outdoors? There’s a job for you. If you’d rather stay behind a desk, there are water careers to satisfy your needs. If you’re interested in working with the legislature or local political bodies, if customer service is your thing, or if you’re an avid conservationist, you can find a niche in the water industry.

In no particular order, the water industry needs: engineers, water rights attorneys, heavy equipment operators, water treatment plant operators, office support staff, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) specialists, security specialists, construction managers, IT (information technology) specialists, mechanics, communications and public relations specialists, regional planners, source protection specialists, conservationists, and more.

Advantages of a career in the water industry

According to the AWWA, there are many reasons to work in the water industry.

Stability. Most water industry jobs must be done right in the  community and can’t be outsourced to other countries.

Jobs are everywhere. Every community needs clean water. You might be able to find a job right where you are―or if you’d like to relocate, your potential new home definitely needs water industry professionals, too. You might be able to choose what type of community you prefer―rural or urban, north, south, east or west, warm or four-season climate. They all need water!

Upward mobility. While some jobs are available to those with a high school diploma, there are many opportunities to receive training and credentials that offer room for growth. Improving technology will give more opportunities for operators to develop new skills, lead to job growth, and open up more career paths.

  • Excellent benefits and good starting pay. While of course pay and benefits vary, most water utilities offer generous terms to attract and keep good employees.
  • Job satisfaction. Everyone needs clean, safe water. Water industry professionals protect public health and provide a valuable service.

Where to learn more

If you want to find out more about pursuing a career in the water industry, AWWA’s Career Center is a good place to start. Visit, then click the following:

  • Resources & Tools
  • Career Center
  • Career Resources