Water treatment worker

water treatment operative process controller process operator water quality technician water treatment operator

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would use the equipment in a water treatment plant to make water clean and safe for people to drink.

You could also process sewage, chemicals and other waste to make it safe.

You would:

  • Use equipment such as sludge processing and pumping stations
  • Clean and look after septic tanks, filters and other equipment
  • Make small repairs and report major problems to engineers
  • Add chemicals to treat the water
  • Check and record water and gas levels

You would need to be willing to work difficult hours, and to follow strict health and safety rules at all times.

Working conditions


You would usually work 37 hours a week, often as part of a shift pattern including nights and weekends. Overtime may be available.


You may work in a control room, or in water treatment areas which could be indoors or outside. The job can be physically demanding and may involve working at heights or in confined spaces. Conditions may be wet, dirty and smelly, although you would be provided with protective clothing and equipment.

UK employment status



Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Following instructions
  • Accuracy
  • Repairing and fixing
  • Being physically fit
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role, however a good general education may be useful.

You may undertake a Modern Apprenticeship leading to a relevant Scottish Vocational Qualification Water Industry Operations (SCQF level 3). Entry requirements for a Modern Apprenticeship vary but employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science subjects, in particular chemistry
  • Technologies subjects such as engineering science

You will also need

if you are to operate machinery as part of your role, you will need to be at least 18 years old.

You should be physically fit.

Helpful to have

A driving licence.