Frequently Asked Questions


What are the requirements to enter the program? 

  • Anyone 18 or older with a high school diploma or a state-issued GED qualifies for this program.
  • All applicants are required to take the Owens Community College placement tests (math, reading, and writing) to assess their readiness for the program and their support needs. Those who need additional preparation can receive tutoring or take Owens’ free college preparation courses.
  • An orientation will be scheduled before classes start. Attendance is required to register for classes.

What services are available to students who do not score well on the placement test?

  • Prospective students who are identified as needing additional academic support are encouraged to utilize Owens’ free college preparation courses offered at the Career and Readiness Center on campus. These individuals will be encouraged to apply to future sessions to ensure that they are ready for this rigorous program.
  • In addition, Owens has an extensive student support system to provide extra tutoring in and out of the classroom and additional assistance navigating the college experience. 

What if there are more applicants than seats available? 

  • This program will follow Owens’ established enrollment procedures. Individuals who complete all enrollment requirements on time, including application and placement testing, will be accepted into the program first.
  • If applications exceed the number of seats available, interested individuals will be placed on a wait list and will be prioritized for future sessions or open seats.

What is required of students once they have been accepted to the program?

  • This is a rigorous, full-time program over 16 weeks that requires a good deal of math and reading. Students will need to have time to dedicate to the program. 
  • Students will be expected to attend in-person classes at Owens’ Toledo Campus from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and need to be available to attend training at water or wastewater plants on Fridays. 
  • Because of the time required, significant part-time employment during the 16-weeks of coursework is discouraged.

How will students gain employment following their completion of the program?

  • Students will be connected with local utilities through the Water Workforce Coalition. These utilities each have different employment requirements and most require that individuals pass the Ohio EPA operator exam before or during their employment. Visit Workplaces to see a list of utilities that anticipate hiring new operators in the next two years.
  • During on-the-job training, students will have many opportunities to connect with drinking water and wastewater utilities in northwest Ohio. These connections will also give students an advantage when they are ready to apply for open positions in the region. 

How much does the program cost?

  • Tuition and cost of attendance are free for qualifying students through May 2025 thanks to grant funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Students are responsible for the nominal cost of applying to Owens. The Water Workforce Coalition is working to create a sustainable low-cost program that will continue to prepare the water workforce into the future.