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Environmental Sciences Department

Students learn and practice skills in real field settings (photo)
Students learn and practice skills in real field settings

Water Resources

Program Description

The Water Resources program at Spokane Community College (SCC) is one of only a few programs of its kind in the United States. The program has two options designed to prepare students for technical positions in the hydrological sciences or positions as certified water and wastewater operators.

The study of water involves physical, chemical, and biological components. Instruction is offered in all three of these areas to develop a well-rounded graduate for employment or pursuing a bachelor's degree. The program requires eight weeks of work experience to be completed during the summer between the two years of instruction.

New Streamlined Program for Students with Bachelor's Degrees!

If you already have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university (regardless of your major), Water Resources instructors will work with you to ensure you get the real world training and experience employers are looking for. Get a competitive advantage by learning the latest technologies including:

  • Stream discharge/gaging measurements using Acoustic Doppler
  • Groundwater and surface water sampling and analyses
  • Watershed restoration monitoring and techniques
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Certification

Water Resources Technology Option

Employers needing summer interns, please send email to
Students completing the Water Resources Technology option will have specialized training in:
  • Installing, operating, and maintaining instruments used in stream gaging and discharge measurement
  • Collecting, recognizing, and identifying aquatic organisms from invertebrate insects to fish species, relating what is found to the habitat and aquatic ecosystem conditions
  • Restoration practices used to improve fish habitat and water quality, including techniques to stabilize slopes and recover degraded lakes and stream courses
  • Advanced data collection and analyses pertaining to hydrology

Water and Wastewater Operator Option

Employers needing summer interns, please send email to
Students completing the Water and Wastewater Operator option will have specialized training in:
  • Pumps, pipes, hydrants, and valves common to both water and wastewater operations
  • Safe Drinking Water Act and National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements
  • Basic maintenance and repair common to water and wastewater systems
  • Construction inspection and management practices, including use of computerized systems and proper interpretation of system schematics

Program Goals

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  1. Work safely in a variety of adverse conditions and environments, including obtaining 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) certification according to the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.120
  2. Collect samples, complete field surveys, analyze, and report water quality parameters in the field and laboratory using standard chemical, biological, physical, and field survey techniques commonly utilized in water resource studies
  3. Install, operate, and maintain instruments used in collecting hydro-meteorological measurements
  4. Set up monitoring plans and schedules to collect, measure, analyze and report ground water levels and water quality parameters
  5. Utilize, interpret and analyze maps and aerial photographs in the characterization and management of water resources, including through the use of geographic information systems (GIS)
  6. Operate a hand compass, staff compass, transit, level, global positioning systems (GPS) and electronic instruments in determining slopes, turning angles, running traverses, locating ownership boundaries, and determining locations
  7. Have knowledge and understanding of of Federal and State laws that pertain to water and the aquatic environment including a good working knowledge of water rights laws
  8. Use the computer as a tool for solving water resources problems
  9. Write technical reports and give presentations
  10. Demonstrate human relationship skills and professional behavior needed for successful job performance

Career Opportunities

There is an increasing demand for technologists to assist professional personnel in the investigation, interpretation and analysis of data for proper monitoring and management of water resources. This program is a recognized feeder program for the U.S. Geologic Survey Hydrologic Technician series. Other potential employers for graduates include federal agencies (such as Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service), Native American tribes, state agencies (such as Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Idaho Fish & Game, Idaho Department of Water Resources, Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Washington Department of Natural Resources), health districts, county and municipal governments, semi-public agencies (such as irrigation, drainage and water districts), private lumber and mining companies, and private consulting firms.

Common positions for the program's graduates include:

  • biological technician
  • certified water operator (operator in training)
  • certified wastewater operator (operator in training)
  • environmental technician
  • fisheries technician
  • hydrologic technician
  • water quality technician
  • water resources technician
  • watermaster
  • watershed technician


The Water Resources program at SCC offers students many exciting career opportunities while providing a solid understanding of water resource science. If you love the outdoors and are looking for a good job, come join us!

Consult the official program outline
for more information about this program.
link to outline
For more information....For more information:
Program Contacts:Erin Cunningham Rudders or David Stasney or
Dept. Phone:(509) 533-7266 or
1-800-248-5644 ext. 7266
Counseling Contact:Ric Villalobos, M.S., Counselor
Phone: (509) 533-7356 or
1-800-248-5644 ext. 7356
Mail:SCC Counseling Center
1810 N Greene St
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
  You can also submit an online information request
or get our address to write for more information

You may be eligible for free tuition!
Follow this link to learn more .

Spokane Community College
1810 N. Greene St.
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
For general information call:
509-533-7000 or
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