LA JUNTA — Otero Junior College launched a new certificate program in Water Quality Management Technology during Fall Semester that includes two certificates; Water Treatment and Waste Water Treatment, each requiring one semester of study. Upon completion of the certificates, students will be prepared to sit for the Colorado Water and Wastewater Facility Operators Certification Board operator’s certification test at the C and D levels. During Fall Semester the Water Treatment certificate program was offered with the Waste Water Treatment program being offered during Spring Semester. According to Dr. David Cockrell, associate vice president of instruction at Otero Junior College, there is still time to enroll in the Waste Water Treatment program.
“You did not have to enroll in the Water Treatment during Fall Semester to enroll in the Waste Water Treatment program this spring. Our first class will begin on Thursday, January 12; however, we can take enrollment into the class up through Thursday, January 19,” said Cockrell.
The course will be held every Thursday from 5 to 7:50 p.m. in Wheeler Hall, Room 127. The class will run for 15 weeks through April 26.
Cockrell explained that the new certificate program is currently the only program of its kind in the state offered by a community college outside of the Denver-metro area. The completion of the class allows a student to sit for the C and D Waste Water Treatment certification tests.
“We’re very happy to be able to offer this program of study that shows some great potential for employment demand over the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, the demand for new employment opportunities in Colorado is projected to increase by 21 percent by 2018. The salary range for 2009 was between $36,000 for entry-level to over $60,000 for experienced operators,” said Cockrell.
“We’re hoping to generate some new interest in this field of study as well as provide the required training needed by people who are already working in local water company systems and city water systems,” he said.
Joe Kelley, director of La Junta Water and Wastewater Treatment, chairs the OJC Water Quality Management Advisory Committee and will be teaching the Waste Water Treatment course during Spring Semester.
“This is a great program to see come to OJC. The college has worked hard to make sure that all the courses being taught in the program have been approved by the Colorado Water and Wastewater Facilities Operators Certification Board and that they satisfy the minimum experience requirement for eligibility to sit for the class “D” operator’s exam,” said Kelley.
For more information and registration, contact Dr. David Cockrell at 719-384-6886, the OJC Student Services office at 719-384-6831 or visit http://www.ojc.edu/cteWaterQual.aspx.