The Arkansas Environmental Training Academy is the designated Environmental Training Center for the State of Arkansas and is a training division of Southern Arkansas University Tech in Camden, Arkansas. The Academy has a statewide mission to provide quality training and educational programs to aid the management and operating staff of municipal, commercial and industrial facilities in meeting state and federal licensing and certification requirements. Within our resources, the Academy accomplishes its mission through comprehensive certification and continuing education programs, statewide technical assistance programs, administrative and student services and professional development for faculty and staff.

Where our funding comes from...

Funding for the Academy’s statewide training programs is provided by the Arkansas State Legislature, Arkansas Department of Higher Education, industrial contracts and student registration fees. The Academy provides training on the Southern Arkansas University Tech campus in Camden, Arkansas, at training sites statewide and by Internet delivery.



Southwest Technical Institute was created on April 5, 1967 by Act 534 of the Arkansas General Assembly.

  • 1967: The Environment Control Center was birth as a training division of Southwest Technical Institute. The Center was mandated by the Arkansas State Legislature, under the Vocational Technology system to provide municipal water and wastewater technology training statewide.
  • 1968: The Environment Control Center, under the umbrella of Southwest Technical Institute, developed an Associates of Applied Science degree in Environmental Control Technology for water and wastewater technologies.


During the 1970’s, Southwest Technical Institute was operated by the Arkansas State Board of Education.

  • 1975: By Act of the Arkansas State Legislature, Southwest Technical Institute became Southern Arkansas University Tech, under the governance of the Board of Trustees of Southern Arkansas University.
  • 1975: The Associates of Applied Science degree in Environmental Control Technology was discontinued.
  • 1979: The Environment Control Center became a separate training division of SAU-Tech.


In the early 1980’s the Academy received funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency to construct the Arkansas Environmental Academy.

  • 1984: The Academy became the 109(b) Environmental Training Center for the state of Arkansas. The facilities consisted of a working wastewater treatment plant, microbiology lab and classroom.

In the mid 1980’s the Academy partnered with the Arkansas Department of Pollution Control & Ecology to begin a training program for the licensing of solid waste operators statewide and Solid Waste became the Academy’s third training division.


The 1990’s saw continued growth in Academy programs.

  • 1991: The Academy partnered with the Arkansas Department of Health to begin training backflow prevention and cross-connection control technicians statewide. Backflow Prevention would become the Academy’s fourth division.
  • 1995: The Academy, through SAU-Tech developed an Associate of Applied Science degree in Environmental Science. The degree plan, through portfolio development, allows students in the Academy’s training programs to convert their training hours into college credit.
  • 1999: The Academy expanded its facilities with the addition of staff offices, a production room, student break room and two classrooms.


During the 2000’s the Academy growth continues, with the development of Internet classes, the Academy now offers over 300 classes annually serving nearly 3,000 students.

  • 2006: The Academy developed its fifth training division, Environmental Health & Safety to provide a cost effective means for municipal and industrial facilities statewide to obtain affordable safety training for their employees.
  • 2009: Through an act of legislation, the SAU Tech Environment Control Center officially became the Arkansas Environmental Training Academy.
  • 2012: The Academy constructed a 6,000 ft2 Environmental Training Lab. The purpose of the lab is to provide hands-on training to students in a controlled atmosphere that leads to sustainable employment in the fields of public health, worker safety, renewable energy, and environmental protection throughout the State of Arkansas. AETA Trainers will utilize the lab to provide hands-on curricula that will advance and equip municipal, rural, and private entities to meet increasing regulations and ensure the public health of the citizens of Arkansas. The lab addition consists of two classrooms, 10 microbiology lab stations, water, wastewater and backflow prevention wet lab and an EHS training lab.