Water Licensing & Information

Classification of Operators, Facilities, and SystemsQualifications to Achieve Each Grade or LevelTraining and experience requirements needed to maintain/renew certificationAre there established Need-To-Know Criteria (NTKC)? What is the source?
Distribution Systems (W) Classified based on population served:  

W-1:> 100 service connections and < 1,501 people

W-2: 1,501 -15,000 people

W-3: 15,001 -50,000 people

W-4: > 50,000 people

Water Treatment (T) 

Classified based on a point system.

T-1--30 points or less

T-2--31 to 55 points

T-3--56 to 75 points

T-4--76 points and greater

VSWS (very small water systems) serve 100 or fewer dwellings or properties and having no treatment; or NTNCWSs having no treatment, disinfection only, or some limited types of passive treatment, or both. 

All operators must have at least a HSD or GED, pass an exam, take a course approved by the DEP, and have:  

VSWS: 6 months experience

Class 1: 1 year experience

Class 2: 3 years’ experience, or Associate’s and 2 years’ experience, or Bachelor’s and 1.5 years’ experience

Class 3: 6 years’ experience (with 3 years in DRC), or Associate’s and 4 years’ experience (with 2 years in DRC), or Bachelor’s and 3 years’ experience (with 1.5 years in DRC)

Class 4: 10 years’ experience (with 4 years in DRC), or Associate’s and 7 years’ experience (with 3 years in DRC), or Bachelor’s and 5 years' experience (with 2 years in DRC).

Certification is valid from the date it is received until the next September 30th and must be renewed every year thereafter by September 30. The number of Training Contact Hours (TCHs) required every three years for each license is as follows:


Class W-1, W-2, T-1, and T-2: 18 TCHs

Class W-3, W-4, T-3, and T-4: 36 TCHs

State administers exams (three times per year) and are not linked to national standardized options.  

No NTKC is provided, however, operators are must take required courses before taking the examinations.

Required use of approved training manuals from California State University, Sacramento. 

Licensing and Registration Website: Department of Environmental Protection

Source: American Water Works Association