Waterworks Operators

Professional Growth Requirement

About the Requirement

The Washington Waterworks Operator Certification Program requires certified operators to demonstrate continued professional growth in their field to be eligible for certification renewal. Under the direction of the Department of Health (DOH), Washington Certification Services at Green River Community College maintains individual professional growth transcripts for each certified operator and provides course evaluation and Continuing Education Unit (CEU) assignment services to waterworks training course sponsors.

Here is more information about the professional growth requirement...

To meet the professional growth requirement, certified waterworks operators must accomplish one of the following within each professional growth reporting period:

Option 1: Accumulate a minimum of three Continuing Education Units (CEU) or college credits for training that:

  1. Has an influence on water quality, water supply, or public health protection; and
  2. Is directly relevant to the operation, or maintenance of water system; or
  3. Is directly relevant to managing the operation or maintenance activities of a water system.

Option 2: Advance by examination in the Waterworks Operator Certification Program within the classifications WDM and WTPO to a level 2, 3 or 4 or achieve certification by examination in a different classification as follows:

  • WDM to WTPO, BTO or CCS
  • WTPO to WDM or CCS
  • BTO to WDM, WTPO, WDS or CCS
  • WDS to WDM, WTPO, BTO or CCS
  • CCS to WDM, WTPO, BTO or WDS

All certified operators are assigned a professional growth reporting period based on their original certification date. Department of Health allows each operator a minimum of three years to meet the professional growth requirement. All training applied toward the requirement must be completed within the reporting period dates.

The following chart shows when certified operators must meet the professional growth requirement.

If Your Original Certification Date Is Then You Must Meet The Professional Growth Requirement Between:
Before 1/1/2010 1/1/2013 and 12/31/2015 and in each 3-year reporting period thereafter.
Between 1/1/2010 and 12/31/2012 Your original certification date and 12/31/2015 and in each 3-year reporting period thereafter.
Between 1/1/2013 and 12/31/2015 Your original certification date and 12/31/2018 and in each 3-year reporting period thereafter.

 

Training applied toward the waterworks operator professional growth requirement in Washington must meet the relevancy criteria established by the Department of Health (DOH), Office of Drinking Water. Relevant training means training that:

  1. Has an influence on water quality, water supply, or public health protection; and
  2. Is directly relevant to the operation, or maintenance of a water system; or
  3. Is directly relevant to managing the operation or maintenance activities of a water system.

Examples of acceptable management training include drinking water regulatory compliance, capacity development, rate setting, financial viability, water system security and responding to drinking water emergencies.

Training that may not meet the relevancy criteria is evaluated by the DOH Relevancy Review Committee.

For more information about the relevancy requirement, click here to view the Department’s Fact Sheet on Relevancy of Training for Waterworks Operators.

Relevancy appeals must be filed according to the Relevancy Review Appeal Procedure - DOH.

Certified waterworks operators may earn CEU or college credit for successfully completing or instructing relevant training. If an operator repeats the same course used to meet a previous professional growth requirement, CEU equal to one-half of the original assignment may be applied toward the professional growth requirement in a different reporting period. CEU will be rounded down to the nearest one-tenth of a CEU.

No CEU will be accepted toward the professional growth requirement for:

  • a training course repeated during the same reporting period
  • a training course repeated if half of the original CEU assignment is less than 0.3 CEU
  • repeating any distance education activities

It is the certified operator’s responsibility to satisfy the professional growth requirement on or before December 31st of the reporting period deadline year.  It is also the operator’s responsibility to ensure that training that has been completed toward the requirement has been submitted to Certification Services for posting on the operator’s professional growth transcript.  Classroom training completion documentation may be submitted for evaluation by the certified operator or the training sponsor following the procedures established by Department of Health (DOH).

Note: There are special completion and submittal requirements for approved distance education. See Distance Education for more information.

An operator may request an evaluation of training by Certification Services for training that the course sponsor has not submitted for evaluation in advance. Types of training not usually submitted for evaluation by the sponsor in advance may include:

  • Training that an operator attends outside the state of Washington
  • Training not specifically targeted to waterworks operators
  • Training provided by national sponsors in Washington only occasionally
  • Courses completed for college credit through an accredited college or university

To request an evaluation of training not submitted in advance by the course sponsor, please go to the Forms page to complete the required Waterworks Classroom Training Submittal Form.

Most waterworks training sponsors in Washington request an evaluation of their training in advance by Certification Services. If the training has already been evaluated and issued a course evaluation identification number, the sponsor may also submit verification of successful completion of training directly to Certification Services. DOH recommends that the sponsor submit training rosters for posting to operator professional growth transcripts within 30 days of the completion of the training.

View the list of approved classroom training.

Certification Services will evaluate all verification of CEU or college credit submitted following criteria established by the DOH and the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  Relevant CEU or college credit meeting DOH and IACET criteria may be accepted toward the operator’s professional growth requirement.

DOH will notify Certification Services of all certified operators who meet the professional growth requirement by passing an eligible certification exam.

Professional Growth Transcripts
Certification Services at Green River Community College maintains individual professional growth transcripts for each certified waterworks operator in Washington.  Operators may view and print their unofficial professional growth report online. View Your Professional Growth Report.

Not Accepted for Recording
The Department of Health accepts only Continuing Education Units (CEU) or college credit awarded to relevant waterworks training toward the professional growth requirement. The following will not be accepted for recording:

  • Contact hours, professional development hours, or other forms of accreditation
  • CEU or college credit earned prior to the operator’s original certification date
  • CEU or college credit not earned in the operator’s current professional growth reporting period
  • CEU awarded less than 0.3
  • CEU not awarded based on IACET criteria
  • CEU or college credit earned for a course repeated in the same reporting period
  • College credit not issued by an accredited college or university

Record Keeping
The Department of Health (DOH) has directed Certification Services to restrict record keeping to that required by a certified operator to meet the professional growth requirement specified by law.  When an operator has met the professional growth requirement for certification renewal for the current reporting period, documentation of additional training will not be accepted for the remainder of that reporting period.  It is the operator’s responsibility to keep track of training beyond what is required to meet the professional growth requirement.

Notification
When an operator meets the professional growth requirement, Certification Services will provide the operator with a completion letter and an official transcript.  Certification Services will also notify DOH that the operator has met the requirement.

Certification Services will mail a reminder notice to each certified operator that has not met the requirement approximately six months prior to the professional growth reporting period deadline date.

Note: All address changes for certified waterworks operators must be made with DOH, Waterworks Operator Certification Program.  Please call 1-800-525-2536 for instructions.

Deadlines
Certified waterworks operator must satisfy the professional growth requirement by the reporting period deadline. Read more about Reporting Periods.

Each certified operator’s certificate will remain temporarily valid for two months after the December 31st reporting period deadline.  Documentation of relevant CEU or college credit earned during the professional growth reporting period may be submitted to Certification Services for evaluation until February 15th of the period during which the operator holds a temporarily valid certificate.  If the documentation submitted satisfies the requirement, Department of Health (DOH) will provide notification to the operator that the certificate is renewable.

Appeals

  • Certificates of operators that fail to satisfy the professional growth requirement by the deadline date will be invalid. DOH will not consider appeals from operators for inactivation of certifications for failing to meet the professional growth requirement.
  • Appeals of professional growth relevancy determinations must be filed according to the Relevancy Review Appeal Procedure - DOH.