Wastewater Operator Certification: FAQs

Q.  How will I know if a course has been approved for continuing education credit?

To view approved training courses, check our wastewater operator training page.

Q.  What if I receive my annual renewal invoice and it doesn't show my continuing education hours (Hours Earned)?

If you have completed your hours, attach a copy of your certificate(s) of completion for those classes, attach it to your invoice and send it in with your renewal payment.
If you have not completed your hours by the time you receive your renewal invoice, you will need to attach your certificate to your invoice and send it in with your renewal payment no later than December 31.

Q.  Can my education experience replace the requirement for actual operator experience for the purpose of taking a state exam?

In some cases, education experience will shorten the actual work experience an operator must have to obtain a certification. For example, to qualify for a Grade III Biological Water Pollution Control Certification, an operator must have two years (24 months) of actual experience. However, if the operator is a graduate of a two or four year college or university and has taken, and passed, a minimum of six courses in the basic sciences, then only 18 months of actual experience at a Grade II or higher biological water pollution control system is needed. See page 9 of the Wastewater Operator Rules (Grade 3 & 4 candidates only).

Q.  I am a Professional Engineer, with several years of experience; do I have to attend a wastewater school to be eligible for an exam?

Yes, regulations require all examinees to attend the appropriate grade and type of school prior to taking the exam. Additionally, each examinee must have the approriate level of hands-on operational experience for the level of certification being sought.

Q.  I did not pay my annual fee last year, but I did have 6 hours of continuing education as required. What do I have to do to renew my certificate?

You will have to pay the $50 annual fee, plus a $50 late fee, to update your status from "invalid" to "active".

Q.  I did not renew my wastewater certification (license) last year. What do I have to do to get my license reinstated?

If your license has been invalid for no more than 2 consecutive years, all outstanding fees and penalties that have accrued must be paid, and all continuing education requirements must be met.

Q.  I have not renewed my wastewater certification (license) in several years. What do I have to do to get my certification (license) reinstated?

To renew a wastewater certificate that has been invalid for more than 2 consecutive years, you are required to: (1) successfully complete an approved training class for the level of certification being sought; (2) take and make a passing score on an examination of the same type and grade as your former certificate.

Q.  Are there any allowances for waiving late fees on renewals?

The Water Pollution Control System Operators Certification Commission waives the late fee for operators who have been called to active military duty.

Q.  If I did not receive my renewal form or did not receive it in time, do I have to pay a late fee once I renew my certification?

Yes. It is the responsibility of the operator to ensure his or her certification is renewed annually. Renewals are due before the end of the calendar year. On each operator's wallet card is the renewal due date. Renewal notices will be mailed out during late October every year. If you have not received an invoice before December 1, you should call the Operator Certification staff 919.807.6353 and request a duplicate invoice be sent to you via fax or email.

Q.  Can I renew my certification with a credit card?

Yes, you may renew your certification with a credit card or e-check here if your continuing education hours are up to date.

Q.  How long will it take for me to receive my wallet card after the renewal invoice is processed?

It can take up to 2 weeks to receive your wallet card.

Q.  After I complete a school, how much time do I have to take the exam before having to complete the school again?

As long as you have successfully completed the school, it will always be valid. However, if you complete a school and subsequently fail the exam for the school a total of 3 consecutive times, you will be required to complete the school again.

Q.  Can I check on my grade for an exam by calling the Operator Certification staff?

NO. Exam results (pass/fail) are only reported in writing, directly to the applicant, after all exams have been graded. No results will be given out over the telephone.

Q.  Will my operator's exam be given at the completion of my school (wastewater, physical chemical, land application, etc)?

No. The examinations are administered by the State on the second Thursday in the months of March, June, September and December. Locations are Raleigh, Morganton, Kenansville, Salisbury and Williamston.