Drinking Water Treatment Certification

Requirements for GA Drinking Water Treatment Operator License

To obtain a GA Drinking Water Treatment Operator License (also known as a Public Water Supply System Operator), you must obtain the required amount of experience, take the appropriate course work, take and pass the state exam, and apply for your license.

To help you with this process, we've compiled information on each of the steps that you will need to take in order to receive your license. If you'd like to print out these steps, we have a PDF document available.

Certification Process

To obtain GA Drinking Water Treatment Operator License, please follow these steps.


Determine the level of certification you need.

The level of certification required is determined by the size and operation of your drinking water treatment facility. In Georgia, all certificates must be obtained sequentially. This means that every operator in Georgia either starts at Class IV or Class III. According to O.C.G.A. § 43-51-6.1., the Class IV level is reserved for very small ground water systems, serving less than 1,000 people. Most operators in Georgia start at the Class III level. The table below summarizes the current certification required prior to taking an examination for the next level of certification.

Certificate Applied ForCurrent Certificate
Class IV No prior certification required
Class III No prior certification required
Class II Class III required
Class I Class II required


Obtain Experience

According to GA Board Rules 750-3.04, the applicant for Drinking Water Class II and Class I licenses “must have completed experience in the actual system operation prior to taking an examination.” The amount of experience required for each classification level is listed in the table below.

According to GA Board Rules 750-3.04, applicants for the Drinking Water Class IV and Class III licenses “may take the exam before the experience requirement is met, but they shall not apply for the license until they have completed the requisite experience in the actual system operation.” In other words, the candidate analyst can take exam prior to getting the experience. Keep in mind that once a certification exam is passed, there is a time limit for when the exam has to be submitted for certification. Otherwise, the exam will have to be retaken.

Certification Level

Experience required

High School Grad.*

Experience required

BS Degree**

Class IV 1 month 1 month
Class III 3 months 3 months
Class II 2 years 1 year
Class I 3 years 2 years

*Experience required with High School Diploma or GED Certificate
**Experience required with accredited BS Degree or higher in Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, or equivalent. Also applies if you have a current Class I certificate in Wastewater Treatment.

Note that regardless of education or current certification, everyone must have 3 months of prior experience before applying for the Class III License.


Obtain Training

According to GA Board Rules 750-3.04, the applicant “must have completed the required course work prior to taking the examination and provide proof of completion of course work when they submit their application for certificate to the Board.” The course work requirements for each classification level are listed below, as well as the GWWI course that will satisfy that requirement.

Certification LevelRequired Course WorkEquivalent GWWI Course
Class IV 6 hours basic water operator course work Class IV Drinking Water Treatment
Class III 40 hours basic water operator course work Class III Drinking Water Treatment
Class II 48 hours of advanced water operator course work Class II Drinking Water Treatment plus Drinking Water Laboratory Analyst
Class I No required course work


Take and Pass the State Examination

For Class IV and Class III Licenses, please note that Georgia law requires that at least the course work be completed prior to taking the exam. However, as noted above, the experience requirement only needs to be satisfied prior to applying for certification.

For Class II and Class I Licenses, please note that Georgia law requires that steps 2 and 3 be accomplished prior to taking the exam. While many people accomplish step 2 before step 3, this is not required.

The applicant must register for the exam through Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc. online or by calling 913-859-4600. All exams are proctored, computer-based exams and are given at many testing centers throughout Georgia and the United States. Check the website for exam schedules and the exam location nearest to you. Exams are not given online. Grades will be given to the examinee prior to leaving the testing location.


Apply to the GA Certification Board

The applicant can find applications for certification online through Georgia Online Application Services. The applicant must fill out the state application and provide documented proof that steps 1–4 have been completed. The application may take several weeks to process. The applicant can also follow the status of their application online.


Georgia Rules of State Board of Examiners For Certification of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Laboratory Analysts. This can be found at http://rules.sos.ga.gov/gac/750