Vermont Wastewater and Drinking Water Certification and Training Requirements

Vermont Wastewater Certification & Training Requirements

Contact for Vermont Wastewater Certification:

Vermont Wastewater Facility Operator Certification Program
Jill Draper
VT DEC, Watershed Management Division.
1 National Life Drive, Main 2
Montpelier, VT 05620-3522
Phone: (802) 490-6118
Web Site

In Vermont the Department of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC) Wastewater Management Division certifies wastewater operators. There are five grades of certification, I through V (lowest to highest) based on type (domestic or industrial), complexity, and design flow of the facility.

Operators are certified only after meeting specific education and experience requirements and passing a certification exam. The VT DEC conducts certification exams at least once per year.

Applicants for certification must be employed as an operator, assistant chief operator or chief operator in Vermont at the time of application. One must typically gain on the job experience prior to becoming certified unless they hold an advanced degree in a relevant field of study.

Entry Level Grade Requirements:

Grade I Certificate (Domestic or Industrial) – Applicants for this grade must submit satisfactory evidence of at least two years experience in operation of a plant in this or higher class, and will be required to have passed a Grade I examination.

Grade II Certificate (Domestic or Industrial) – Applicants for this grade must submit satisfactory evidence of at least two years experience in operation of a plant in Class I or higher and pass a Grade II examination.

Education may be substituted for experience for up to one half of the experience requirement. All education to be substituted for experience must be documented by a technical school completion certificate or college degree accompanied by a transcript detailing the courses completed. All coursework resulting in a degree must be in the field of sanitary engineering, environmental engineering, public health engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry or biology with specific course concentration in wastewater treatment. A college or technical school certificate must be specifically in the field of wastewater treatment.

A list of certificates and degrees and the amount of education that can be substituted follows:

Type of Degree Equivalent Experience
Technical School or college 6 month
Two-year Associates degree 1 year
Four-year Bachelors degree 2 years
Masters degree 3 years

The VT DEC may waive examination for applicants holding certificates or licenses in a comparable or higher classification issued by other states or certifying authorities, which the Department determines have equivalent standards, i.e. the VT DEC grants reciprocity.

Certifications are renewed every five years provided the operator satisfies specific renewal training requirements.

Certification for Collection System Operators is a voluntary program administered through the New England Water Environment Association, Inc. This voluntary certification program has been established to promote the employment of trained, experienced, reliable, and efficient personnel for the operation of public and industrial wastewater works. There are currently four Grades of certification based on system complexity and flow capacity. Certification exams are held by the Collection Systems Certification Committee of NEWEA at time and places of their choosing. Further information on this program, and the voluntary wastewater laboratory analyst certification program, can be found at the NEWEA website.

Additional Information:

State of Vermont
Agency of Environmental Conservation
Department Of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering
Water Pollution Abatement Facility
Operator Certification Regulations
Effective Date October 21, 1985
Web Site

Vermont Drinking Water Certification & Training Requirements

Contact for Vermont Water Certification:

Vermont Water Supply Division
Matthew Guerino
VT DEC, Water Supply Division
Old Pantry Building
103 S Main St.
Waterbury, VT 05671-0403
Phone: (802) 241-3415
Web Site

In Vermont the Department of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC) Water Supply Division certifies both water facility operators and water distribution system operators. There are five general certification classes. Classes 1, 2, 3, and 4 apply to water systems with their own source(s) of supply, and Class D applies to systems which distribute water. The certified operator shall hold a valid certification equal to or greater than the classification of the treatment facility and distribution system. Class 4 is the highest treatment facility and certification class.

At a minimum a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED) is required to attain water certification in Vermont, although experience and relevant training may be substituted for a high school diploma or GED. Entry level persons will work under the supervision of a fully certified operator until the experience and educational requirements of Vermont’s certification program are met, i.e. a minimum of .25 years of on the job experience.

To be eligible for operator certification, each applicant must:

  1. Submit an application on a form provided by the State;
  2. Meet the educational and experience requirements set forth in the regulations (see link below);
  3. Classes 2, 3, 4 and D shall obtain a passing grade on the certification examination;
  4. Satisfy all other state mandated requirements for professional licensing and certification.

An operator holding a certification in any class is permitted to operate all facilities in that class and any lower class. Class 4C is the highest Vermont water operator class. An Operator-in-Training (OIT) certification is required to operate a water system under the direct supervision of a certified operator and may be granted by the State to any applicant who has obtained three months of in-plant training experience appropriate to the required system class.

The table below contains the minimum experience requirements for several entry level certifications.

Public Water System Class(s) Class of Operator Operating Experience Required (yrs)
ALL Operator-in-Training 2.5
ALL Provisional  NONE
Class 1 Class 1 NONE
Class 2 Class 2 1.5
Class 3 Class 3 1.5


A portion of the certification operating experience requirements may be substituted with related schooling or courses for Classes 2, 3 and above but with the limitation that 50 percent of any stated experience requirement must be met by actual on-site operating experience in a plant, system, or facility. High school education cannot be substituted for any experience requirement. Approved relevant formal academic education at the post high school or college level may be substituted for experience requirement on a year for year basis, subject to a 50 percent limitation. Thirty (30) semester hours or equivalent educational hours of credit are considered to represent 1 year of formal education. Specialized operator training courses, seminars, workshops or approved technical conferences may be substituted for experience requirements subject to the 50 percent limitation. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) totaling 30 are considered equal to 1 year.

Operators must renew their certificate every three years with retesting or by completing the minimum required hours of continuing education as follows: Class I must complete 8 hours, Class 2 must complete 10 hours, and Class 3, 4, and D must complete 20 hours. The hours must be met with state approved seminar or other state approved instruction.