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How To Get Certified

1. Determine which certification you need.

CWEA offers certification in 6 different vocations (occupations). The vocations are listed below with a link to the Candidate Handbook for each. The Candidate Handbooks describe the vocation and how to qualify to take the test.

Collection System Maintenance
This vocation deals with sewer maintenance and repair.

Laboratory Analyst

This vocation deals with testing water in the laboratory.

Environmental Compliance Inspector

This vocation deals with inspection of industrial wastewater treatment facilities and monitoring of wastewater that empties into the sewer system. This is also known as "Source Control," "Industrial Pretreatment Inspection," "IPP," and Industrial Waste Inspection."

Plant Maintenance

This vocation deals with the maintenance and repair of wastewater treatment plants. Electrical/Instrumentation and Mechanical Technology are the two specialties in this vocation. Electrical/Instrumentation Technology deals with the maintenance and repair of wastewater treatment plant electrical and instrumentation systems. Mechanical Technology deals with the maintenance and repair of mechanical systems in the plant such as pumps and motors.

Industrial Waste Treatment Plant Operator

This vocation deals with the operation of wastewater treatment plants in private industrial facilities.

Biosolids Land Application Management

This vocation deals with the processing of inert biological materials (sludge) that result from the wastewater treatment process.

2. Determine which grade level is best for you.

Grade levels go from entry level (Grade 1) to the management level (Grade 4). Grade levels 2, 3, and 4 require a combination of experience and/or education in the vocation to qualify for the test. Since Grade 1 is an entry level test, there are no qualifications and anybody can take the test. However, Grade 1 is designed for a person with about 1 year of experience in the vocation. If you do not have one year of experience, you will probably need to study before taking the test. The chart below summarizes the basic experience:

GRADE 1
Qualifying Combination EDUCATION/CERTIFICATIONS EXPERIENCE
  NONE REQUIRED TO TAKE TEST NONE REQUIRED TO TAKE TEST
GRADE 2
Qualifying Combination EDUCATION/CERTIFICATIONS EXPERIENCE
A NONE 4 full-time years in vocation
B Hold Grade 1 certificate in vocation for 1 year 2 full-time years in vocation

C

Associate's, or higher, degree in a related field 2 full-time years in vocation
D Bachelor's, or higher, degree in a related field 1 full-time year in vocation
GRADE 3
Qualifying Combination EDUCATION/CERTIFICATIONS EXPERIENCE
A NONE 6 full-time years in vocation
B Hold Grade 2 certificate in vocation for 2 years 4 full-time years in vocation

C

Associate's, or higher, degree in a related field 4 full-time years in vocation
D Bachelor's, or higher, degree in a related field 3 full-time year in vocation
GRADE 4
Qualifying Combination EDUCATION/CERTIFICATIONS EXPERIENCE
A NONE 8 full-time years in vocation
with 1 year supervising others
B Hold Grade 3 certificate in vocation for 2 years 6 full-time years in vocation
with 1 year supervising others

C

Associate's, or higher, degree in a related field 6 full-time years in vocation
with 1 year supervising others
D Bachelor's, or higher, degree in a related field 5 full-time years in vocation
with 1 year supervising others

Once you decide the vocation you're most interested in. Review the KSAs of the vocation and identify your strengths and weaknesses by using this test preparation tool. This took can also help you determine when you're ready to apply for the certification test.

3. Apply for the Test
Complete the Application for Technical Certification and include your signed copy of the certification program Code of Ethics. Send it in with the correct fees by the deadline given on the application. Tests are given quarterly with four test windows per year. The application deadline is two months before the test. You must fill out the entire application to be approved to test. If your application is rejected you may appeal.

4. Prepare for the Test
Make sure you are ready for the test by purchasing or downloading (current members only) the study guide for your test and the other books recommended in the study guides. You may want to consider attending a CWEA local sections study session in northern or southern California.

5. Take the Test
Tests are given quarterly with four test windows per year in a number of sites offered by Pearson VUE throughout California, Hawaii, Michigan and Missouri. You may reschedule one buisness day before your scheduled exam by contacting Pearson VUE dierctly through the web or by phone. There is a $40 rescheduling fee if you reschedule outside your approved test window. The tests are all multiple choice, about 100 questions long, and you are given 3 hours to complete it.

6. Pass the Test
You will recieve an unofficial test report instantly after completing the test. After you have passed the test you will be be mailed an official test report with your certificate and blue card. To keep your certification you must attend at least 12 hours of continuing education every two years and pay a renewal fee every year.

If you do not pass, you will also be mailed an official test report. You may take the test again and will have to pay the full fee. A short application form is available to those who must re-take the test. You are required to skip a test window before retesting for the same test. Visit the certification policies page for more information or contact us directly at (510) 382-7800 x107 if you have additional questions about retaking a test.

If you have any other questions, please contact us at:

CWEA-TCP
7677 Oakport St., Suite 600
Oakland, CA 94621
phone: 510-382-7800 Fax: 510-382-7810
Email:

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