AWT Operator Certification: What’s In It for You?

Announcements, CWEA Certifications

By now you’ve heard about the new Advanced Water Treatment Operator certification launching in May 2019 that CWEA and CA-NV AWWA have jointly developed. The AWTO certification is designed for drinking water treatment and wastewater treatment Operators working at facilities using advanced treatment technologies and related control processes.

What does AWTO mean for you as an operator?

AWTO certification will prepare you for the new opportunities emerging in the water sector related to advanced treatment. In the future, agencies may require AWTO certification to work at an Advanced Water Treatment Facility (AWTF). Facilities using these technologies will need operators that have demonstrated their competence. For those who already operate AWTFs, the AWTO certification will recognize your experience. You can now advance your career by advancing your AWTO grade level!

Where does AWTO fit with existing Water and Wastewater certifications?

AWTO certification was designed for current operators, and functions as an “add-on” to your California or Nevada Drinking Water Treatment or Wastewater Treatment Operator Certification. To qualify for the AWT3 exam, you will need a Grade 3 or above CA or NV Drinking Water Treatment or Wastewater Treatment Operator Certification. You can progress through the grades by passing each exam in order. Starting with the AWT3, then AWT4 and finally the top grade of AWT5.

Why should you get certified?

AWTO certification creates more career mobility for operators, by creating a path into the field of advanced water treatment. It also answers the call from operators, water utilities and the California State Water Board for a new certification program that recognizes the unique knowledge and skills AWT Operators need to know. There is no room for error when it comes to our drinking water supply.

There are currently 6 AWT facilities in California permitted to produce water for indirect potable reuse (IPR). Dozens of new AWT facilities are scheduled to come on line over the next three years. This is an emerging and growing field, and Operators with the AWTO certification will be poised to be leaders in water reuse and the future of our water supply. That future is starting now, so get certified!

Visit for information and to download the candidate handbook. It contains more details on eligibility and a description of each grade level. Join the email list so you’re one of the first to hear when the exam is available.