Operator In Training (OIT) Frequently Asked Questions

Becoming an OIT:

Now that I am an Operator In-Training:

Professional growth and renewal:

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Becoming an OIT:

What does “Operator In-Training” mean?

“In-Training” means that you have passed that level of certification exam, but you do not yet have the water system or water treatment operational or managerial experience to be fully certified at that level.

What are the minimum education and experience requirements for an “Operator In-Training” certification exam?

You must meet the minimum education (or experience substitution) and the “water-related” experience for the level of certification exam you are applying for. (Click on link to go to WAC 246-292-060, (52), for the definition of “water-related experience”.

Example: To apply for the WDM 3-IT, you would need to have either a 2 year degree, or 90 relevant college credits or CEUS, or meet the excess experience for education substitution AND 3 years of “water-related” experience.

Do I need to take training to take an OIT exam?

There is no training requirement for any Waterworks operator certification exams. Some operators have found it helpful to take an “exam review class” with one of the training organizations in Washington. You can find the class schedules for the Washington Environmental Training Center at www.wetrc.org or at Evergreen Rural Water of Washington at www.erwow.org.

How many “In-Training” certifications can I have?

No more than two; one distribution and one treatment. Taking a higher level In-Training exam in the same classification will replace a lower-level In-Training certification.

Example: You have a WDM 2-IT. You apply for and are approved to take the WDM3-IT exam. You pass the WDM3-IT exam. The WDM3-IT is now your highest distribution certification level and replaces the WDM2-IT.

How many times can I take an “In-Training” exam?

There is no limit on the number of times you can re-take any certification exam, whether “In-Training” or not.

How long do I have to remain “In-Training”?

That depends on the certification level that your “In-Training” certification is for.

Example: A WTPO 2-IT would need to gain the 18 months of water treatment experience at a Class 1 or higher treatment plant to be qualified to become fully certified as a WTPO2.

Now that I am an Operator In-Training:

How long is my OIT certification valid for?

You keep the In-Training certification(s) as long as you renew each year and meet your professional growth requirement. An OIT certification is only replaced when you are approved for an upgrade to the full certification level.

How do I get fully certified from an “Operator In-Training certification?

Once you have the required water system or water treatment operational or managerial experience you can apply to upgrade to the full certification. Certification applications are available on our website. Just check the “Upgrade” box. You do not need to re-take the certification exam.

Example: An operator has a WDM 2-IT and a WTPO 1-IT. He/she applies and passes the WTPO 2-IT exam. The higher level In-Training certification replaces the lower level In-Training. So the WTPO 2-IT certification replaces the WTPO 1-IT.

Will I lose my lower level certification if I take a higher-level In-Training exam?

No, you will keep your full lower-level certification. After passing the higher-level In-Training exam, you will have both.

Example: You have a WDM2 and apply for the WDM 3-IT exam. After you pass the WDM 3-IT exam, your certificate and validation card will show “WDM2 and WDM-IT 3”.

Can I be the operator in responsible charge as an Operator In-Training to the full certification level?

No. In-Training certifications cannot fill any mandatory certified operator positions that require the full certification.

Can I be a designated shift operator with an “In-Training” certification?

No. Operators In-Training certifications cannot fill a mandatory certified operator position, nor a designated certified shift operator position.

Example: A water system that is a Class 2 treatment facility has a mandatory certified operator requirement for a WDM3 and a WTPO3. The treatment facility runs operating shifts and also requires 2 shift operators certified as WTPO2s. If your only treatment certification is for an Operator In-Training (no matter what level), you cannot serve as a WTPO2 shift operator without taking and passing the WTPO2 certification exam and becoming fully-certified as a WTPO2.

How many total Waterworks operator certifications can I have?

Up to 5.

Example: WDM 1, WDM 2-IT, WTPO 1, WTPO 2-IT, CCS

Professional growth and renewal

Will passing an In-Training certification exam meet my professional growth requirement?

Yes. As long as you are already a Waterworks certified operator, a higher-level In-Training exam will meet your professional growth requirement.

Example: You have a WDM-2 certification. You pass the WDM-IT 3 certification exam. This OIT certification exam will meet your professional growth requirement for the current cycle.

What happens to my professional growth if I pass more than one exam during the cycle?

If you take and pass more than one higher level or different classification (distribution or treatment) exam during a professional growth cycle, only the first qualifying exam passed will meet a professional growth cycle. There is no “rollover” of the second passed qualifying exam to meet the following professional growth cycle.

What happens to my “In-Training” certifications if I change jobs?

As with all Waterworks operator certifications, they are considered your property and all of your certifications, including In-Trainings, will go with you as long as you continue to renew yearly and meet your professional growth requirements.

Can I get reciprocity to another state with my Washington OIT certifications?

It is not common to allow reciprocity for In-Training certifications, primarily because the operator does not meet the minimum education and/or experience requirements to be fully-certified at that level. You should contact the state certification program for the state you are requesting reciprocity of, in advance, to determine their requirements for reciprocity.