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Wastewater Treatment Plant and Collection System Operators

Licensing information for wastewater operators and registration information for wastewater treatment plants and wastewater collection systems.

Wastewater Treatment Plant and Collection System Information and Requirements

Wastewater Treatment Licensing Overview

View the License Level Required for Domestic Wastewater Facilities requirements. Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

State Licensing Regulations:

Every treatment facility must be operated for a minimum of five days per week by the licensed chief operator or an operator holding a license at the required level or higher; this operator must be available by telephone or pager seven days per week. The minimum license level for the chief operator depends on the category of the wastewater treatment facility.

This webpage outlines the specific requirements to obtain a license; however, certain wastewater treatment systems may require additional training for their employees.

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Wastewater Class A Licensing Requirements

Education and Work Experience Requirements

Master's Degree:
  • Education: degree major must be in chemistry, biology, engineering, microbiology, bacteriology, or another similar discipline as approved by the TCEQ Executive Director.
  • Work Experience: four years of "hands-on" experience. At least one half of the work experience must be obtained in the specific field for the license that is requested.
Bachelor's Degree:
  • Education: degree major must be in chemistry, biology, engineering, microbiology, bacteriology, or another similar discipline as approved by the TCEQ Executive Director.
  • Work Experience: five years of "hands-on" experience. At least one half of the work experience must be obtained in the specific field for the license that is requested.
High School diploma or General Equivalence Diploma (GED):
  • Education: High School diploma or GED.
  • Work Experience: eight years of work experience, three of which must be "hands-on". At least one half of the work experience must be obtained in the specific field for the license that is requested.
  • Acceptable Work Experience Substitute

    Applicants with a High School diploma or GED may substitute up to twp years of experience with college hours or additional TCEQ approved water operator training.

    • 32 semester hours of college or 40 additional hours of approved training for one year of work experience
    • 16 semester hours of college or 20 additional hours of approved training for six months of work experience

Note: For laboratory experience to be fully acceptable towards operator licensing, the laboratory must be owned and operated by the public water system and the laboratory personnel must consult on a daily basis with a public water system's licensed operator personnel.

Training Courses (Wastewater approved training)

  • Core Courses: Activated Sludge or Wastewater Treatment, Wastewater Collection, Wastewater Laboratory, Water Utility Management, Water Utility Safety, plus one elective course.
  • Elective Courses: Intermediate Wastewater Laboratory, Water Utility Calculations, Wastewater Technology, or Advanced Management.

Application and Examination

Complete a TCEQ application ($111) then pass the TCEQ exam. Visit the Exam Schedule and Registration webpage for details.

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Wastewater Class B Licensing Requirements

Education and Work Experience Requirements

Bachelor's Degree
  • Education: degree major must be in chemistry, biology, engineering, microbiology, bacteriology, or another similar discipline as approved by the TCEQ Executive Director.
  • Work Experience: 2.5 years of "hands-on" experience. At least one half of the work experience must be obtained in the specific field for the license that is requested.
High School diploma or General Equivalence Diploma (GED):
  • Education: High School diploma or GED.
  • Work Experience: five years of work experience, three of which must be "hands-on". At least one half of the work experience must be obtained in the specific field for the license that is requested.
  • Acceptable Work Experience Substitute

    Applicants with a High School diploma or GED may substitute up to two years of experience with college hours or additional TCEQ approved water operator training.

    • 32 semester hours of college or 40 additional hours of approved training for one year of work experience.
    • 16 semester hours of college or 20 additional hours of approved training for six months of work experience.

Note: For laboratory experience to be fully acceptable towards operator licensing, the laboratory must be owned and operated by the public water system and the laboratory personnel must consult on a daily basis with a public water system's licensed operator personnel.

Training Courses (Wastewater approved training)

  • Core Courses: Activated Sludge or Wastewater Treatment, Wastewater Collection, Wastewater Laboratory, Water Utility Safety, plus one elective course.
  • Elective Courses: Intermediate Wastewater Laboratory, Water Utility Calculations, or Wastewater Utility Management.

Application and Examination

Complete a TCEQ application ($111) then pass the TCEQ exam. Visit the Exam Schedule and Registration webpage for details.

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Wastewater Class C Licensing Requirements

Education and Work Experience Requirements

  • Education: High School diploma or General Equivalency Diploma.
  • Work Experience: two years of work experience. At least one half of the work experience must be obtained in the specific field for the license that is requested.
  • Acceptable Work Experience Substitute

    Applicants with a High School diploma or GED may substitute up to one year of experience with college hours or additional TCEQ approved water operator training.

    • 32 semester hours of college or 40 additional hours of approved training for one year of work experience.
    • 16 semester hours of college or 20 additional hours of approved training for six months of work experience.

Note: For laboratory experience to be fully acceptable towards operator licensing, the laboratory must be owned and operated by the public water system and the laboratory personnel must consult on a daily basis with a public water system's licensed operator personnel.

Training Courses (Wastewater approved training)

  • Core Courses: Basic Wastewater Operation, Activated Sludge or Wastewater Treatment, plus one elective course.
  • Elective Courses: Wastewater Collection, Wastewater Laboratory, Water Utility Calculations, or Water Utility Safety.

Application and Examination

Complete a TCEQ application ($111) then pass the TCEQ exam. Visit the Exam Schedule and Registration webpage for details.

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Wastewater Class D Licensing Requirements

Education and Work Experience Requirements

  • Education: High School diploma or General Equivalency Diploma.
  • Work Experience: none.

Training Course (Wastewater approved training)

  • Basic Wastewater Operation

Application and Examination

Complete a TCEQ application ($111) then pass the TCEQ exam. Visit the Exam Schedule and Registration webpage for details.

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Wastewater Collection System Licensing Overview

View the License Level Required for Collection Systems. Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

State Licensing Regulations:

Each person engaged in the direct supervision of domestic wastewater collection system operation or maintenance crews is required to be either a licensed wastewater collection system operator or a licensed wastewater treatment plant operator. At least one collection supervisor must hold a license class equal to or higher than is required for that category of collection system.

This webpage outlines the specific requirements to obtain a license; however, certain wastewater treatment systems may require additional training for their employees.

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Collection Class I Licensing Requirements

Education and Work Experience Requirements

  • Education: High School diploma or General Equivalency Diploma.
  • Work Experience: none.

Training Course (Wastewater approved training)

  • Wastewater Collection

Application and Examination

Complete a TCEQ application ($111) then pass the TCEQ exam. Visit the Exam Schedule and Registration webpage for details.

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Collection Class II Licensing Requirements

Education and Work Experience Requirements

  • Education: High School diploma or General Equivalency Diploma.
  • Work Experience: two years of work experience. At least one half of the work experience must be obtained in the specific field for the license that is requested.
  • Acceptable Work Experience Substitute

    Applicants with a High School diploma or GED may substitute up to one year of experience with college hours or additional TCEQ approved water operator training.

    • 32 semester hours of college or 40 additional hours of approved training for one year of work experience.
    • 16 semester hours of college or 20 additional hours of approved training for six months of work experience.

Training Courses (Wastewater approved training)

  • Core Courses: Basic Wastewater Operation, Wastewater Collection, plus one elective course.
  • Elective Courses: Water Utility Safety or Pump and Motor Maintenance.

Application and Examination

Complete a TCEQ application ($111) then pass the TCEQ exam. Visit the Exam Schedule and Registration webpage for details.

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Collection Class III Licensing Requirements

Education and Work Experience Requirements

Bachelor's Degree:
  • Education: degree major must be in chemistry, biology, engineering, microbiology, bacteriology, or another similar discipline as approved by the TCEQ Executive Director.
  • Work Experience: 2.5 years of "hands-on" experience. At least one half of the work experience must be obtained in the specific field for the license that is requested.
Education: High School diploma or General Equivalence Diploma (GED)
  • Education: High School diploma or GED
  • Work Experience: five years of work experience, three of which must be "hands-on". At least one half of the work experience must be obtained in the specific field for the license that is requested.
  • Acceptable Work Experience Substitute

    Applicants with a High School diploma or GED may substitute up to two years of experience with college hours or additional TCEQ approved water operator training.

    • 32 semester hours of college or 40 additional hours of approved training for one year of work experience.
    • 16 semester hours of college or 20 additional hours of approved training for six months of work experience.

Training Courses (Wastewater approved training)

  • Core Courses: Basic Wastewater Operation, Wastewater Collection, Water Utility Safety, Pump and Motor Maintenance, plus one elective course.
  • Elective Courses: Intermediate Wastewater Laboratory, Water Utility Management, Water Utility Calculations, or Pre-treatment Facility Inspection.

Application and Examination

Complete a TCEQ application ($111) then pass the TCEQ exam. Visit the Exam Schedule and Registration webpage for details.

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Unacceptable Experience

Experience will not count for:

  • Support personnel (unless they conduct routine, on-site operational actives for a wastewater treatment system): secretaries, utility relations staff, on-site sewage systems installers, radio dispatchers, and bookkeepers.
  • Administrative officials (unless they conduct routine, on-site operational activities for a wastewater treatment system): mayors, city managers, and utility board members.
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Verify Experience

Reference may be required with the application for individuals who are involved with routine, on-site operations of a wastewater treatment system.

The following are NOT ACCEPTABLE references (unless they conduct routine, on-site operational activities for a wastewater treatment system): secretaries, utility relations staff, on-site sewage systems installers, radio dispatchers, bookkeepers, mayors, city managers, and utility board members.

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Study Guidelines

Study materials for each type and license level include:

  • training manuals for the corresponding required training courses,
  • the rules Exit the TCEQ regulating licensing of wastewater system personnel, and
  • the rules regulating the operation of public wastewater treatment or collection systems.

View the Need-to-know criteria for wastewater treatment and collection system licesnes.

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Continuing Education and Renewal Requirements

Continuing Education Requirements

All wastewater treatment and collection system licenses require 30 hours of Continuing Education (CE) to be eligible for renewal. CE hours are given for successful completion of TCEQ approved training courses.

CE hours must be acquired prior to the expiration of the license and may be obtained any time during the validity of the license. A & B wastewater treatment operators may complete a self-attestation form Adobe Acrobat PDF Document as verification of the completion of the CE requirement for renewal of a license.

Search the License Information webpage to view current CE hours earned.

Renewal Requirements

Occupational licenses are valid for three years then must be renewed with TCEQ. Renewal applicants must have completed the required CE requirements, submit a renewal application and criminal history attestation, and pay the renewal fee. Detailed information can be found on the renewal webpage.

    Important informationWastewater Operator Renewal Exceptions:

    • Class A & B operators may not apply the "Basic Wastewater Operation" course, or any course that is equivalent to Basic Wastewater Operation, for renewal credit hours.
    • Class D operators are not renewable for operators at any activated sludge-type treatment facility of any size, any trickling filter or RBC facility with a permitted average daily flow of 100,000 gallons per day or greater, or wastewater facility that disposes of treated effluent through a subsurface area drip dispersal system.
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Wastewater Treatment Facility Operations Company

Individuals, companies, businesses, or any other nongovernmental organization that also contracts to operate one or more domestic wastewater treatment facilities or collection systems must initially register, and renew every three years, with the TCEQ by submitting a registration form Adobe Acrobat PDF Document . Refer to the registration form for the new and renewal fee, which is based on the number of systems served. If an operations company is bought or sold, or a name change occurs, the "new" company must apply for a new registration.

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