Ohio EPA has two exam pathways to offer for obtaining certification. The traditional paper and pencil exam is given in Columbus twice a year. The third-party exam is offered year round at various locations in the state. The exam fact sheet provides a comparison of Ohio EPA’s traditional exam format to ABC’s Third-Party exam format.
For both exam pathways, Operator-in-Training (OIT) designation is available for Class A, I or II, should the applicant pass the exam. If designated as OIT, operating experience must be documented within four years of passing the exam. For more information, please go to the Operator tab and then click on the Operator-in-Training section.
For application instructions, please visit the Operator tab and click on the eBusiness Center section.
REQUIRED TRAINING: Starting Aug. 15, 2018, all applicants will need to review the Ohio EPA Professional Operator Certification Training document prior to submitting the Ohio EPA exam, third-party exam certification, reciprocity and renewal applications and Operator-in-Training forms.
Paper and Pencil Exam
Ohio EPA has not scheduled paper and pencil examinations for 2022. Ohio EPA will continue to monitor COVID-19 case numbers and will schedule examinations if appropriate to do so.
As an alternative to paper and pencil exams, operators can schedule examinations for certification through our approved third-party exam provider; the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC). ABC has 11 testing locations around Ohio (Akron, Beachwood, Cincinnati (3), Cleveland, Columbus (2), Dayton, Toledo, and Troy). ABC exams can also be taken in locations outside of Ohio.
Prospective operators can set their own exam date, time and location.
To schedule an ABC examination, please follow the link below.
In order to prepare for the examinations, Ohio EPA recommends you use the Need to Know criteria for the exam you are taking as an outline of the information you should study from the exam reference list. Information concerning ABC’s ‘Need-To-Know’ Criteria and References can be found under Need-to-Know Criteria.
Any updates on future paper and pencil examinations will be posted on Ohio’s Certified Operator webpage.
- Exam Dates and Deadlines — Applications must be submitted electronically with PIN and payment by the exam deadline. The final step of the process is to mail in a hardcopy of your application with your supervisor’s signature. If you have any questions, please call our office at (866) 411-6728.
- After you obtain approval to take an examination you will need to print your exam entrance letter. This will be emailed to you and can be found in your Operator Service. You must bring this to the exam.
- Operator in Training (OIT) Documentation form (Word)(PDF)
The following documents provide need-to know criteria that test-takers will be expected to know for each type of certified operator exam.
Those taking the certified operator exam will be expected to know the formulas provided in the appropriate document below (e.g., those taking the wastewater operator certification exam should consult the "wastewater formulas" document).
A number of helpful references have been compiled to assist those studying for Ohio EPA operator certification exams. These references are only intended as a resource and are not required to be purchased in order for individuals to pass their exams.
Anyone Can Submit an Exam Question Suggestion
The Division of Drinking and Ground Waters accepts exam question suggestions. Complete and submit the Ohio EPA Operator Certification Exam Question Submittal Form provided below. Instructions for submitting the form are included in the document.
Third-Party Exam Providers
As an alternative to Ohio EPA’s paper and pencil examination, Ohio EPA has approved the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) as an approved examination provider. Operators may now choose to take ABC examinations and then seek Ohio certification for all levels of certification except Class IV.
Ensure you meet the requirements prior to taking the Class III exam. Operator-in-Training is not available at the Class III level.
Third-party exams can be taken in Ohio or any other location around the country. Ohio testing locations: Cleveland; Cincinnati; Columbus; Akron; Cambridge; Troy; and Toledo. Locations are subject to change, please click here to find current and out-of-state testing locations.
- Schedule an Examination through ABC
- ABC’s Ohio EPA information page — Study material for the ABC exam can be found in the orange box on the left side.
- Apply for certification after passing a third-party examination — Ensure you have met the experience requirements prior to applying. No refunds will be awarded for the $45 application review fee.
- Ohio EPA and ABC exam equivalency chart
ABC Need To Know Criteria
Please note that the title on ABC’s Need to Know Criteria may be a different exam level than the Ohio EPA certification you are seeking. When you are applying through ABC’s provider, once you select Ohio EPA certification, you will select the Ohio EPA certificate level you are seeking and the appropriate ABC test is selected.
- Class 1 Water Distribution
- Class 2 Water Distribution
- Class A Water Supply (see Drinking Water Class A)
- Class 1 Water Supply
- Class 2 Water Supply
- Class 3 Water Supply
- Class 1 Wastewater Collection
- Class 2 Wastewater Collection
- Class A Wastewater Treatment
- Class 1 Wastewater Treatment
- Class 2 Wastewater Treatment
- Class 3 Wastewater Treatment
ABC Reference Material
- Class IV Eligibility Requirements
- Class IV Exam Application
- Be sure to indicate classification of plant when filling out experience information.
- Be sure to include Table of Organization and an official Position Description signed by supervisor.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Policy statement, Guidance and Examination
- Advisory Council Class IV exam review checklists
Training and Experience Credit
- Courses and Experience Credit — These courses can be taken to reduce operating experience requirements. Only courses which are in the field for which you are applying can used for experience credit. Please contact the Operator Certification Unit with any questions.
- Free Class A Water Operator Training
- Free Class A Wastewater Operator Training — Note: This course is not approved for contact hours. This course can be used to assist in preparing for the Class A Wastewater exam.
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