Healthy Communities

Obtaining a Water Operator License

This guide provides vital information to assist you in obtaining your water operator license.  Please click on the blue text for weblink to the document.

Step 1:  Determine License Required or Desired

1) Determine Licenses required for the Public Water System of interest click this link


2) Determine license desired from Attachment 1 of the Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Water Operator Licensing

Step 2: Apply for Desired License

Complete and submit License Application

Step 3: Meet Mandatory Training Requirements

Ways to meet mandatory training requirements

Mandatory Training Course Schedule

Document Course Attendance by submitting course completion certificates:

Email to as an attachment

Fax to 501.661.2032

Step 4: Preparation for License Exam

Needs To Know and other exam preparation materials



Very Small System

PWS Compliance Summary

Includes PWS RegulationsWater Operator License Law  &  Regulations

ADH PWS Compliance Course reference document

Download Course Presentation Materials 

Exam Formula Sheet (Identical to formula sheet provided wit+h license exam)

List of Study Books

Step 5: Sit for License Exam

Paper Based Exam (Must register 45 days in advance of paper exam session)

Paper Exam Session Schedule

Computer Based Exam

Re-exam needed:

Pay $25.00 re-exam fee using fee invoice provided with exam results & repeat step 5 above.

Step 6: License Issued

Exam Passed and Experience Met – License Issued

Exam Passed and Experience Not Met – Operator-In-Training (OIT) Wallet Certificate Issued

To Convert OIT to License submit Experience Update Form

1)Arkansas Public Water System Compliance Summary – This is a summary of water system compliance requirements related to complying with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, and Department of Health public water system requirements and policies.  The Summary is an exam reference, used during exam preparation and mandatory training courses.  The “Drinking Water Compliance Course” uses this reference extensively.

a)Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Public Water Systems – (Appendix A of Compliance Summary)  The Regulations ensure that public water systems provide ample quantities of safe, palatable water in compliance with the National Primary Drinking Water Standards.  The Regulations are an exam reference used during exam preparation and mandatory training courses.  The “Drinking Water Compliance Course” uses this reference extensively.

b)Water Operator Licensing Law and its Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Water Operator Licensing – (Appendix C and D of Compliance Summary)  The Licensing Law and its Regulations are provided to offer you complete in-depth information pertaining to your chosen profession.

2)Treatment, Distribution, or Very Small System “Need To Know Criteria” (NTK) –The NTK is provided by the Association of Boards of Certification and is used to narrow down the areas of study.  Included is the ABC Formula Sheet and math study aid to focus on needed areas of math preparation.

3)Reference Manual List – Provides information on the reference manuals referred to in the ABC Need To Know Criteria and information on how to obtain the manuals.  The reference manuals are a critically needed exam preparation tool and are the primary textbooks used in the mandatory training courses.  Many Public Water Systems already have the manuals.  If you work for a system serving a population of 3300 or less a complete set of manuals may be available “free of charge” utilizing USEPA OpCert funds.  Please contact the Water Licensing Program (contact info below) to determine eligibility and obtain the manuals.

4)Meeting Mandatory Training Requirements – Provides information on the requirements for the specific required mandatory training courses that must be attended or met utilizing the allowed alternate methods to meet the mandatory training requirements.  The training must be obtained prior to sitting for the water license exam.  Please review your records and the requirements to assure the requirements are met.

5)Mandatory Training Schedule – The training schedule, with contact information for the training providers, is provided to assist you in scheduling your mandatory training courses.  Contact information is provided to assist you in registration for the courses or to be placed on the individual trainers’ mailing list.

6)Exam Schedule – The exam schedule is provided to assist you in determining the best time and location to take an exam.  Please note, you must register for the exam 45 or more days before the exam session date. See exam registration forms.

7)Application Response Letter – Verifies that your application was received in good order and for which license exam grade and type (Treatment or Distribution) it was processed.

8)Internet Web Site – Information on the Arkansas Department of Health, Engineering Section’s web site is provided to assist you in taking advantage of a wealth of information and knowledge available via the internet.  The Department’s web site has information and downloadable forms for the Drinking Water Program and Water Operator Licensing Program.  It also has an extensive list of Drinking Water related web site links.

It is recommended that most of the materials provided in this packet be placed in a 3-ring binder type notebook. This will keep these materials handy for studying or for reference.  The Compliance Summary provides inserts for the front cover and spine of a clear view style binder.

This packet, the recommended referenced study manuals, and the mandatory training should provide you with the necessary materials and tools needed to properly prepare for and pass the exam. Of course, your level of commitment to exam preparation is the most important key to success.

The material in this packet and any other study materials or manuals will not be allowed into the test facility. A formula sheet identical to the one you have received will be provided at the exam site.  Of course, a non-programmable calculator is allowed.

If any item listed above is missing, please feel free to contact the water operator-licensing program or download it from our website.  Contact us by phone at (501) 661-2623 or by e-mail at

We hope this packet will be beneficial to you as you prepare to pass your exam.


Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
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4815 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-3867 | 1-800-462-0599