Nebraska Water Operator Licensure
This information is provided by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy to assist the public and regulated community.
Form #: WAT348 Tools Revised: 6/1/21

Nebraska Water Operator Licensure


Regulations Governing Public Water Supply Systems, Title 179 NAC 10, requires all public water systems to have a licensed water operator. The operator in responsible charge must hold a valid license equal to or greater than the classification of the public water system.

Community and non-transient non-community public water systems are classified as Class I (largest systems) through Class IV (smallest systems), based on the population served and water treatment being provided. Transient public water systems are Class V.


Requirements for water operator grades I – IV licensure in Nebraska include:
  • Successful completion of a validated water operator examination
  • High School diploma or equivalent
  • Experience
The requirement for grade V licensure is the successful completion of a grade V water operator examination.

Examinations are sequential beginning at the grade level III; i.e. the grade III examination must be successfully completed prior to Grade II, etc.

For additional information, contact Michael Wentink at (308) 535-8135 or at

The Process

All applicants for licensure must meet the education and experience requirements prior to examination for the appropriate grade requested.

Individual water operator licensing examinations are typically scheduled for the first Monday of every month at locations in Lincoln, Blair, Norfolk, Grand Island, Chadron and North Platte.

DHHS Division of Public Health also provides scheduled water operator training courses to prepare qualified individuals for examination. The courses conclude with a written examination qualifying the attendee to apply for a license.

Preregistration for individual examination and water operator training courses is required, and the form can be found at:

An application for licensure as a water operator is made available to applicants following verification of all qualifications.

All water operator licenses expire on December 31st of each odd-numbered year. Initial licenses obtained in even-numbered years require 5 hours of continuing education at first renewal. If the initial license is obtained in an odd-numbered year, continuing education is waived for the first renewal. All other licensees must have obtained ten hours of continuing education at the time of renewal.