2019 Announcements


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Call for Subject Matter Experts (SME)

CA-NV AWWA will be conducting certification exam refresh over the next four years of the following four disciplines. Interested individuals with expertise in these areas are encouraged to contact Steven Garner at (916) 798-0220 or sgarner@ca-nv-awwa.org

          Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester
          Cross-Connection Control Specialist
          Water Use Efficiency Practitioner
          Water Quality Laboratory Analyst

Three primary areas of volunteer contribution are noted below.

  1. Practice analysis workshop(s) where each occupation is defined in terms of what a certified individual must know and be able to do (knowledge, skills and abilities; KSA).
  2. Exam development workshop(s) where exam content is created, peer reviewed and reviewed by a psychometrician to assure subject matter match with the defined KSAs from the practice analysis.
  3. Standard setting workshop(s) where SMEs determine the appropriate passing score for each grade level.

Thank you for considering the gift of your time and talent to the next generation of certification exams from the CA-NV AWWA.

Questions/Comments: Contact Steven Garner at (916) 798-0220 or sgarner@ca-nv-awwa.org.

Computer-Based Testing

CA-NV AWWA offers computer-based testing for five of the seven disciplines now. Expansion of the CBT offering to the remaining disciplines (Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester and Cross-Connection Control Specialist) is planned for early next year (possibly by April 2020). 


The benefits to all involved of using CBT delivery of certification exams are noted in the list below.

  1. Certification exam security is a significant responsibility of all involved parties, including the exam creators and the exam takers. Removing the onsite grading of exams adds to the exam security.
  2. CBT certification exams permit mixing the order of the questions (items) and even the answers (responses), which adds to exam security measures.
  3. Candidates taking the certification exams will know the status of work (pass/fail) the same day (versus delays of days and weeks).
  4. Statistics gathered using CBT deliveries enhances the understanding of exam and question performance, which leads to improved exams for all future candidates.
  5. The reduction of manual labor involved in processing paper-based tests (PBT) will free CA-NV AWWA staff to respond more swiftly to assistance requests from members and non-members, alike.
  6. Another target benefit will be faster production and delivery of certification documentation (whether delivered as paper or as digital notifications proving ones certification status).

The implementation of CBT for CA-NV AWWA disciplines may result in changes to the scheduling of certification exams. The full details of how scheduling will be managed through 2020 (beyond Mar) will be announced when decisions are completed. Consultants guiding the transition will be working on the options through the end of 20219 and into early 2020. Thank you for your patience and for your understanding as the continuous improvement process takes its course.

Questions/Comments: Contact Steven Garner at (916) 798-0220 or sgarner@ca-nv-awwa.org.

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New Exam & Renewal Fees

CA-NV AWWA kept the certification exam and renewal fees steady for the last decade. The time to adjust the fees to keep up with costs has come. The table below provides the fees for members and non-members starting January 1, 2020. Any applications for new exams or renewals that are filed and paid for by December 31, 2019 will be at the current rates. The exams may be scheduled to take place in 2020, as long as the applications are completed and received by December 31, 2019.

The fee adjustments are brought about by several factors.

  1. A decade of stable fee rates against rising expenses caused an imbalance for CA-NV AWWA.
  2. Conversion of exam proctors from volunteers to employees with travel reimbursements.
  3. Investments over the coming years will be covered through the new fees.
    a. Fresh exam development for many of the certification exams bringing the content, the need to know and the reference list in line with current industry practices.
    b. Greater use of technology making the certification program more efficient and swift in providing documentation to those earning and / or renewing their certifications.
    c.  Lifting the CA-NV AWWA certification program to the highest level of credentialing industry excellence, which means more respect for those that earn the credentials issued.
Questions/Comments: Contact Steven Garner at (916) 798-0220 or sgarner@ca-nv-awwa.org.

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Implementation of New Policies for Certifications

The Certification Board and the Governing Board approved a comprehensive set of governance and program administration policies in October 2018. A two year implementation process is now half-way completed (view Certification Policy Manual). New Candidate Handbooks reflect key elements of the policies in a smaller package applicable to each certification discipline. Two examples of the handbooks to come are available now for the Advanced Water Treatment Operator (AWTO™) and the Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester (BPAT). You will find the AWTO Candidate Handbook on the web site shared with the California Water Environment Association (CWEA), www.AWTOperator.org/Apply. The BPAT Candidate Handbook is on the appropriate page https://www.ca-nv-awwa.org/canv/CNS/Professional_Certification/Backflow_Prevention_Assembly_Tester/CNS/Certification/Backflow/Backflow.aspx

Each applicant, candidate and certificant will accept the new policies as active on January 1, 2020. Of particular importance for your review will be the Code of Conduct and Disciplinary & Complaints policies. Passing the certification exam is an important step. Performing in the occupation according to the Code of Conduct is another important step. Providing everyone with a clear path to appeal decisions is equally important.

Implementing the approved policies are part of the continuous improvement processes CA-NV AWWA follows to elevate the credentials offered to the highest standards.

Questions/Comments: Contact Steven Garner at (916) 798-0220 or sgarner@ca-nv-awwa.org.

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Certification Program Acceleration

CA-NV AWWA marches forward through waves of improvements to the certification program. The result will be enhanced credentials that mark your achievements as water industry professionals. The credentialing industry is much like any other. There are best practices that when followed lead to higher quality results.

In 2010, CA-NV AWWA undertook a business process gap analysis to gauge current processes against industry best practice standards. A few areas for improvement were identified with governance and program administration. An updated gap analysis was performed in 2015 where additional areas for improvement were identified. Continuous improvement efforts permit further advances with the certification program.

Steps taken to uplift the program from 2010-2019 are noted below, as summary highlights.

  • Gap analysis in 2010, certification business processes were compared to credentialing industry best practices
  • Governing Board assessment of the opportunity for changes
  • Use of psychometrician (expert in exam development) to improve exam content
  • Annual analysis of exam performance data
  • Fine tuning of exam content based upon analysis and candidate input
  • Start of Advanced Water Treatment (AWT) Operator certification program in 2015, based upon a needs survey conducted in 2014
  • Gap analysis refresh in 2015
  • Decision to elevate the entire certification program towards third-party accreditation levels (similar to what the education program did years ago with International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) accreditation)
  • Earned contract with Nevada Environmental Protection Division, Bureau of Safe Drinking Water (NDEP-BSDW) for three year proctoring services agreement (2016-2019)
  • Suspended Water Operators certification committee (2017) [exam content is created by the Association of Boards of Certification, so a certification committee to maintain the exam was no longer necessary]
  • Complete rewrite of policies including governance, program and administration areas conducted through 2017
  • Certification Board and Governing Board approval of new policies with a two year implementation plan (approved Oct 2018)
  • Creation of the AWT Operator certification exams (grades 3-5) in collaboration with the California Water Environment Association (CWEA), the first time the two associations developed a certification program together to serve both drinking water and wastewater professionals
  • Release of AWT Operator certification Candidate Handbook on collaboration web site (www.awtoperator.org
  • Updated Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester Proctor Training program in 2019
  • Earned contract with NDEP-BSDW for four year proctoring services agreement (2019-2023)
  • Increased exam and renewal fees approved by the Governing Board and the Certification Board (2018 & 2019, respectively); postponed implementation until 1/1/2020
  • Public release of approved policies on web site, Sep 2019
  • Planned release of Water Use Efficiency Practitioner’s grade 1 exam by early 2020 with work on an updated grade 2 exam underway
  • Credential Portability discussions led by a collaboration effort of the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) and Steven Garner resulting in three conference presentations  (Jan 2019, Aug 2019 and Oct 2019) to the State certification / licensure community, utility and industry management and  State Drinking Water Administrators, respectively
  • Request for Qualifications (RFQ) on Credential Development and Delivery Services released seeking consulting services to refresh four key certification offerings over a four year period
  • Exam refresh cycle presented to Executive Committee with budget 2020 budget request in 2019; Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester and Cross-Connection Control Specialist exams to start new practice analysis late 2019 and target release of new exams by late 2020; Water Quality Laboratory Analyst and Water Use Efficiency Practitioner exams start new practice analysis by mid-2020 with release of new exams by late 2022

Additional steps will be announced here in the coming weeks.

Thank you for your interest and support as applicants, candidates, certificants, employers, regulators and other stakeholders!!

Questions/Comments: Contact Steven Garner at (916) 798-0220 or sgarner@ca-nv-awwa.org.

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