JSU Operator Certification Program

Jacksonville State University

Water or Wastewater Treatment Plant Grade IV Operator

Certification Program

The mission of the Jacksonville State University Office of Continuing Education is to source for workforce development programs that will offer job retraining in emerging career fields. 

Careers in the Water or Wastewater Treatment field have been identified as “high-wage, high-impact” jobs and have been approved for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) Workforce Development Division.  This funding is earmarked for individuals that are not employed and are seeking training in approved career fields.  Contact your local Alabama Career Center System to determine your eligibility.

This certification program was designed with the input of General Managers, Superintendents, and Grade IV Operators throughout Alabama.

Program Admission Requirements

  • High school graduate (or GED)

  • Current driver’s license

  • At least eighteen years of age to apply.  

  • Proficient in reading and math at the 10th grade level.  Will be tested by CareerLink, and Jacksonville State University (Work Keys).

  • Complete the Jacksonville State University application and interview process, which may include another quiz.

  • Commit to the 26-week program and passing the Grade IV exam.

  • Must pass a drug screen and extensive background check.

  • Superintendent at the internship location will be given the option to meet the intern at this time and will have the right of refusal.

Program Timeline and Curriculum

The program curriculum follows the material provided in Volumes I and II of the California State University (CSU), Sacramento, Water (or Wastewater) Treatment Plant Operation Field Study Training Program.

Participants will be monitored by the Jacksonville State University Office of Continuing Education to ensure progress through the material and will proctor chapter exams.

Volume I will be completed by self-study and progress will be monitored by the Jacksonville State University Office of Continuing Education. 

The participant may choose to study at home or at the Jacksonville State University McClellan campus.

Volume I must be completed within three weeks.  This includes passing all eleven chapter tests (proctored by Jacksonville State University).

After CSU certifies that Volume I is complete, the participant will be assigned to a water or wastewater treatment facility for a twenty-two week internship.

Study in Volume II will begin once the participant is on-site at the water treatment facility. 

The participant will be required to complete all chapters in Volume II along with the accompanying tests.

Participants will learn both by reading and hands-on exposure to the tasks covered in Volume II (always under the supervision of qualified operators at the facility).

Participants will work up to twenty hours per week on-site. Scheduling will be at the discretion of plant Superintendent and may be on any shift.

In addition to the twenty-two week internship, the participants will be required to attend forty hours of classroom training. This training will consist of exam prep and tutoring in the areas of need.

Instructors and tutors will be sourced from within the facility where the intern is working, if available, and compensated for their time.  If not available at that location, we will seek recommendations from General Managers and Superintendents.

On occasion (in lieu of a twenty-hour week), Jacksonville State University will invite General Managers, Superintendents and Grade IV Operators to talk with the interns.  These speakers will cover the water industry in general and their own experience as it relates to the path to management. The speaker(s) will also encourage interaction and answer any questions about issues that arise in their leadership role as well as any other topics of interest, i.e., advancement potential.

After the completion of all training elements, the participant will apply to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to take the Grade IV (Water or Wastewater) exam. 

Once ADEM approves the application, the participant will be notified and scheduled for the exam.

If the exam is passed, the student must also have 1900 hours of on-the-job experience prior to ADEM issuing the official certification.

Click here to go to the Program’s webpage

For more information, please contact:

Kelly Beegle, CPP, Program Associate
Jacksonville State University
Office of Continuing Education
JSU McClellan Education Consortium
100 Gamecock Dr.
Anniston, AL  36205
(256) 782-5959