Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Water: Operator Certification


Our exams are provided through the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC). ABC is an association which provides guidance and resources to certification authorities across North America and internationally. Nova Scotia's facility classification and operator certification program was created based upon the model provided by the ABC.

On March 31, 2021, Nova Scotia started using ABC standardized exams for drinking water and wastewater operator certification. The standardized exams replaced Nova Scotia specific exams which had been in use since 2012. ABC's standardized exams were released for testing in 2017 and have since been adopted throughout Canada and the United States. Using the standardized exams ensures that Nova Scotia operators are certified to the latest international standard of competency.

To accompany the standardized exams, ABC has developed "Need-to-Know Criteria" for operators to use as guidance when preparing for exams. It is recommended that Nova Scotia operators refer to the latest version of these which can be found here:
WPI Need-to-know Criteria

More information about standardized exams and frequently asked questions can be found here (PDF).

Operator Certification Exam

Operator-in-Training Exams

Online exams are available for operators in training. To apply, complete the application. You’ll receive an email to confirm your application is complete, and you’ll be sent a link to complete the test. There is a $27.50 fee to take the exam.

You’ll get an invoice once you’ve applied.

Exam Fees

Operator-in-Training Exam: $27.25*
Certification Exam (Level I-IV): $100.00*
*no tax is charged

When attending an exam session an examinee must:

  • Present their letter of eligibility.
  • Present a picture ID.
  • Provide their own calculator and one or two soft lead pencils.
  • Provide payment. Cash or credit cards NOT accepted. Cheques or Money Orders can be made payable to the Nova Scotia Minister of Finance.

All resource material will be provided with the exam.

Operators are allowed to write up to a maximum of 8 months prior to meeting the experience qualifications, however should the operator pass the exam the certificate will be held until all requirements are met and documented. This option allows operators to take advantage of exam sessions near their community.

Appeal of Exam Mark

For security reasons, the examination material is not open to public inspection or subsequent review by the candidate. For this reason it is important for examinees to provide comments regarding any question(s) they believe contain errors in content on the Question Comment Form provided during the examination. ABC will review specific candidate comments relating to the examination at the request of NSE. Should the question contain an error, the overall mark will be re-evaluated with that question(s) excluded.

Examinees that wish to appeal an exam result may do so in writing within 30 days of receiving their exam results. An appeal of an exam result can only be considered if a Question Comment Form was completed, and only those questions indicate on that form will be reviewed. Candidates will be notified in writing of the result of the appeal. An application for an appeal can be sent to the address provided on the exam application form.