About Us

What it means to be a Professional Operator

Becoming a Professional Operator (PO) means that you are proud to be a water professional and have mastered your trade’s elements. To earn the PO title, operators must meet all eligibility criteria and pass an internationally recognized WPI standardized exam created using an international job analysis.

The PO program offers certification in water treatment, water distribution, wastewater collection, and wastewater treatment operations. Each of these certification types consists of four classes of certification ranging from Class I to Class IV, with Class IV reflecting the highest level of job complexity and operational requirements. The PO designation is awarded to operators earning a certification in any of the four certification types, regardless of class, and all PO certifications are based on North American water environment operator job task analyses.

Certification Commission

The Certification Commission for Environmental Professionals (C2EP) of the Water Professionals International (WPI) implements certification programs for water industry professionals. C2EP awards certified operators the PO title, the industry’s first professional designation for operators. Commission members include water industry and certification subject matter experts charged with developing programs meeting the highest testing and personnel certification standards.


Protect public health and the environment through certification and the professional designation of water industry professionals.

How it all began

WPI’s Certification Commission oversees the PO Program for Environmental Professionals (C2EP), which implements certification programs for water industry professionals. C2EP was established to promote certification to protect public health and the environment, facilitate the recognition of water/wastewater professionals through a professional designation, and assist the transfer of certification between environmental certifying authorities. The Professional Operator certification standards are developed, maintained, and implemented by C2EP’s international network of industry volunteers working in the environmental control field. The PO Program’s roots lie within programs that started over 100 years ago. The program has been built around data collected from scores of environmental certifying authorities and hundreds of job practitioners. C2EP uses what is learned from the efforts of programs worldwide to create standards that ensure competence but are flexible and allow applicants with ample experience to address any shortcomings in educational qualifications. C2EP’s passionate work provides the opportunity to further recognize water operators as the professionals they have always been over the past century. We are proud and excited to offer the next-generation solution that protects our public health systems and protects the environment while recognizing Professional Operators.

C2EP awards certified operators the PO title and are entirely made up of water industry and certification subject matter experts. The standardized exams developed by C2EP for the PO program reflect water environment industry best practices and meet international certification standards. They are based on an international job analysis completed by thousands of certified operators and guidance from exam experts to ensure fairness, reliability, and validity.

WPI created C2EP to enhance the integrity of operator certification and address the need for standardized exams and certification standards. Although most jurisdictions administer operator certification programs to ensure that skilled professionals keep our water sources safe, every state program differs. The diversity of programs limits career opportunities for operators, restricts employer recruitment efforts and undermines the value of certification. Widespread recognition of the PO program can transform the industry by advancing the development of a highly skilled and mobile workforce. More importantly, standardized exams offer public assurance that geography does not influence professional competence.

The PO continues to be recognized nationally and internationally as the premier industry-driven certification solution. PO certification knows no borders, state, national, or international, allowing anyone in the world to have the opportunity to be certified on demand. The program’s standards serve as a model for global environmental certification programs. Personnel obtaining PO certification would earn an internationally recognized credential and have good prospects of successfully attaining reciprocal certification with like-minded jurisdictional programs.

Get involved

As the water industry evolves, C2EP always seeks talented professionals like you to volunteer for committees and task forces. We can’t wait to hear from you. View Opportunities.

Certification Team

Tom Healy

Vice President

Malorie Hendrix

Strategic Initiatives Coordinator

Haley Vanness

Senior Certification & Events Manager