Requirements to Renew a Hawaii Water Operator Certification

Bad news first: if you want to get your info straight from the source, you’re going to be hard-pressed as a certified Hawaii water operator. You’ll need to go to the State of Hawaii Department of Health’s Safe Drinking Water Branch, and their website about operator certification isn’t very forthcoming.

The good news: renewing is relatively easy, and it’s definitely affordable compared to other states.

Fortunately, we can bridge the gap. Here’s everything you need to know, from the continuing education requirements to the fee, about renewing your water operator certification in Hawaii. 

The Hawaii water operator renewal timeline

Your renewal is due every two years. But that deadline doesn’t necessarily align with the expiration date on your certification. Instead, your renewal is due two weeks before your expiration date (seems overly complicated, we know).

You should get a courtesy renewal notice in the mail before your renewal date, but your renewal is due on time whether or not you get that. (You’re also responsible for updating your contact info with the state to make sure you get those types of notices.)

If you miss your expiration date, your certification expires. One month after that, you’re no longer legally allowed to perform water operator work. From then on until a year after expiration, you’re still eligible for license renewal, provided you pay an extra $20 late renewal fee. But if you wait a year after your expiration to act on it, you’ll have to retake the certification exam. 

The renewal process

In order to renew a Hawaii water operator certification, state code says that you need to do three things:

  1. Complete the required continuing education units (CEUs)
  2. Submit the renewal application 
  3. Pay the $20 renewal fee

The last two are pretty straightforward. But to make sure you meet the CEU requirement, let’s look at the specifics there. 

Hawaii water operator continuing education units 

The state expresses this requirement as continuing education units (CEUs), but that can get confusing. That’s because each CEU is equal to ten hours. To simplify this requirement, let’s look at what you need based on your certification grade in terms of CEUs and actual hours:

The good news is that you don’t have to take a day or two off work — or give up day(s) from your weekend — to get the continuing education hours you need. The state allows you to take your CEUs online

When you choose an online continuing education provider, you get the flexibility to take your hours wherever you want (you can even take them from your phone or tablet) whenever you have some free time. In other words, you can chip away at them a little bit at a time instead of rearranging your schedule to clear a full day or two. 

Because you need to get your renewal paperwork in to the state two weeks before your expiration date, you can’t wait until the last minute to get things done. Mark your calendar to start your CEUs early so you don’t have to stress about renewing your Hawaii water operator certification.