We’ve got good news and bad news. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. You have to renew your New Jersey water operator license on a yearly basis, which means a lot more paperwork for you than for operators who live in states that require renewal biennially or triennially.
The good news, though, is that when it comes to the training contact hours (TCHs) you need, you’re on a three-year cycle. That gives you lots of time to get those hours knocked out.
All that said, the fact that you need to renew each year but take TCHs every three years can make it all feel a little confusing. To clear things up, let’s look at all of the things the New Jersey Department of Enivornmental Protection (NJDEP) requires for water operators to maintain their licenses.
First up, let’s go over the thing you have to do most frequently: return the renewal paperwork and pay the $50 renewal invoice.
You need to do this by September 30 every year. You should get your renewal application in the mail by the end of August. If you don’t get it, reach out to the Examinations & Licensing Unit at once at (609) 777-1013.
You have options as far as how you pay that renewal fee. It’s $50 either way, but you can either mail the NJDEP your payment or submit it online. If you choose online, you’ll need your invoice number (from the renewal paperwork you got mailed), your license number, and your credit card or checking account number handy.
To reiterate, each year:
That’s your yearly to-do. But there’s another, less frequent thing you also need to stay on top of to keep your New Jersey water operator license active.
The NJDEP requires all New Jersey water operators to take a certain number of TCHs (again, that’s training contact hours) during any given three-year cycle. The last cycle wrapped up on September 30, 2021, so you have until October 1, 2024 to get the hours you need.
The number of TCHs you need depends on the level of licensure you hold.
All 3 and 4 level licenses need 36 hours (go here for details on this course package) of TCHs during each three-year cycle. This applies to you if you have any of the following license types:
Level 1 and 2 licensees — along with CN, NS, and NN licensees — need 18 hours (go here for information on this package) during the triennial cycle. That applies to you if you have these license types:
If you’re a very small water system (VSWS) operator, you need 12 hours (click here for package details) per cycle.
Note that the NJDEP has some specifications about what can count as a TCH. For starters, all of your courses need to be water-related. The Department also only allows you to get a third of your TCHs from safety-related trainings
To make sure any hours you take will count, double-check that the TCH provider has NJDEP approval. Their courses should have a course ID number from the state.
Fortunately, you don’t need to go sit in some classroom to get the TCHs you need to keep your New Jersey water operator license active. The NJDEP has approved certain providers to offer them online and on-demand.