Requirements to Renew a Tennessee Water Operator Certification

We’ve got a mouthful for you: the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) Water & Wastewater Operators Certification Board. As its name suggests, that’s the agency that oversees water and wastewater operator certifications throughout the state. But because they work with the Fleming Training Center (FTC) to manage certifications, it can get a little confusing about what you need to do with which group to keep your certification active. 

We’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know to renew your Tennessee water treatment or distribution certification in the cheapest and easiest way possible. 

How to renew

There are two pieces to the renewal process: submitting your renewal application and completing the required continuing education (CE). You need to apply for renewal annually, but you only need CE every three years. 

Renewal application 

Your certificate expires on December 31 each year, but you technically have until June 30 to get your renewal paperwork in. 

Every December, you should get a renewal application in the mail from the Board. If you need to update your address with them, you can use this change of address form

You then need to return that application and pay the renewal fee. You also have the option to pay your fee online using TDEC’s online portal. If you’re not sure how to access the payment page, use the “How to Pay for Operator Renewal Fees” dropdown on this page


Every three years, you need to get a specific number of contact hours based on your certificate type and level. The hour requirements are:

The CE term starts on the date you got your certificate and ends September 30 every three years after that. 

If you’re not sure how many hours you have so far this cycle or when your CE term ends, you can log into the TDEC online portal. Click the “Certifications” tab to pull up your CE deadline and your completed CE activities to date. 

Quick note: you can’t take the same CE course two renewal cycles in a row. In other words, if you completed a specific CE course to get your hours last time around, don’t take it again or it won’t count. (We mark our classes “A” and “B” to help you avoid duplication.) 

How to save on renewal fees

We said your water certificate renewal isn’t due until June 30, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until then. If you renew between February 1 and June 30, the renewal fee is $100. But if you get your renewal in before February 1, the fee goes down to $50. Save yourself a chunk of change by getting your renewal application submitted in January. 

How to get your continuing education done easily

You don’t need to take time off work and go sit in some classroom to get your CE hours done. The Board has approved certain education providers to offer their courses online. That way, you can knock them out whenever you’ve got time from any internet-connected device.