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ABC Certification Exam

The ABC Certification Exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions. The exam covers all the subject areas of the training programs and also the practical experience you've gained operating a wastewater treatment plant.

ABC Certification Exam Changes

Certification testing will change from a written test to a computer-based test. The change will provide operators several benefits - the option to take the test every three months (up to 4 times per year), elimination of the exam filing deadline, the ability to schedule the test at a time convenient to you (Monday - Friday, morning or afternoon), taking the test in a better room environment, and getting your test results immediately. The current cost for the computer-based certification test as of March 1, 2016 is $114 dollars per test and may change in the future.

Operators will take their certification test on a computer at one of seven proctored locations throughout New York State (or other locations nationwide). Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) will be providing the computer-based exam and testing sites. The test is still an Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) certification exam. The format is the same as the current written test, three hours and 100 multiple-choice questions. The ABC formula sheet is provided. You must bring a non-programmable calculator. The passing grade is 70%.

Going to a computer-based testing format, the certification process will change slightly:

You have the option to take a certification test every three months (up to four times per year).

No more exam filing deadlines or waiting 6 weeks or more to take the test. When you have obtained the necessary operating experience and training, mail your complete operator application to the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA):

525 Plum Street
Suite 102
Syracuse, NY 13204

You cannot schedule to take the test until NYWEA approves your application. Do not send any payment.

After you receive your approval letter from NYWEA, you will make payment directly to AMP. Payment can be done online with a credit card or by mail with a check. The cost is $114 per test (as of March 1, 2016), payable to AMP. To schedule the test, call AMP at (888) 519-9901 or go to their website, "AMP Exam Scheduling", at the link in the right navigation bar. The test centers have times available Monday through Friday, in the morning or afternoon. The New York State test center locations are listed below. More information on the test sites can be found on the AMP website link available on the right column of this page.

New York ABC Exam Locations:
Long Island (Hicksville)
New York City
White Plains
Utica (Whitesboro)
Buffalo (Williamsville)

Bring photo identification and any admittance paperwork with you to the test site. You will take a proctored test at a computer workstation. After completion, the test is instantly graded. You will know your result when you leave the test center. Upon passing the test, NYSDEC automatically processes your certificate effective the day of the test. You will receive your certificate 8 weeks after the test. To retake a certification test, you simply send payment to AMP and schedule a new test date (must be at least three months since last test).

The AMP Candidate Handbook (PDF) (46 KB) is a detailed reference source for candidates seeking guidance on taking the computer based certification exam.

For further information on web based testing, go to the "ABC Computer Based Exam" link at the right or call NYWEA at (315) 422-7811x4.

The ABC Exam References (see link at the right of page) lists the source, reference and chapter for designated exam categories. NYSDEC Exam Topics identify the average number of questions per wastewater category for each certification grade level.

The Water Environment Federation has an extensive library of reference manuals available for purchase. Call 1-800-666-0206 or go to their website to order these materials. The information on reference materials can be found in the bookstore.

The following are references and contact information for exam candidates. Links to the corresponding information can be found in the right column of this page:

  • "WEF/ABC Wastewater Operator's Guide to Preparing for Certification Examination". Item# E20022, cost is $38.00 for members.
  • "Activated Sludge-Evaluating and Controlling Your Process" by Tim Hobson (1995). This is the reference for the Activated Sludge Certification Course. Available from Hobson's Choice Press at (914) 825-6013.
  • "Aerobic Biological Wastewater Treatment Facilities: Process Control Manual" Good Activated Sludge Reference. EPA 430/9-77-006 is available from Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), Order #ED153783.
  • "Utility Management" from California State University is a good reference for Supervisory and Management at (916) 278-6142.
  • "Manage for Success" from California State University is a good reference for Supervisory and Management at (916) 278-6142.
  • "Supervisory Management in the Water/Wastewater Field" available from Michigan State University at 1-800-356-5705.
  • For laboratory testing and analyses, "Water and Wastewater Laboratory Techniques (1995)", Order #P15124CH, is available from Water Environment Federation (WEF) at 1-800-666-0206.

Other helpful references include:

  • "Spellman's Standard Handbook for Wastewater Operators" is a three (3) volume set that has review questions and answers at the end of each chapter. These handbooks are available from CRC Press.
  • The "Wastewater Treatment Plant Operation - Level C" is available from the University of Florida at Gainesville's website.
  • A set of flash cards "Flash Cards" available from ACR Publications, 1-800-433-8150.
  • The Environmental Training Center at SUNY Morrisville offers a one (1) day Review Class for the ABC Exam. Contact NYWEA at (315) 422-7811x4 for more information.
  • Great Lakes Laboratory at Buffalo State College also offers a review class. Contact NYWEA at (315) 422-7811x4 for more information.