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ABC Certification Exam

The Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) Exam covers all the subject areas of the training programs and the practical experience you've gained operating a wastewater treatment plant. The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions. Test takers are allowed three hours to complete the exam. The ABC formula sheet is provided, and you must bring a non-programmable calculator. The passing grade is 70%.

Certification testing is offered as a computer-based test. This provides operators several benefits, including the option to take the test every three months (up to four times per year), the ability to schedule the test at a time convenient to you (Monday - Friday, morning or afternoon), a better test room environment, and immediate access to your test results. The current cost for the certification test as of April 1, 2019 is $104 dollars per test and may change in the future.

Operators will take their certification test on a computer at one of the proctored locations throughout New York State (or other locations nationwide). Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) provides the computer-based exam and testing sites.

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 $104 per test (as of April 1, 2019), payable to AMP. To schedule the test, call AMP at (888) 519-9901 or go to their website, "Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP)" (leaves DEC website). 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 (leaves DEC website).

New York ABC Exam Locations:

  • Albany
  • Bronx
  • Buffalo (Williamsville)
  • Clifton Park
  • Forest Hills (Queens)
  • Hicksville Long Island)
  • New York City
  • Poughkeepsie
  • Queens
  • Rochester
  • Selden
  • Staten Island
  • Syracuse
  • Utica (Whitesboro)
  • White Plains
  • 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, DEC processes your certificate effective the day of the test. You will receive your certificate eight 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) is a detailed reference source for candidates seeking guidance on taking the computer-based certification exam.

For further information on web-based testing, contact NYWEA at (315) 422-7811 x4.

The ABC Exam References (see link at the right of page) lists the "Need to Know" criteria for the different certification exams and provides links to study materials for designated exam categories.

The Water Environment Federation has an extensive library of reference manuals available for purchase. Call 1-800-666-0206 or go to their website (leaves DEC 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". Available in the WEF e-store.
  • "Activated Sludge-Evaluating and Controlling Your Process" by Tim Hobson (1995). This is the reference for the Activated Sludge Certification Course.
  • "Aerobic Biological Wastewater Treatment Facilities: Process Control Manual" Good Activated Sludge Reference. EPA 430/9-77-006.
  • "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)", Available in the WEF e-store.

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) 422-7811 x4 for more information.