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The Certified Well Driller (CWD) and Certified Pump Installer (CPI) exams are designed to test your knowledge of specialized equipment use, geologic formations, and troubleshooting skills within each certification area. Each exam consists of 50 questions (unless otherwise noted). Candidates have one hour to complete each exam.

  • To earn the CWD designation, you must pass the general drilling exam and at least one other specialized drilling exam.
  • To earn the CPI designation, you must pass the water systems general exam and at least one other specialized pump/water systems exam.

You must pass both required exams within one 12-month period with scores of 70 percent or better to become certified.

Exam categories

Drilling categories (as of November 1, 2009)

  • General drilling exam
  • Exam A/B: Cable tool drilling
  • Exam C/D: Air rotary drilling
  • Exam E/F: Mud rotary drilling
  • Exam G: Reverse circulation drilling
  • Exam H: Jetting and driving wells
  • Exam M: Augering and monitoring (75 questions)

Pump categories (as of November 1, 2009)

  • Water systems general exam
  • Exam K: Water systems less than 100 gpm
  • Exam L: Water systems more than 100 gpm

Specialty exam category

  • Exam N: Well servicing and maintenance

Preparing for the exams

Review the NGWA Exam Preparation Success Guide for an overview of how — and what — to study for your exams.

NGWA has designed a Professional Designations Information and Study Guide that covers study materials for all exams. It can be purchased through the NGWA online store.

NGWA also recommends the following texts:

For more information about other NGWA-recommended study materials, call customer service at (800) 551-7379 or (614) 898-7791 outside the United States.

CWD and CPI exam fees

  • NGWA members: $75 per exam
  • Nonmembers: $275 for two exams; $75 for each additional exam

When and where can I take the exams?

NOTICE REGARDING TEST SITE RESPONSE TO COVID-19

For the most up-to-date information about PSI test site availability and closures, please see PSI’s website.

In the interest of care for exam candidates and staff, PSI has elected to temporarily close their PSI-owned and -operated sites in the United States from March 20, 2020 through at least May 1, 2020. PSI will begin opening owned and operated test sites on May 1, 2020. Sites will be opened where governmental entities within a state, city, or county allow. If a site is not opened, it will be reflected on the closed list found here. This list is being updated regularly and serves as the best reference for candidates and stakeholders.

Third-party testing sites may remain open, at the discretion of the individual centers. If you have any concerns, please contact PSI or the center at which you are scheduled.

For frequently asked questions regarding procedures on reopening, including the use of masks and sanitizing protocols, please see PSI’s FAQs document on COVID-19.

You can take the exams at your convenience year-round at any one of more than 400 test centers nationwide. PSI Services, one of the largest test center networks in North America, administers the online exams. Visit PSI’s website​ to schedule your exam, and to find scheduling information, or call PSI at (800) 733-9267. The program is easy to use and does not require any computer skills. 

All testing centers are ADA compliant. If you require special accommodations, please contact NGWA at (800) 551-7379, or (614) 898-7791 from outside the United States, or via email at certification@ngwa.org. We will record your information and send approval to PSI for special accommodations. Someone from PSI will then contact you to complete your exam registration. 

Scores are issued immediately following exam completion; be sure to collect your score report at the test center prior to leaving. NGWA can reissue exam scores, for a fee. If you need another copy of your scores, call (800) 551-7379, or (614) 898-7791 from outside the United States, to order. Exam scores are never issued over the phone.

DACUM codes

DACUM code job task analysis charts are helpful to industry professionals studying for contractor certification. These charts were created by water well system professionals and analyze major duties and related tasks for industry professions. They cover the necessary knowledge, skills, and traits needed to complete duties for water well drilling, pump installation, and geothermal drilling.

See the charts for: