Contractor State Licensing and Exams

NGWA's Exam Vendor, PSI, has a new website designed to make it easier for you to schedule your exams!

Please visit the new site at https://test-takers.psiexams.com/ngwa.

Seventeen states and two counties use NGWA certification exams to some extent in their well construction/water systems installation licensure programs. Because of the variations between states, you should contact your state’s representative for further details. 

States and counties using NGWA exams as a component of their licensure:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Bucks County, Pennsylvania​​​
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Jersey 
  • New Mexico
  • New York (additional registration required in Rockland County)
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin (licensing requirements for water well drilling rig operators includes an option for passing NGWA exams on rotary mud and rotary air drilling)
  • Wyoming.

Click on the maps below to view larger PDF versions of these maps that outline each state’s requirement for licensing.

drilling license map

You should also know what is required by your state prior to scheduling your exam such as:

  • Which exams are required — there may also be an additional exam on state regulations
  • What the application requirements are such as age, experience, references, and bonds/insurance
  • How much it costs to submit an application
  • What the waiting period is to retest if you fail an exam
  • What the time limit is between qualifying exams — and the time frame in which they need to be passed.


Water well drilling

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

Water well pump installation

  • Water systems general exam (formerly exam J)
  • Water systems < 100 gpm (exam K)
  • Water systems > 100 gpm (exam L)

Water well specialty category

  • Well servicing and maintenance (exam N)

Vertical closed loop drilling

  • Vertical closed loop drilling exam

Exam fees

Each exam costs $75, with the exception of the vertical closed loop drilling exam that costs $125, regardless of NGWA membership status.

Scheduling the exam

Visit PSI’s website to schedule your exam and to find scheduling information, or call PSI at (855) 579-4642. If registering over the phone, you will need to advise them you are (1) taking National Ground Water Association's exams, (2) taking the exams for your state license, and (3) which exams you desire to take. 

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:

NGWA University Online Training

Prepare for the General Drilling and Water Systems exams and enhance your groundwater career through NGWA University’s online training courses. NGWA-approved subject matter experts and Oklahoma State University education specialists created these interactive courses to make exam prep easier than ever. Courses are self-paced and include 3D models, knowledge checks, study guides, and video lectures to prepare or upskill the groundwater workforce. Develop your skills anywhere, anytime with NGWA University online training.

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

After your exam

PSI will provide you with your score report upon completion of the exam. You must submit a copy of your score to the licensing body to which you are applying. NGWA does not relay exam scores to individual state agencies. 

If you need another copy of your score report, NGWA can reprint them for a fee. Contact the certification coordinator at certification@ngwa.org​ or by phone at (800) 551-7379, or (614) 898-7791 outside the United States, for more information. 

Contact your state licensing body for information about applications, requirements, and retesting procedures.