(1) An operator certified after June 30, 1991, must have graduated from high school or hold a GED certificate, unless the applicant submits a written application for a special exception from this requirement and the department grants the exception. The department may only grant a special exception from this requirement upon finding that the applicant has the reading, writing and comprehension skills necessary to otherwise meet the requirements of this subchapter and to protect the public health and quality of Montana's waters.
(2) To become fully certified, an operator, in addition to passing the certification examination for the operator's specific classification, must have the following operating experience in a facility of that classification:
(a) Class 1--two and one-half years' experience;
(b) Class 2--two years' experience;
(c) Class 3--one and one-half years' experience;
(d) Class 4--one year experience.
(3) If the department determines that experience gained at a system classified as less complex is applicable to a system classified as more complex, this experience or a portion of it may be credited toward the experience requirement for the more complex classification.
(4) Two days of education in post-secondary engineering training or the equivalent may be substituted for each day of experience, up to 1/2 of the experience requirement.
(5) A person who has passed the examination but lacks the requisite experience will be issued a certificate as CERTIFIED OPERATOR-IN-TRAINING. When the experience requirement is fulfilled and the operator returns a verified experience voucher to the department, a certificate as CERTIFIED OPERATOR will be issued.