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Licence classifications

(The following licence classifications are relevant to WA, NT, SA, Qld, ACT, Vic, and Tas. For information on NSW licence classes, please contact NSW State Authority)

Under the current system, waterwell drillers’ licences are classified according to the type of aquifers and are endorsed with the drilling methods that may be used. This ensures the skills, knowledge and experience of a driller will match the groundwater protection requirements.

The classifications are:

  • Class 1: restricted to drilling operations in single non-flowing aquifer systems (water table aquifers).
  • Class 2: in addition to operating in Class 1 conditions, permits drilling operations in multiple non-flowing aquifer systems (confined aquifers).
  • Class 3: in addition to operating in Class 1 and 2 conditions, permits drilling operations in flowing aquifer systems (artesian aquifers).

For a breakdown of the skills and knowledge required of applicants, click here.


Licence endorsements

For each class, an applicant must have completed the previous class and relevant endorsements.

Waterwell drillers licences have endorsements that indicate the method(s) of drilling which the licence holder is licenced to use in the development of waterwells. Each licence holder must have at least one method of endorsement.

Endorsements are independent of the class of licence and can be added to an existing licence. Additional endorsements may also be added as needed.

Endorsements do not change for class of licence – the same endorsement can apply to Class 1, 2 or 3. Applicants only need to complete their endorsement once.

The drilling method endorsements are: cable tool, rotary mud, auger, sonic, and rotary air.


Upgrading a licence

Applicants already holding a class of licence may apply to upgrade to the next class of licence.

For example, an applicant holding a Class 1 licence may want to upgrade to a Class 2 licence.

Once they have applied, the applicant is required to complete the Class 2 examination and any additional state requirements pertaining to the class level. The same process would apply for adding a new endorsement.


Conversion of licence to a different state

Applicants already holding a licence may wish to apply for an additional licence in another state, this is called a conversion.

These applicants must:

  • complete a written examination
  • complete other state/territory required actions.
    The regulator will assess both an applicant’s theoretical knowledge (from the results of the examination) and their practical experience and skills when they review the application

Please note: ADIA does not issue licences in states other than WA. The state/territory regulator issues the licence.



(The following information is relevant to WA, NT, SA, Qld, ACT, and NSW. Please contact Vic State Authority for information on Vic and Tas drillers licencing exams.)

ADIA is the body which maintains and marks the examinations for National Drillers’ Licences, in consultation with the National Uniform Drillers’ Licencing Committee.

Exam process

Before applying, applicants must approach the relevant state authority to confirm licence evidence requirements.

  • Applicants download the application form (available at the bottom of this page) and send the completed form to ADIA.
  • ADIA processes the application (please allow five business days) and sends examination package to applicant. Exams will be emailed unless requested otherwise.
  • Applicant completes the exams and returns them to ADIA within three months. If an extension is required, please contact ADIA.
  • Exams are marked by an external marker. Please allow up to four weeks for marking.
  • ADIA sends the exam results to the applicant. A copy of the results and the marked exam will be sent to the state authority.
    (The state authority determines whether or not the licence will be granted).

In addition to completing the examination, the applicant must also successfully carry out other requirements set by the state’s licencing authority before a licence can be granted.


Exam outcomes

Results are sent to the applicant and to the relevant state licencing board only.

  • A mark of 80% or more is required to pass.
  • If an applicant receives a mark between 70% and 79%, ADIA will automatically give the applicant the opportunity to redo the incorrect questions at no extra cost (this can only be done once). If the applicant still receives a mark below 80% it is passed on to the relevant state authority for their guidance.
  • An applicant is considered to have failed if the mark received is between 0% and 69%. If the applicant has failed then they need to wait for three months before they can re-apply.
  • A re-application costs the same as a new application. If an applicant is considered unsuccessful in the exam results, their results are referred to the relevant licensing committee or Board for a final decision.


Ready to apply?

WA APPLICANTS: Download the WA Drillers Licence Exam Application form here

NATIONAL APPLICANTS:  Download the National Drillers Licence Exam Application form here

⇒ Submit your completed form to




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