Restoration Industry Association Water Loss Specialist (WLS) Certification Program

Water Damage Specialist Certification

Restoration Industry Association (RIA)'s Water Loss Specialist (WLS) Advanced Certification Program is one of the four pillars of the enhanced Certified Restorer (CR) program

WLS incorporates a wide variety of vetted industry-related courses representing the four major Domains of Knowledge as part of its pre-requisite course requirements. Like all RIA advanced certification programs, the WLS includes a rigorous course of self-study, combined with live learning that culminates in an intensive week-long certification school where candidates learn from well-known industry leaders. At the conclusion of the week-long instruction, candidates will sit for the WLS exam.

The Water Loss Specialist (WLS) Advanced Certification Program is recognized by insurance companies, building owners and managers, as well as the public and governmental authorities as the premiere achievement of excellence.

Step 1: Meet Pre-Qualifying Requirements (Education & Work Experience)

  • High school diploma or equivalent education; OR active RIA CMP or CR Certification
  • Five (5) years of verifiable work experience or three (3) of verifiable supervisory experience (Experience can include: restoration worker, project supervisor, estimator, consultant, inspector, restoration company manager, facility manager, restoration instructor)

Step 2: Complete the Water Loss Specialist Prerequisite Courses

To be eligible to take the WLS Prep Course and sit for the exam, you must complete one course in each of the following domains. A certificate of completion will be required as verification that each domain requirement has been satisfied. Candidates will have until March 31, 2021 to complete the required prerequisites in order to become certified


Prerequisite Courses

Domain #1
Basic Skills in Water Damage Restoration

(minimum of 12 contact hours)
Domain #2
Hands on Water Damage, Restoration & Drying Training

(minimum of 18 contact hours)
Domain #3
Microbial Remediation

(minimum of 18 contact hours)

Domain #4
Health & Safety Training

(minimum of 12 contact hours)

Domain #5
Building Science

(minimum of 7 contact hours)
  • RIA Building Science Course
Domain #6
Project Management & Commercial Loss
Training (minimum of 12 contact hours)

Step 3: Take the WLS Prep Course and Exam

Register for the next WLS course and exam. Be prepared to upload the following documents with your application:

  • Resume
  • Letter of Recommendation (from immediate Supervisor)
  • Certificate of completion for each domain of prerequisite courses

This is the final course for those pursuing their RIA advanced certification, the Water Loss Specialist, and incorporates lectures, specialized presentations from subject matter experts in their field, case studies and group study work.

Step 4: Complete the WLS Formal Report & Research Paper

Bring a draft of your Formal Report to the WLS Course and receive immediate guidance and advice. Finalize your Formal Report within 60 days of completing the course. Click here for the WLS Formal Report and Research Paper Guidelines

Reference Documents