Inspectioneering Journal

New API Inspector Certification Endorsement Program

By John Reynolds, Principal Consultant at Intertek. This article appears in the November/December 2005 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

The API Subcommittee on Inspection, Task Group (T/G) on Inspector Certification is starting to roll out a new program for Inspector Certification Endorsements (ICEP). This program will cover each of several new API Recommended Practices and cover the following subject matters:

  • Corrosion and Materials (API RP 571)
  • Risk Based Inspection (API RP 580)
  • Welding Metallurgy and Inspection (API RP 577)
  • Fitness for Service (API RP 579)

These are all important inspection topics and standards in which high performing, highly qualified inspectors need to be knowledgeable and skilled. This is your chance to show that you are knowledgeable in these subjects.

The first one to be offered will be the Corrosion and Materials endorsement and will be offered by examination in March, 2006 (just a few months away). Watch the API Inspector Certification Program (ICP) website,, for details on getting signed up. Cut off date for registration for the first exam will be January 31. The cost of sitting for the exam is anticipated to be $225 USD for API members and $275 USD for non-members, and the certificate will be good for three years.

Why offer these endorsements?

Each of these documents have been issued fairly recently and contain a lot of important information for inspectors. However, the current, basic inspector certification exams for API 510/570/653 already cover a lot of important material, which takes considerable time and effort to study for the basic ICP exams. Adding all of the material in each of these new documents to the current ICP exams would have resulted in a significant training and study overload and would have resulted in longer basic exams. So the API ICP T/G decided that a good alternative would be to offer the endorsements in these documents based on exams that will each cover only one recommended practice (RP). And finally, one last reason to offer this new ICEP, is that the inspection community in the hydrocarbon processing industry voted 3 to 1 in favor of offering the program in the web survey that was conducted by the API in 2004.

Some Certification Endorsement Details

These three exams will be offered on the same days as the existing ICP exams in March and September of each year, beginning next year, and may be expanded to the June and December exam offerings, if demand warrants. The exams will entail more advanced inspector information and hence will be a bit greater degree of difficultly than the basic exams. That means that those that sit for these exams will have to spend significant time studying each of the documents in order to pass the exams. All the exams are intended to be closed book with approximately 50- 70 questions, and range from 2 to 4 hours duration.

For the first exam for the Corrosion and Materials Endorsement (on API RP 571), we already have over 200 validated questions formulated and included in the question data bank. The initial API RP 571 exam will have 70 of those questions on it. The exam will cover only material in API RP 571, which will make studying much more focused than the basic exams which all cover multiple standards. The API RP 571 exam will cover only corrosion and materials topics (sections 4 and 5.1 of API RP 571), and not the process flow descriptions included in section 5.2 of API RP 571. Every effort has been made to formulate good, straight-forward questions that are of “Inspectioneering®” value and avoid the more analytical or engineering oriented questions.

Who qualifies to take the new ICEP exams?

Anyone who already has an API certification as an Authorized Pressure Vessel Inspector (API 510) or Authorized Piping Inspector (API 570), or Authorized Storage Tank Inspector (API 653) is qualified to apply for the ICEP and sit for the examination. Once you sit for the exam and pass it, which will require a minimum passing score of 70% correct answers, you will receive the API ICEP endorsement for that particular program. No additional experience requirements will apply.

What about ICEP recertification?

There is no intent to require recertification exams on any of the ICEP endorsements. New and updated material in the four documents covered by the ICEP will be covered in the basic recertification on-line quiz that is currently required every six years to renew basic ICP certificates. ICEP certificates will be good for three years and then will need to be renewed in a manner similar to the renewal of the basic ICP certificates after three years.

Why should you consider achieving an API Inspector Certification Endorsement?

API ICEP endorsements will show that you have gone above and beyond the minimum requirements for certification to achieve an extra endorsement that recognizes your increased knowledge of technical subject matter involved in inspection. After my last diploma/ degree, nearly 40 years ago, I have endeavored to never stop learning. I believe that approach to learning has significantly enhanced my capabilities, my career and most importantly, my job satisfaction. Perhaps it could do the same for you. Who will be the first among you to achieve all four new API ICEP endorsements?

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