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The American Petroleum Institute (API) is the largest trade association in the United States representing over 600 companies in the oil and gas industry. API has been in operation for over a hundred years setting a benchmark in the industry and is a globally reputed institution that aims to promote industrial safety and advocates public policy for the oil and gas industry. Overall, API has developed over 700 industrial standards to strengthen industrial safety and sustainability.
General Overview of API Certification Programs
API conducts several training programs and offers a plethora of certifications for manufacturers, owners, individuals, and consumers. These designations recognize and validate individuals’ skills and knowledge of industry and safety standards. More so, manufacturers can obtain certifications to confirm and verify that they are complying with industry standards. In all, individual certifications offered by API revolves around areas such as the inspection of pressure vessels, piping, aboveground storage tanks, pipeline constructions, the supervision of tank entry, the qualification of ultrasonic testing examiners in a phased array, sizing, detection, crack sizing, or thickness measurement, internal and lead auditors, source inspections related to fixed, electrical, or rotating equipment, corrosion, materials, metallurgy, long seam pipelines, and so on. Thus, the API 571 - Corrosion and Materials and API 580 - Risk Based Inspection endorsements are two prominent certifications just to mention a few that we will look into below.
API 571 - Corrosion and Materials Certification
The API 571 certificate validates an individual’s knowledge and extensive experience in corrosion processes. Also, this certification verifies that the individual is competent and capable of identifying and tackling different types of corrosion along with the materials involved. The exam questions are based on the book API RP 571 Damage Mechanisms Affecting Fixed Equipment in the Refining Industry published by API. Some of the topics tested include acid and caustic corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, mechanical fatigue, soil corrosion, reheat cracking, and dissimilar metal weld corrosion. In addition to that, students can also refer to the Body of Knowledge developed for the API 571 exam.
API 580 - Risk Based Inspection Designation
The API 580 certificate verifies an individual’s knowledge on Risk Based Inspection. This is one of the most prominent certifications in the oil and gas industry that can make a candidate stand out from the rest. Risk based inspection is a maintenance-related activity where the individual has to identify assets or equipment for inspection based on the associated risk. This helps to identify and differentiate high-priority assets that require continuous monitoring thereby reducing the risk of failure or downtime. Candidates intending to sit for the affiliated test must be familiar with the API RP 580 Risk-Based Inspection book published by API as all exam questions will be based on the API book. Some of the key areas that candidates will be tested on include the basics of Risk Based Inspection, Risk Assessment and Management, Risk Planning and Mitigation, Mode and Probability of Failure, Consequence of Failure, and much more.
API Exam Format and Policy
The API exams can be taken in person at an approved testing center or candidates can opt for a proctored online test. The aforementioned certification exams cost USD 315 for API members and USD 365 for non-members. The validity period of these certifications is 3 years and if individuals want to remain certified even afterward, they are given the option of recertification. What is more, both of the API 571 and 580 evaluations follow the same format. They consist of 80 multiple choice questions that candidates are expected to answer in 3.25 hours. Note that only 70 questions will be scored and the remaining 10 will not be scored as they are pretest questions. Also, as they are closed-book exams, textbooks, and reference material will not be permitted on the day of the actual tests plus, there will be a certain scaled passing score that you must receive for the two exams.
Who Are API 571 and API 580 Certifications for?
All in all, these API designations are suitable for engineers, inspectors, operators, and other professionals working in the oil and gas industry. More so, these certifications can be very useful for aspiring new entrants and employees seeking promotion in the petrochemical industry.
Prerequisites for API 571 and API 580
The vendor has specific prerequisites that candidates have to meet before registering for the certification exams. So, candidates that hold the API 510, 570, or 653 endorsements automatically qualify for both the API 571 and 580 certification tests. However, candidates that do not possess any of the above-mentioned certifications will be assessed based on their industry experience and educational background. Thus, applicants with no formal education will need to show at least five years of experience in the petrochemical industry. Candidates that have a high school diploma require three years of experience in the petrochemical field. A two-year engineering diploma or certificate holder would need to show at least two years of experience whereas a candidate with a bachelor’s degree or higher will need to show one year of work experience. Remember that entrants must be able to present evidence for educational qualifications and work experience when registering for the official exams.
What Are Career Prospects of API 571 and API 580 Certified Professionals?
The oil and gas industry is one of the most lucrative industries in the world, generating billions of dollars every year. Employees are paid higher than the industry average due to the risks involved in the job. In general, companies prefer hiring experienced and certified individuals because they have to entrust their employees with expensive equipment and immense responsibility. Therefore, an API certification would mean the candidate is fully competent and capable of handling the role. All in all, the certifications from such a vendor will serve as a stepping stone for specialists to advance in their careers. The average annual salaries of API 580 and API 571 certified specialists range from USD 90,000 to USD 105,000, respectively, according to a survey conducted by PayScale.com. On completion of the API 571 and 580 validations, candidates can pursue other certifications offered by API to further their knowledge of the industry standards and best practices. This would unearth many new opportunities and provide a platform for professionals to excel in the highly competitive industry.
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