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Paint Industry Certifications – A Guide

Whether you’re a painter, paint shop supervisor in manufacturing, or owner of a painting company you may have pondered at times obtaining your certification.  However, there are a lot of options to choose from. We will cover the common choices and detail a bit about what is covered in each so you can be informed about certification options and if a particular certification makes sense.

NACE International  Certifications

The National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE)  started in 1943 and has a variety of coatings certifications. Below is an overview of some of the most common offerings that are completed.

NACE CIP Level 1

The NACE CIP Level 1 program is the initial certification offered by NACE.  It is a 6 day course that covers the fundamentals of coating inspection work of steel.  Topics covered include techniques for surface preparation, knowledge of coating materials, and application information. The end result is students who are able to provide basic coating inspection using nondestructive techniques and instrument inspection. The course is a mix of lectures, group activities, discussions, and hands on lab.

NACE CIP Level 2

The CIP level 2 certification requires completion of the NACE CIP level 1 Program.  It covers similar material as well as additional material than NACE CIP level 1. Topics include advanced corrosion theory, advanced nondestructive and destructive testing, surface preparation, coating application, concrete coatings, and more. The course is 6 days long.

NACE CIP Level 3

The top level NACE CIP certification the CIP Level 3 Certification requires significant prerequisites. It is a peer reviewed certification where other inspectors test you. Completion of this certification allows you to manage Level 2 and level 1 inspectors in the field.

NACE offers other unique certifications as well like the CIP Bridge Course, Nuclear Power Plant Training for Coatings Inspectors, and Pipeline Coating Inspector. There full list of certifications can be found here.

SSPC Certifications

Protective Coating Inspector Level 1

The PCI level 1 certification is a 5 day course that aims to train attendees on proper inspection of surface preparation and installation of protective and marine coatings. The topics covered include protection of surfaces with protective coatings, quality control, surface preparation and inspection, industrial coatings systems, coating specifications, and more. You learn a lot about surface preparation, industrial coatings, coating application, and proper coating inspection.

Protective Coating Inspector Level 2

The protective coating inspector level 2 program is a 6 day course that goes into greater depth as well as additional detail than the Protective coating Inspector level 1 program. There are prerequisites to be eligible for this course. Material covered includes surface preparation, coating inspection, coating application, and more.

Protective Coating Inspector Level 3

The PCI level 3 inspection program is the last in the 3 levels of PCI inspector certifications.  It requires extensive prerequisites and consists of a test. There is no additional classroom training but a difficult exam is used to determine your knowledge.

Additional Certifications

SSPC also offers other unique certifications for a variety of unique applications from concrete coatings, to thermal spraying, to marine plural component.

Tips for Determining A Certification for You

Choosing a certification costs time and money but can be tremendously helpful in deepening your knowledge and proving your expertise in the coatings industry.  To help determine the right certification for your situation you should consider the portion of the coatings industry you will want to be involved with (to see if a specialized certification will be needed). You can also discuss with those in the industry to see if there are recommendations on certifications. Also, check to see if there is financial compensation offered by your employer as this can be helpful. You also want to make sure that any certification you obtain is sufficient to meet any inspector certification requirements that your particular job may require.  Depending on the project your working on they may have a certification of preference.

Ultimately investing in your coating knowledge will help you in being better prepared as a coatings inspector, applicator, quality control worker, or technical sales representative. By thinking about all the different options and aspects of certification you can ensure you will be well prepared to provide good insight and understanding in coating application and inspection.

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