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Schools for Aspiring Coating Inspectors: How to Choose

Coatings are paint applications used on construction and industrial materials to prevent corrosion. Coatings inspectors ensure that coatings on surfaces, such as bridges and water tanks, meet set standards. Inspectors examine coating materials for thickness, color, gloss and durability. Coating inspector programs and certifications are available through government agencies and professional associations.

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How to Choose a Coating Inspector Program

Coating inspectors ensure that materials and equipment are adequately coated to prevent corrosion, such as rust, in accordance with client and manufacturer standards. Coatings inspectors test coating applications using environmental, destructive and nondestructive testing procedures. The Society for Protective Coatings, the National Highway Institute and NACE-affiliated schools and educational centers offer training suitable for aspiring coating inspectors.

Individuals may seek out programs that cover a variety of coating materials and inspection methods. Contrarily, individuals with specific career goals may want to look for programs that emphasize specific types of coating inspection such as bridge, concrete, nuclear or maritime coatings. Students who need to maintain and professional engineering (PE) license, may seek coatings inspections programs that offer professional development credits that apply to a PE. Students may want to seek institutions that offer programs that adhere to environmental standards as well as health and safety regulations.

Overview of Coating Inspector Programs

Coating Inspector SSPC Certification Courses

The Society for Protective Coatings, previously known as the Steel Structures Painting Council (SSPC), offers a variety of certifications for coating inspectors. These certifications include protective coatings inspector, bridge coatings inspector and concrete coatings inspector. Courses are offered in varying lengths to prepare for the certifications. Courses include varying levels of certifications and focus on several specific types of coatings. Topics covered may include surface preparation, application, defects and corrosion prevention. Additional subjects may include practical math, safety regulations and quality assurance and control.

Coating Inspector NACE Certification Courses

The National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) offers a Certified Coating Inspector (CIP) certification at three different levels. At each level, NACE offers courses to prepare students for the certification exams. The CIP Level 1 program covers curing mechanisms, inspection procedures, case studies, logbook documentation and a field lab. The CIP Level 2 program includes 60 hours of coursework covering topics such as specialized application equipment, cathodic protection, spray metalizing and centrifugal blast cleaning. Those who have achieved a CIP Level 2 may take the 2-hour CIP Level 3 peer review exam; NACE sponsors a 3-day preparation course for this exam.

National Highway Institute Course

This training course is suitable for individuals who want to specialize in inspecting bridge coatings. This course lasts for four days and covers topics such as nondestructive testing equipment, inspection procedures, coatings industry standards, coatings curing mechanisms and quality assurance reporting. Additionally, this program includes hands-on training and demonstrations of proper coating and inspection techniques.

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