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Are you qualified to take the API 510 exam?

As outlined in the Appendix B of the API 510 Standard, the minimum qualification requirements for API 510 Pressure Vessel inspector certification are based on the combination of education and experience related to pressure vessels. This experience must have been acquired within the last 10 years while employed by, or under contract with, an authorized inspection agency as defined in API 510.

Based on the 10th edition of API 510, a National Board certification is no longer accepted as a substitution for passing the exam.

Prior to submitting an application, please use the table below to determine if you qualify to take the API 510 exam. The minimum experience required MUST be documented on your application.


Education Years of Experience Experience Required
BS or higher in engineering or technology 1 year Supervision or performance of inspection activities as described in API 510
2-year degree or certificate in engineering or technology 2 years Design, construction, repair, operation, or inspection of pressure vessels, of which one year must be in supervision or performance of inspection activities as described in API 510
High school diploma or equivalent 3 years Design, construction, repair, operation, or inspection of pressure vessels, of which one year must be in supervision or performance of inspection activities as described in API 510
No formal education 5 or more years Design, construction, repair, operation, or inspection of pressure vessels, of which one year must be in supervision or performance of inspection activities as described in API 510

Questions on the API 510 Pressure Vessel Inspector Certification examination are derived from the publications listed in the Publications Effectivity Sheet.

  • Only the specific sections of publications that are listed on the Effectivity Sheet will be available to you during the open-book portion of the exam.

PDF Icon API 510 Publications Effectivity Sheet For May 2016 - January 2017 exams


Refer to the Body of Knowledge for the specific topics included in this examination.

PDF Icon API 510 Body of Knowledge For May 2016 - January 2017 exams


The API 510 exam day is 8.5 hours long, and includes a short tutorial session, 3 hours for the closed-book portion, a 1-hour lunch break, and 4 hours for the open-book section.  

Learn More about Exam Day


Papers and books are not allowed in Prometric’s computer testing centers. PDF documents of pertinent codes and standards will be available on your computer during the open book portion of the exam, and will be presented in English (with the exception of Chinese references). The tutorial below will help you navigate through these documents. 

View the Tutorial before exam day.

PDF Icon API 510, 570, 653 CBT Tutorial English version

PDF Icon API 510, 570, 653 CBT Tutorial Chinese version


There are 150 questions on the exam, of which only 125 are scored. The remaining 25 are pretest questions.

PDF Icon Pretest Questions


Additional Resources

Examination Policies & Notifications: Policies

Purchasing Authorized API Publications: API Publications Store

  1. API 510 Pressure Vessel inspectors need to apply for recertification every three (3) years. Apply online in the ICP Portal.
  2. You may apply for recertification 90 days prior to the certification expiration date, and for a 90-day grace period after. Late fees apply after the expiration date.
  3. If an application is not submitted by the end of the 90-day grace period, the certification will expire. A new application and fees must be submitted, and you will need to pass a full examination in order to be recertified.
    • Circumstances such as heavy work schedule or work in other countries or remote areas do not relieve the inspector/examiner of the responsibility to file a timely renewal application.
  4. API 510 inspectors need to demonstrate that a minimum of 20% of time over the most recent three-year certification period was spent performing or supervising pressure vessel inspection activities as described in the API 510 inspection code.
    • Inspectors who have not been actively engaged in pressure vessel inspection practices will be required to take the full examination.

API 510 Recertification Web Quiz

PDF Icon  API 510 Recertification Publications Effectivity Sheet

  1. API 510 Pressure Vessel inspectors are required to take an on-line, open-book quiz every six years in order to recertify.
  2. The quiz is available 90 days prior to your expiration date and for a grace period of 90 days after. The quiz will not be available beyond this grace period, or after your certification has expired.
  3. You may take the quiz either before or after you submit your recertification application.
  4. To take your recertification quiz, or to determine if a quiz is needed for your current certification, log into your account in the ICP Portal. If a web quiz is due, there will be a notification at the top of your 510 certification page with a link that will take you to the quiz. You may also go directly to the Web Quiz Gateway. If a quiz is needed, you will see a notification in bold red stating that a quiz is required.
    NOTE: Your Web Quiz log is the same username and password that you use to log into your account in the ICP Portal.
    • Each quiz has 25 questions that address the changes in the relevant API codes over the past six years.
    • You have a total of four hours to complete the quiz, and it may be paused or interrupted up to three times.
    • If you fail the quiz once you will be able to take it again. If you fail the quiz a second time you will not be able to recertify. You will need to submit a new application and take the full version of the exam to certify again.

Please contact Inspector@api.org if you have trouble with your quiz.

Certified API 510 Pressure Vessel inspectors must have a broad knowledge base relating to maintenance, inspection, repair, and alteration of pressure vessels. The API 510 examination is designed to determine if individuals have such knowledge.

This certification program benefits employers and the industry as a whole by helping to:

  • Improve management control of process unit operation, repair, and maintenance
  • Reduce the potential for inspection delays
  • Provide a continued high level of safety through the use of highly specialized and experienced inspectors

API 510 certification is valid for a three-year term.