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API 653 - Aboveground Storage Tanks Inspector

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Are you qualified to take the API 653 exam?

As outlined in Annex D of the API 653 Aboveground Storage Tanks Standard, the qualification requirements for API 653 applicants are based on the combination of education and experience related to aboveground storage tanks. 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 653.

Prior to submitting an application, please use the table below to determine if you qualify to take the API 653 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 653
2-year degree or certificate in engineering or technology 2 years Design, construction, repair, operation, or inspection of aboveground storage tanks, of which one year must be in supervision or performance of inspection activities as described in API 653
High school diploma or equivalent 3 years Design, construction, repair, operation, or inspection of aboveground storage tanks, of which one year must be in supervision or performance of inspection activities as described in API 653
No formal education 5 or more years Design, construction, repair, operation, or inspection of aboveground storage tanks, of which one year must be in supervision or performance of inspection activities as described in API 653

Questions on the API 653 Aboveground Storage Tanks Inspector Certification exam 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 653 Publications Effectivity Sheet For November 2016 - July 2017 exams


Refer to the Body of Knowledge for the specific topics included in the API 653 examination.

PDF Icon  API 653 Body of Knowledge  For November 2016 - July 2017 exams


The API 653 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 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. 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 API 653 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 653 Aboveground Storage Tanks 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 653 inspectors need to demonstrate that a minimum of 20% of time over the most recent three-year certification period was spent performing or supervising aboveground storage tanks inspection activities as described in the API 653 inspection code.
    • Inspectors who have not been actively engaged in aboveground storage tanks inspection practices will be required to take the full examination.

API 653 Recertification Web Quiz

PDF Icon  API 653 Recertification Publications Effectivity Sheet

  1. API 653 Aboveground Storage Tanks 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 653 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.

The American Petroleum Institute initiated an API 653 Aboveground Storage Tank Inspector Certification Program with the participation of storage tank owners and users. It establishes a uniform national program that assists state and local governments in aboveground storage tank regulations.

The API 653 Aboveground Storage Tank Inspector must have a broad knowledge base relating to tank inspection and repair of aboveground storage tanks, and will satisfy the minimum qualifications specified in API Standard 653, Tank Inspection, Repair, Alteration, and Reconstruction.

API 653 certification is valid for a three-year term.