API 510 - Pressure Vessel Inspector
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 and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This accreditation ensures that the exam has been developed to the highest standard for openness and integrity and meets the rigorous requirements established under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17024.
1. Studying for the Exam
- Publications Effectivity Sheet - Questions on the API 510 exam are derived from the publications listed in this document.
- Body of Knowledge - List of specific topics included in the API 510 exam
2. Exam Structure
- The API 510 exam day is 7.5 hours long - a short tutorial session, 2.75 hours for the closed-book portion, a 45-minute lunch break and 3.75 hours for the open-book portion.
- There are 170 questions on the exam, of which only 140 are scored. The remaining are pretest questions.
- There are 110 closed-book questions and 60 open-book questions.
- View the Exam Tutorial before exam day to familiarize yourself with the format.
3. What Can You Bring Into the Exam
- Papers, notes 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.
- Learn More about Exam Day
4. Additional Resources
- Examination Policies & Notifications: Policies
- Purchasing Authorized API Publications: API Publications Store
- ANSI Accreditation
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 and will be verified after your application has been submitted.
|Education||Years of Industry Experience||Experience Required|
BS or higher in engineering or technology
3+ years of military service in a technical role
(Dishonorable discharge disqualifies credit)
|1 year||Supervision or performance of inspection activities as described in API 510|
2-year Associate's degree or certificate in engineering or technology
2 years of military service in a technical role
(Dishonorable discharge disqualifies credit)
|2 years||Design, fabrication, 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, fabrication, 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, fabrication, 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|
- API 510 Pressure Vessel inspectors need to apply for recertification every three (3) years. Apply online in the ICP Portal.
- 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.
- 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, work in other countries, or remote areas do not relieve the inspector/examiner of the responsibility to a file a timely renewal application
- Candidates must ensure that they provide appropriate contact information for their supervisor for timely processing of their recertification application. If your supervisor fails to respond to requests for employment verifications/s, it may cause a delay in your recertification or API will not be able to recertify you.
Failure to comply with one or more of the applicable requirements during your recertification cycle will preclude you from earning a recertification.
1. Work Requirements - Every 3 years
- 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.
2. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) - Every 3 years
- Beginning January 1, 2022, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours will be included in the 3-year recertification requirements. CPD activity must be relevant to the API 510 certification.
- ICP will have a phased implementation of the CPD hour requirement beginning with 8 CPD hours required for individuals whose certification expire after January 1, 2023. The full CPD requirements of 24 CPDs will be implemented for those expiring on or after January 1, 2025. See the table below:
|Recertifying Year||Number of CPD Hours Required|
|2023||Recertifying candidates must submit 8 CPD hours completed within the last 3 years.|
|2024||Recertifying candidates must submit 16 CPD hours completed within the last 3 years.|
Recertifying candidates must submit 24 CPD hours completed within the last 3 years.
(All recertifications from this point forward must present 24 CPD hours each 3 year cycle. No more than 16 hours may be from one activity category)
- Review the CPD Guidance Document for additional information on what activities are acceptable.
- Activities should vary between categories. Minimum should be across two of the categories.
- You must upload proof of activity to Education page on your ICP Portal account along with your Recertification application.
- Fill out the API CPD Activities Form if no other form of proof. Please print this form and sign in person prior to submitting with your Recertification application.
3. Webquiz - Every 6 years
API 510 Recertification Publications Effectivity Sheet (Valid beginning August 16, 2021)
- API 510 Pressure Vessel inspectors are required to take an on-line, open-book quiz every six years in order to recertify.
- 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.
- You may take the quiz either before or after you submit your recertification application.
- 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.