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API 653 - Aboveground Storage Tank Inspector

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ANSI Certified

This exam can now be scheduled either at in-person test centers or through remote proctoring.

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 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 653 exam are derived from publications listed in this document.
  • Body of Knowledge - List of specific topics included in the API 653 exam

2. Exam Structure

  • The API 653 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 API 653 exam, of which only 140 are scored. The remaining 30 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 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. 
  • Learn More about Exam Day

4. Additional Resources

Are you qualified to take the API 653 exam?

As outlined in Annex D of the API 653 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 and will be verified after your application has been submitted. 


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

Recertification Overview

  • API 653 Aboveground Storage Tank 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. 

Recertification Requirements

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 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 tank  inspection activities as described in the API 653 inspection code.
  • Inspectors who have not been actively engaged in aboveground storage tank 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 653 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.
2025

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 one what activities are acceptable. 
    • Activities should vary between categories. Minimum should be across two of the categories. 
  • You must upload proof of activity to the Education page on your ICP Portal account along with your own Recertification application. 

3. Webquiz - Every 6 years

API 653 Recertification Publications Effectivity Sheet (Valid beginning August 10, 2020)

API 653 Recertification Publications Effectivity Sheet (Valid beginning August 16, 2021)

  • API 653 Aboveground Storage Tank 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 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.

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