How much are your courses and where do you run them?
The full list of courses you can sign up for are found on our Course Calendar, including the dates, price and location. To book into a course, simply click the ‘Book Now’ button and follow the prompts.
Can you run in-house courses for our company?
Yes and we do so very often. If your company has a specific training need we can deliver training for your staff at your location. Simply get in touch and we will put together a proposal for you.
Do your courses have any prerequisites?
As our main courses are examination preparation courses, we do not conduct the exams and do not police the prerequisites that may apply – they will be mandated by the examining body such as API. It is your responsibility to ensure that you satisfy the requirements to sit the exams.
For API examinations, verify you have the correct experience HERE
For AICIP examinations, read the ‘Suggested Prior Attributes of Candidates’ tab HERE
For ASME Level 2 courses, we require that you either have passed the ASME Level 1 course (AND have demonstrated industry experience) or hold an appropriate certification such as API 510/570/653, AICIP or equivalent (such as relevant engineering discipline). We may require a copy of your resume and/or may conduct a phone interview to ensure the appropriate level of knowledge.
The experience and knowledge checks for ASME Level 2 are to ensure that we are not re-teaching assumed knowledge and that you are not wasting time and money in attending a course not appropriate for your experience level.
ASME Level 1 courses do not have any pre-requisites.
We require that you have good written and spoken English to be able to communicate effectively in technical terms relevant to the inspection industry. You will need reasonable high school level mathematics and the ability to use a scientific calculator.
Courses such as Senior AICIP, API 579 and ASME Level 2 will require above average mathematics skills and understanding, as well as knowledge of how to use a scientific calculator.
I’m looking at plant inspection as a career, should I consider AICIP or API certifications?
There are obvious differences between API or AICIP certification – API is recognised internationally and split into a number of specialties – pipework, pressure vessels and storage tanks. AICIP is an Australian certification (not recognised outside of Australia) and one certification covers most pressure equipment.
The general sentiment among client companies in Australia is when hiring plant inspectors they will accept as a minimum, either AICIP or API 510 AND 570 (ie 510 AND 570 together). So going for AICIP or both API 510 and 570 may depend on your circumstances and long term plans. Going for 2 API certifications is an investment in time and money which may seem less attractive than going for the one AICIP certification. However this needs to be offset by the fact that the AICIP examination traditionally has a low pass rate and therefore a high chance that the time taken to get certified is similar to going for 2 API certifications…
AICIP does not have any prerequisite for sitting the exam, whereas API is strict on the amount of experience that is required to sit an exam, which they enforce through contacting a range of referees. So having API certifications will show that you not only have passed the exam but have established industry experience.
If you are heading into the offshore Oil and Gas Industry either API or AICIP are well regarded. You may find certain clients in the Onshore Refinery Industry will prefer AICIP as a starting point. As API certifications are American-centric they do not contain any information regarding Australian pressure equipment regulations or complying with regulatory requirements.
What is the process for application and sitting an API exam?
The first step in the process is to apply to sit the exam through the API ICP website. Once you have created a profile, navigate to the ICP (Inspector Certification Program) and select ‘Create New Application’. You will need to provide your details, experience and references (check the experience prerequisites for each course HERE) and pay the fee (see fee structure HERE).
Once you have applied for the exam, communicate with the people that you have listed as references to let them know to expect an email from API and stress the urgency of them completing it for you. Having that email sit with the referee is one of the main reasons for delays in the process.
Upon completion of the application process and assuming that API accept the application, you will be provided with an API exam ID number. API exams are overseen and run by their third party contractor, Prometric. With the API exam ID number you will then be able to book your exam on the Prometric website. Simply follow the prompts as a ‘Test Taker’, specify the exam, location etc and your exam will be booked.
NOTE – submission of the API exam application does not automatically allow you to then choose an exam place/time with Prometric. Your application needs to be reviewed and accepted by API first, which includes the process of validation by the referee. This process can take up to 4 weeks to complete, more if your referees are not timely in their responses.
Each API certification’s exam is run in a two week ‘exam period’ for the ‘exam cycle’, of which there are 3 cycles per year. The exam period for each certification’s cycle is shown here.
For example, the schedule may show that for API 510 the exam period is the 11th – 25th September. This means they will allow you to sit 510 somewhere within those dates for that cycle. You can only choose a date within that period once you have your API Exam ID AND subject to availability of the testing center in the city you want to sit it.
Exam time-slots will be within the periods shown above and are subject to availability in the particular testing center. Small centers will obviously have less availability so you will need to be pro-active in completing the process if you wish to get a time-frame convenient to you which is why we stress for you to apply for the exam AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
The API testing centers for Australia/NZ are Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland ONLY. There are also a number of centers in SE Asia such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Perth is a small testing center so the availability is always tight and people often miss out on their preferred options.
Our experience is that while the process of selecting an exam with Prometric is straightforward, changing an exam is not. Avoid needing to change your exam at all costs.
UPDATE ON REMOTE PROCTORING VIA PROPROCTOR
As of February 2021 you are now able to take most API exams from a remote computer (like from home) using the Proproctor service, eliminating the need to travel to a Prometric center. This has advantages not only around travel but also for scheduling. It is more likely that you will be able to book an exam date that suits you using this remote examination method. See HERE for more information.
- Our advice is that while using the ProProctor service may be a little painful at first, it is well worth taking advantage of. Being able to take the exam from your home or office will eliminate any issues around border closures that may be active at the time, particularly if you are from a region that does not have a Prometric testing center (like QLD, SA, NT, TAS, ACT or regional NZ for example).
- It will also be advantageous in regions where there are limited options for testing (like WA) due to the small size of the testing center. You will find that with the ProProctor service, you will have a much greater range of testing times/dates available which will be more convenient for you.
- If you find that when you go to book an exam at a Prometric Center that there are no spots available (as often happens in Perth), the simplest solution is to change to a remote proctored exam and do it from home instead.
- One disadvantage to note is that you will not be allowed to use scrap paper, all calculations need to be performed with an on-screen scratch pad. Reports from students that have used the remote exam option indicate that if you identify at the start of the session that you wish to use your own calculator, you will be allowed to use it. Otherwise you will need to use an on-screen calculator.
NOTE – We do not have any relationship with Prometric nor API regarding your exam application or booking your exam. If you have issues with either Prometric or API on these matters we wont be able to assist other than offering general advice.
What is the format of your API courses? I did a course previously with another outfit and it consisted of a guy reading boring code clauses from Powerpoint slides…
Our courses are structured to ensure you have solid understanding of the concepts as well as ensuring you are prepared for a difficult examination. Our main examination preparation courses start with 3 months of online training to get you familiar with the concepts and the codes/standards.
The online training is followed by the classroom component of the course which is structured around navigating the body of knowledge to answer pertinent questions. Learning is punctuated with lessons from the trainer, classroom discussion and real world examples. We round off the course with a number of days of mock examinations so you are prepared for the exam process. The courses are intense, they require your full participation and you will learn a lot – and there are no Powerpoint slides.
Where do ASME Plant Inspector qualifications fit in?
Wilkinson Coutts Engineering Training is one of the few worldwide providers of ASME Plant Inspector training. The ASME Plant Inspector series are regarded as qualifications rather than certifications whereby they are additional training/education that will count towards a level of learning or competence rather than prove that competence.
According to Australian Regulations and referencing standards (such as AS/NZS 3788) the requirement for someone performing inspections is that they are ‘competent’. Inspection personnel may be selected on their ‘competence’ (ie a combination of their experience, knowledge, training and/or other qualifications/certifications) rather than purely by their certifications. ASME qualifications may count towards this competency and may be sufficient to operate at a certain level in certain sectors.
However you may find that the industry sector, inspection company or client company that you will be working for will mandate certifications such as AICIP ISI, CBIP or API 510/570/653.
The ASME Plant Inspector Level 1 qualification is well regarded as an entry-level ‘apprenticeship’ course, where many of the foundational principles are introduced. This allows the candidate to work in a parallel field (such as NDE) and gain plant inspector experience or under the mentor-ship of a certified inspector. This qualification and the experience that comes from it may lead someone to take the step to become ‘certified’.
ASME Plant Inspector Level 2 qualification will introduce a number of more advanced subjects and acts as an adjunct to traditional certifications to boost an inspector’s knowledge and overall skill. The subjects covered may be more advanced or specialised compared to a traditional inspection certification.
Overall there is no one rule that can be applied to ASME qualifications in Australia. It will depend on the industry, the individual’s experience and the purposes of achieving the qualification.
ASME Plant Inspector qualifications are world renowned and extremely popular in the UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The ASME Plant Inspector courses are approved and ratified by ASME and are recognised around the world. However these courses are not the same as an ASME Authorised Inspector who would perform fabrication inspections for an Authorised Inspection Agency (AIA) in the USA and issue ‘U’ stamps and the like.
ASME Plant Inspector courses are offered as classroom, virtual classroom and eLearning – what is the difference?
Classroom – Our traditional method of training delivery. Students and trainer in the same classroom for a number of days.
Virtual Classroom – To accommodate CV19 travel restrictions the classroom component is delivered over Zoom. Same format as Classroom delivery, only that the students watch the trainer over webcam in real-time and any interaction is through the streaming software.
eLearning – No classroom component at all. All training delivery is through modules on our Learning Management System (LMS) which the student works through at their own pace. Generally we will mail workbooks to be used in conjunction with online modules. We are available for questions and assistance but do not present any lectures.
What’s the difference then between a qualification and a certification?
That’s a great question and is a confusing subject. Unfortunately the two words are mixed up in use and can appear to be interchangeable.
Generally speaking in the inspection and NDE fields the differentiating factors are:
- Has a defined curriculum rather than a large Body of Knowledge and examinations are based upon the curriculum taught.
- Will not necessarily require any particular experience to enter the course and will not require proof of having performed a task following obtaining the qualification.
- Does not require renewal.
- Is often used to prove that the person has learnt something in the past (but does not necessarily remember it now).
- Issued by a well regarded institution that does not necessarily need to comply to a standard.
- Training/education is seen as integral to the process of obtaining the qualification. The process is more about the ‘having been taught’ than having passed the examination (although this is still important). It is not possible to skip the ‘education’ part and go straight to sitting the exam to become ‘qualified’.
- The easiest way to visualise is to take the example of a university degree – a classic qualification that fits all of the above.
- Has a Body of Knowledge rather than curriculum. The Body of Knowledge normally consists of a number of codes/standards/post construction codes that are specified. Knowledge of the content is required and examinations could come from anywhere within that BoK.
- Can have barriers for entry such as experience requirements or pre-requisites.
- Require re-certification at pre-determined time intervals and likely require proof of performance.
- Is seen as a ‘ticket’ to demonstrate competence in a particular field.
- Issued by a certifying body, often complying to a particular standard (such as ISO 17024)
- Training is not necessarily required. If the student feels experienced or comfortable enough with the BoK they can progress straight to sitting the exam without any training/education on the subject. Passing the exam (and experience requirements) is all that is required for ‘certification’.
- Familiar examples would be API, AICIP or NDE certifications.
I live outside Australia, what is your advice for getting work as a Plant Inspector in Australia?
There is no doubt that opportunities exist for work in the Oil/Gas and Refinery industries in Australia at the moment. Visa changes mean that few companies ‘sponsor’ foreign candidates and normally stipulate in job adverts that the candidate have the ability to legally work in Australia.
If you have the relevant certifications and experience, it would be best to contact hiring companies direct and canvas them for work. Jobs are advertised regularly on professional social media such as Linkedin.
Can I sit the AICIP exam online or overseas?
The AICIP examination process consists of 3 x 3 hour written exams, with one being a practical exam, that are run over 2 days. These examinations are run in Perth, Darwin, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane each March and September. See here for the AICIP website where you can apply for the exam and see the exam schedule.
Note that for Perth, Darwin and Melbourne the second day of examinations (Paper E – the practical exam) is two weeks after the first day of exam, not the following day.
If you have problems with the exam application, website or exam venues please contact AICIP direct, do not contact us as we have nothing to do with these things.
Do you suggest choosing an AICIP exam city so there is a break between Papers A/B and Paper E?
Having two weeks break before Paper E is sound exam strategy as you can ignore that paper initially and focus on it once Papers A and B are done. Paper E is the most responsible for people failing the exam, thus your strategy can be crucial. This obviously needs to be weighed against the rest of your life and whether you can afford to have your work impacted in such a way.
There are also advantages to getting it all done in two days and moving on with your life.
These decisions are best made by you, we cannot advise you any more than that.
How many people do you have in your courses?
We have a strict maximum of 12 students per course. This ensures each student receives the attention they require and there is balanced student engagement.
I only have old versions of the relevant codes and/or standards – will that be OK?
In a nutshell, no.
For their exams API will publish an Effectivity List of the codes and editions of the codes that will be tested. If you learn from codes that are different from the Effectivity List there may be enough of a difference to be learning incorrect information.
For Australian Standards, the most up to date standard is always required. They do not change very often so when they do the difference is normally significant.
Do you provide copies of the codes and standards for the courses?
Exam preparation courses like AICIP and API are based upon your knowledge of a range of codes and standards, knowledge that will be a part of your vocation. Once you complete the exam, those same codes should be a part of your day-to-day working life and thus you will require access to them.
We understand the cost of a large number of codes is expensive if you purchase them yourself although most students will be working for companies that will have SAI, IHS or Techstreet subscriptions that you can obtain the codes through.
If we were to provide codes to students it would increase the course cost considerably and then you would only be able to access them for the duration of the course. Outside of the course it would be a breach of copyright and therefore illegal.
Obtaining codes and standards are your responsibility as is outlined in the relevant course information.
Can I pay my invoice by credit card?
Yes. Our standard form of payment is bank transfer, which suits most people and companies. We realise that credit card payments can suit certain circumstances so have introduced credit card payments directly from your invoice through Stripe. As this is not our standard way of taking payment a 1.8% surcharge applies to credit card payments.
When is my invoice due?
Full payment is required prior to the commencement of the online training component of your course. Once the online course has started the course fee is non refundable, however you may be able to transfer courses in extenuating circumstances. These circumstances will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
For courses that do not have an online training component (such as ASME Level 1), the invoice will be due 1 month prior to the course start date.
In certain circumstances such as when a course fills a long way out from the start date, we may ask for a deposit to secure your place on the course.
Do I have to pay all in one go or can I pay my invoice over time?
Paying in full or piecemeal is acceptable. If you do pay in smaller increments we will update your invoice each time to show how much is still owing. In circumstances where there is a classroom component, full payment will be required prior to the start of the classroom training.