The American Petroleum Institute’s authorized pressure vessel inspectors must have a broad knowledge base relating to maintenance, inspection, repair, and alteration of pressure vessels. The API Pressure Vessel Inspector Certification examination is designed to determine if individuals have such knowledge.

The 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.

Minimum Qualification Requirements
  • As outlined in the Appendix B of the API 510 Standards, the qualification requirements for API 510 applicants 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 API-510 exam.
  • Prior to submitting an application, please use the table below to determine if you qualify to take the API 510 exam.

API 510 Pressure Vessel Inspector Program - Exam Information

  1. Questions on the API 510 examination are derived from the publications listed in the Publications Effectivity Sheet.
  2. Please refer to the Body of Knowledge for the specific topics included in this examination.
  3. There are 150 questions on the exam, of which only 125 are scored. The remaining 25 are pretest questions. Learn more about Pretest Questions.
  4. The exam day is 8.5 hours long, and includes 3 hours for the closed-book section, 4 hours for the open-book section, a half-hour tutorial session, and a 1-hour lunch break. View the Tutorial before exam day.
  5. The exam will be administered via computer at a Prometric computer testing center.
  6. The examination consists of two parts.
    • The closed book section tests the candidate on knowledge and tasks requiring everyday working knowledge of API Standard 510 and other applicable reference documents.
    • The open book portion of the examination requires the use of more detailed information that the inspector is expected to be able to find in the documents, but would not normally commit to memory.
    • “Open book” for computer-based testing refers to PDF files of pertinent codes and standards that will be available on your monitor and presented in English. The PDF documents will have tabs differentiating the sections and chapters. These reference materials will only have those sections listed in the Effectivity sheets. Sections not listed in the Effectivity sheets will not be available for candidates during their exam.
  7. Papers and books are not allowed in Prometric’s computer testing centers. All materials needed for the open-book portion of the exam will be displayed on your computer screen in English.


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