Those interested in becoming a pipeline construction inspector must first earn their certification via a program managed by the API (American Petroleum Institute). Applying for this certification requires a combination of years working in the industry and education, but the most important step is taking and passing the exam – in this case, the API 1169 exam. Let’s take a look at what that exam is like, and prepare for API 1169 exam as you get ready to apply.
This is an API exam specifically created as a requirement for certification as a Pipeline Construction Inspector. While the API may administer the test, it is also verified by the Canadian side of the industry, and the certification is recognized in both countries.
The exam itself is a 115-question test taken on a computer with a time limit of three hours. The questions are all multiple choice. While candidates are not allowed to bring in any outside or personal reference materials to use with the exam, reference materials will be provided on the computer when the exam is taken (candidates also have the ability to choose between the United States and Canadian versions of the reference materials). As such, candidates must be familiar with the associated materials and their information, as well as how to consult reference materials properly for the best results.
The Pipeline Construction Inspector exam covers a brand range of knowledge related to new onshore pipeline construction. That includes information covering general pipeline safety, personnel safety for the construction workers, environmental and pollution control requirements, and general knowledge about pipeline construction – as well as the specific responsibilities of the inspector for these pipelines.
Note that the exam cannot cover local rules and regulations for a specific site, but pipeline inspectors are expected to know and apply those regulations for particular projects. That’s one reason it’s important to master studying and understanding reference materials for a wide variety of cases.
The topics covered may seem like a lot of information for an exam of around 100 questions, but there are specific sources to use when studying that condense and codify this information for the exam. The first source to focus on is the API’s own “Body of Knowledge.” The Body of Knowledge is a list of the topics included in the exam, and is a great place to start preparing.
At first glance, the body of knowledge may look a little overwhelming, but it’s helpful to think of it as a reference list of the topics that should be studied set out in complete order.
Note that the Body of Knowledge is updated for every new exam session (which typically occur twice a year) so it’s important to consult the latest Body of Knowledge once you have applied for the exam – although, as we note below, it’s all right to start becoming familiar with the content before then.
The Publication Effectivity Sheet is another resource that candidates must be very familiar with. This is an essential list of publications that have been used to create the exam. To properly prepare for the API 1169 exam, collect these publications and give them a broad review to understand how to review topics within them (most if not all are available for free online). Then use the Body of Knowledge to look up specific topics in these publications for full review. Mark all of the passages indicated by the Body of Knowledge for easier studying.
Note that some of the primary publications on the Publication Effectivity Sheet will be the references made available during the exam itself, but not all references listed will be offered, which is why studying prior to the exam is such an important step.
You can find a variety of free practice questions for the API 1169 exam online, from platforms like Chegg or Quizlet. These questions are not guaranteed to be on the exam, or to cover the same information that the exam will cover, but they are still a great way to get accustomed to exam questions and go over related information that can help prepare for the real thing.
There are a variety of training courses you can sign up for online as well, such as those offered by EnergyWorldnet. These training courses are not required to prepare for the API 1169 exam and they aren’t for everyone, but they do hold some advantages. You typically gain access to full practice exams with more relevant information, and a structured system of studying which may be beneficial. Costs for these training programs can vary, but they typically cost several hundred dollars.
There is no specific time when you need to start preparing for the API 1169 exam ahead of a scheduled test date, but starting earlier can help a candidate become more familiar with the references and materials they will be using on the exam – and on the job. Remember, certain qualification requirements are needed before applying to the exam, including various combinations of several years of education and industry experience. Start becoming familiar with reference materials early on, and you will be well-prepared for the exam before you even begin your application. Just remember to review the latest materials designated for your exam period when the time comes.