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Protective Coatings Inspector Program (PCI) Level 3

Level 3 Certification Exam Only:
Half Day, 4 Hours (Includes certification exam)
Class Times:
 Sat:  8:00 - Noon
Cost: SSPC Member $500/Non-Member $700
Certification Term:
4 Years

Written Exam Retake Fee: $200 member; $400 non-member
Contact Dee Boyle to schedule:
412.281.2331, Ext 2202 • boyle@sspc.org


Click here to REGISTER




Click here for prerequisites for the PCI Program.

PCI Certification Term and Renewal

Click Here for the PCI Certification Term and Renewal- Level 3- Certified Inspector

About the PCI Level 3 Certification Program

The Protective Coatings Inspector Level 3 Certification Program identifies and awards recognition to individuals who have in-depth knowledge in the principles and practices of inspection of industrial coatings. The PCI Level 3 Certification attests to the professional credibility of the coatings inspector and raises the standard of inspection in the protective coatings industry.

PCI Level 3 Certification demonstrates mastery in:

  • Recognizing the common duties, responsibilities, and the role of an industrial coatings inspector
  • Recognizing the role of the coating manufacturer on a coatings project
  • Describing the authority of a coatings inspector
  • Explaining the importance of thorough documentation
  • Identifying the differences between quality assurance and quality control and the common duties of quality assurance and quality control personnel
  • Describing the purpose and content of a pre-job or preconstruction conference
  • Explaining the importance of ethics of inspection personnel
  • Describing methods used to evaluate coating performance prior to full-scale installation
  • Describing the unique aspects of performing coatings inspection on an overcoating project, and on projects employing thermal spray coatings, powder coatings and duplex coating systems
  • Describing how coatings inspection can help prevent premature coating failure
  • Listing potential safety hazards associated with coatings inspection
  • Preparing an inspection plan/procedure
  • Performing coatings inspection on industrial projects
  • Comparing inspection results to specification requirements


Exam Format

Students passing the PCI Level 2 Exams at 80% or higher and meeting the prerequisites for PCI Level 3 Certification can take the PCI Level 3 certification exams on Day 7. A passing grade of 80% or higher on the written PCI Level 3 certification exam is required to become an SSPC PCI Level 3 Certified Coating Inspector.

The PCI Level 3 exam consists of four parts.

There will be three envelopes for candidates to choose from, labeled #1, #2 and #3. Candidates will have three hours to complete the exam.

Part 1

Each candidate selects two scenario questions to answer.  The scenario questions are all essay questions.  Each Essay is worth 30 points.

Part 2

The second part of the exam consists of 10 questions on coating theory requiring short written answers.  Each of these questions is worth 1 point.

Part 3

The third part of the exam consists of 10 questions on industry related standard questions requiring short written answers.  Each of these questions is worth 1 point.

Part 4

The forth part of the exam consists of creating an inspection plan based on a coating specification.  This part is worth 20 points.

News Release

SSPC Announces PCI Level 3 Coating Inspector Certification

August 01, 2011

- New level of certification designed to challenge advanced inspection professionals

Pittsburgh, PA - August 1, 2011

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings announced today the release of the next level of its game-changing Protective Coatings Inspector (PCI) program. PCI Level 3.

The PCI inspector certification was first introduced to the coatings industry in 2007.  Since then, it’s been well received by both industry veterans and newcomers as a high-quality and affordable education alternative that effectively teaches both core and advanced concepts of coating inspection. It has also gained the approval of international agencies like ABS (American Bureau of Shipping), Lloyd’s Register, and RINA. One of the keys to the program is its flexibility. 

According to Bob McMurdy, President of SSPC, “When SSPC designed PCI, the goal was to provide a more affordable pathway to certification for independent inspectors and professionals in emerging markets. In our research, we discovered a great thirst for knowledge among groups of highly skilled workers. These groups already had training and experience in coatings and they wanted to be able to put that to work for them in gaining inspector certification. PCI allows them to do that.”

PCI Level 3 raises the bar by providing a new goal for the most experienced inspectors. The new level adds one more day to the PCI program for those candidates who choose the take the exam. Candidates must meet certain prerequisites in order to qualify for the exam and must complete the test within a designated time frame. To achieve Level 3, students must score 80% or better.

“SSPC works hard to provide good programs that people want.” said Bill Shoup, SSPC Executive Director. He added, “If you’re looking to improve your skills and knowledge, you want a return on your training investment. PCI Level 3 will deliver that ROI and prepare inspectors to meet the demands of the toughest specifications and the toughest projects.”

The PCI Level 3 exam will be available starting September 1, 2011.  To schedule an exam, please contact SSPC in the USA at 1.877.281.SSPC or worldwide at +1.412.281.2331. For more information about PCI, please visit www.SSPC.org and click on “Training”.