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SSPC Position Statement on SSPC/NACE Joint Standard SSPC ACS-1/NACE 13 Regarding Coating Applicator Certification


SSPC has long recognized that the industrial painting industry is in need of a comprehensive craft worker training and certification program designed to create a readily available trained and qualified workforce that will meet ever-increasing facility owner demands for quality work completed safely. The industrial painting trade has become a highly technical profession with the introduction of more sophisticated coatings and the need for qualified craft workers is greater than ever.


Thus in 2008, SSPC and NACE jointly published a standard that spells out the criteria for programs that certify individual industrial painters to the highest standard of craftsmanship. The new SSPC "Industrial Coating and Lining Application Specialist Qualification and Certification Program " (CAS) is based on this standard. It focuses on the needs of the Application Specialist and provides criteria for the education, training, experience, knowledge, and motor skills required to prepare and apply protective coatings to steel and concrete surfaces of complex industrial and marine structures. Facility owners and contractors may also use this program for certification of Application Specialists for other substrates or conditions, as considered appropriate.


Defining the Need

SSPC conservatively estimates that it will take the industry ten years to develop a significant group of trained and qualified industrial painters meeting the standardís criteria and the needs of owners. Therefore, SSPC proposes a two-part approach to the joint standard: full implementation in 8-12 years and partial implementation through an interim program beginning in 2008.


To this end, SSPC has created the "Interim Certification Program, " which allows those in the current workforce the opportunity to realistically achieve certification during the next several years. Craft workers who have fewer hours of formal training and experience than specified in the SSPC/NACE standard can test out for certification. Those craft workers meeting the eligibility requirements for "interim" certification (minimum of 150 hrs of formal training and at least 2,000 hrs of experience) will still be required to pass a rigorous written examination of knowledge and undergo a thorough hands-on skills assessment in industrial painting and blast cleaning to assess competency.


Industry Recognition

With the support of facility owners, SSPC is confident that this program can be used to develop a qualified pool of craft workers. SSPC strongly recommends that facility owners who wish to have certified craft workers on their job sites over the next several years specify:


  1. A certified contractor quality management system,such as SSPC QP 1
  2. A ratio of craft workers to trainees, certified to the SSPC Interim Program

SSPC believes that the Interim Program is the most feasible approach to help develop a highly qualified workforce sooner rather than later. This will improve quality on the job in the here and now by giving contractors access to more qualified workers.


In recent decades, SSPC has developed certification programs to mark the achievement of individual protective coatings specialists ( PCS ) and coating and lining inspectors ( PCI, BCI,CCI ); and a series of certification quality programs to assess the capabilities and quality systems of coating contractors ( QP-1 and QP-2 ), and coatings and lining inspection companies ( QP-5 ). This new SSPC program to certify individual industrial painters will close the "training and certification" loop by marking the achievement and skills of the industrial painter.