Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspector: Career Requirements and Info

Boiler and pressure vessel inspectors require no formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification options to see if this is the right career for you.

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Boiler and pressure vessel inspectors work in the field inspecting pressurized systems. A high school diploma is usually the only educational requirement. The job growth outlook for these positions is about average.

Essential Information

Boiler and pressure vessel inspectors ensure that vessels containing pressurized gases and liquids meet state safety regulations. Though it is possible to work as an inspector without formal education, this position often requires specialized technical training and knowledge, as well as professional certification.

Required Education High school diploma or GED; bachelor's degrees in engineering are available
Other Requirements Certification through the American Society of Mechanical Engineers or the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Inspectors required by some employers
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% for all construction and building inspectors*
Median Salary (2015) $57,340 for all construction and building inspectors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

An aspiring boiler and pressure vessel inspector must first earn a high school diploma or GED. While a college degree is not essential for entry-level jobs or certification, some higher-level jobs might require a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field. Inspectors should be able to oversee complex mathematical and engineering formulas to ensure that equipment, combustion operations and emissions output meet health and safety regulations. Coursework that focuses on mathematics, science and engineering skills is useful.

Certification Requirements

Some employers may require candidates to be certified. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers administers a national certification exam for boiler operators that covers safety codes, air pollution control and emissions laws (www.asme.org). The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Inspectors (NBBPI) also awards the title of commissioned inspector to those who pass a national exam and commit to continuing education (www.nationalboard.org).

Both credentials require candidates to have a blend of education and hands-on experience before sitting for the exam. For example, to become an NBBPI commissioned inspector, applicants must possess some combination of technical inspection training, relevant college-level coursework or a year of experience in manufacturing, engineering, inspection or other work with boilers.

Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspector Career Information

Inspectors may spend most of their days traveling to inspection sites. While they generally work alone, inspectors often explain what corrections or adjustments are needed to meet code standards. Much of their time is also spent in writing and filing reports, taking photographs and reviewing past reports to guarantee that former violations have been remedied. In certain circumstances such as an accident, inspectors may be called in at night or on weekends to assess damage catalysts or offer assistance.

Boiler and pressure vessel inspectors are included in the category of building and construction inspectors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected that job prospects for such inspectors would rise by 8% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS also reported that these professionals earned a median salary of $57,340 per year as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).

Boiler and pressure vessel inspectors usually require only a high school diploma. Bachelor's degree programs are available for those seeking advancement. Certification is available and may be required by some employers.

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