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Wilkinson Coutts & Matthews Integrity Training

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WILKINSON COUTTS / MATTHEWS INTEGRITY HUB: an up-to-the-minute information mix designed to help you with your lifework and career development in the asset integrity, inspection and NDE industries.

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API certificate examinations

API certification examinations come under the general banner of the API Individual Certificate Programmes (ICP). This is an expanding suite of examinations servicing the inspection/integrity part of the engineering industry.

There are lots of separate API certification exams; see the full list here.  The one of relevance to most Source Inspectors (SIs) is the Source Inspector Fixed Equipment (SIFE) certificate, with its accompanying exam.

The SIFE programme scope

The body of knowledge set by API for the SIFE examination is large, diverse and widespread. It uses codes and published documents from five different organisations;

  • American Petroleum Institute (API)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • American Welding Society (AWS)
  • American Society of Non-destructive Testing (ASNT)
  • Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC)

As you would expect, these documents have different structures, contents and style. There is a fixed package of code documents for the SIFE examination published as the so-called ‘SIFE code effectivity list’ published by API. These represent the ‘Body of Knowledge’ (BoK) for the subject as decided by API

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Registering for the API SIFE exam

This is a completely separate activity to participating in any training course or study programme. It is each candidate’s individual responsibility to pay and register for the API examination for the exam windows scheduled throughout the year. This is done via the websites of API (  and their exam site contractor, Prometric (

SIFE training courses

There is no compulsory training required for candidates who wish to sit for any of the API ICP exams. In theory, to become certified as an API certified inspector, all you have to do is apply to API, meet their acceptance criteria ,book your exam (lasting between 3 and 7 hours depending on which ICP you are attempting) and then pass it. Some candidates can pass like this but, for most, unless you have full familiarity with the relevant codes (up to 1500+ pages’ worth for some ICPs), you are unlikely to pass the exam and will need to prepare for the examination by enrolling on a training course. The training course will teach you about the subject matter covered, test you using mock exams etc. and prepare you to take the relevant API exam

How difficult is the SIFE exam?

API ICP exam questions are compiled using a system of terminology, grammar, construction and logic that, whilst not to everyone’s taste, is consistent in approach. In common with multiple choice examinations worldwide, API questions are compiled to fulfil two main purposes:

  • To test your simple recall of facts, statements and opinions expressed in the code documents
  • To test your skills of analysis and evaluation when faced with closely-spaced answer options, based on a question that contains limited information about the historical context of the equipment or situation.

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The difficulty lies with the high number of SIFE-related documents that are covered.The codes are long documents containing lots of technical information and potentially several thousand exam question opportunities. You cannot therefore expect it to be easy


Check these out on our Hidden secrets of API exam questions article.


If you have any specific questions about the operation of the API SIFE Certificate Programme or its relevance to your situation, just contact us and we will try to help you out.

Matthews Integrity Hub: HEAD OFFICE is OPEN EVERY DAY....0730 - 2200 Monday - Sunday...That's correct, all week, every week, including holidays

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Tel: 07746 771592