Be a Tank Inspector: Education Requirements and Career Information

Oct 20, 2021

Tank inspectors are responsible for ensuring the safety and quality of storage for hazardous materials. Learn about the education, training, and certification necessary to prepare for this career.

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Should I Become A Tank Inspector?

Tank inspectors are responsible for maintaining the safe storage of hazardous materials such as petroleum and other chemicals. He or she must understand the principles of engineering, as well as EPA regulations. Since most inspections are done periodically, tank inspectors are usually required to travel extensively.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's degree or bachelor's degree
Degree Field Materials, systems, or industrial engineering
Key Skills Inspecting tanks with hazardous materials and knowledge of dangerous substances
Salary (2020) $49,461 per year (for quality control inspector)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Step 1: Get an Associate's or Bachelor's Degree

Applied science programs stress learning in the classroom and in laboratory or field settings. A core curriculum of algebra, trigonometry, calculus, chemistry fundamentals and physics is advanced with courses in mechanical systems, computer applications, engineering safety, materials and processes, and tolerance systems. Graduates can move on to industrial positions or may also continue to study for a bachelor's degree.

Bachelor's degree programs in materials, systems, or industrial engineering can often be directed toward a specific goal, based on elective choices. Courses as such in rigid body dynamics, transportation planning and design, conservation principles, biomaterials, or failure analysis could be advantageous for a student looking for a career as a tank inspector.

Step 2: Obtain Experience in the Field

While a degree is not required to qualify for a position as a tank inspector, those without formal education must have more work experience. According to the American Petroleum Institute (API), applicants must have some supervisory, design, or repair experience with above-ground tanks before taking the certification exam for tank inspectors.

Step 3: Obtain Certification

After getting work experience, most employers prefer tank inspector applicants who are certified. Prospective inspectors can take several API exams, including those for tank design, welding and metallurgy, atmospheric issues, vessel tanks, and low-pressure tanks. These exams also test the applicant's knowledge of corrosion, tank dismantling, and tank reconstruction.

Becoming a tank inspector can be accomplished by acquiring a bachelor's degree, work experience, and certification.

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