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Pipeline FAQ

I am new to Operator Qualification. I need as much information as I can find.

Download the Pipeline Training and Assessment Program Guide (PTAP) for specifics on the development and operation of the OQ Program: PTAP.pdf

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What are covered tasks?

In order to comply with the DOT regulations for operator qualifications, specific duties were defined as covered tasks in which those on or near a pipeline are required to be evaluated and certified.

These areas were defined as covered tasks designed to help operators comply with the DOT rule, which requires that pipeline operators develop a written qualification program to evaluate and document personnel and contractor ability to perform covered tasks and to recognize and respond to abnormal operating conditions that may be encountered while performing covered tasks.
The covered task list represents the consensus position of the pipeline companies involved and is designed as an aid in developing a qualification program. To obtain a copy of the covered task list with corresponding Pipeline Training and Assessment Program (PTAP) materials referenced, click here.

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Which Covered tasks pertain to the particular job I do?

The Operator requiring the OQ has to determine the proper Covered Task that you need to qualify on based on the job you perform. Contact the Operator that you will be working for to determine which Assessment Test, Performance Verification or NCCER Curriculum Module completion you need to qualify.

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What issues do the pipeline skills assessments address?

  • Meet the demands of DOT and pipeline operators regarding pipeline workforce qualifications
  • Identify the knowledge, skill, and overall qualification level of the current pipeline workforce
  • Eliminate duplication of efforts and the burdens it places on pipeline technicians
  • Increase technician credentialing opportunities and workforce professionalism
  • Increase pipeline workforce involvement in training
  • Assist pipeline contractors in maximizing their training dollars
  • Enhance career opportunities and progression for individuals within the pipeline industry
  • Expand workforce development resources to the pipeline workforce
  • Improve the image of the pipeline industry
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What pipeline assessments are available?

  • Gas Maintenance Specialty Technician
  • Gas Pipeline Operator
  • Abnormal Operating Conditions-Field (Liquid and Gas)
  • Field Operations Technician
  • Control Center Operations Technician
  • Pipeline Maintenance Technician
  • Mechanical Pipeline Technician
  • Abnormal Operating Conditions-Control Center
  • Electrical and Instrumentation Pipeline Technician
  • Corrosion Prevention Field Technician 1-Installation
  • Corrosion Prevention Field Technician 1-Measurement
  • Corrosion Prevention Field Technician 2
  • Corrosion Prevention Field Technician 3
  • Nondestructive Testing
  • Custom Pipeline Maintenance Technician
  • Custom Pipeline Maintenance Technician Level One
  • Custom Pipeline Maintenance Technician Level Two
  • Custom Pipeline Maintenance Technician Inspector

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How is pipeline curriculum developed?

Just like all NCCER crafts, the Pipeline Curriculum is developed through the expertise of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from the industry. These SMEs are required to have a minimum of pipeline technician-level or journey-level experience. The use of SMEs ensures that the curriculum is current, industry-driven and indicative of industry practices. You may purchase individual Pipeline Curriculum Training Modules or Level Books from our publisher, Pearson Education, by downloading the online catalog and then ordering through Pearson.

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What areas are covered by the pipeline curriculum?

  • Pipeline Electrical and Instrumentation
  • Pipeline Mechanical
  • Pipeline Maintenance
  • Pipeline Corrosion Control
  • Pipeline Field Operations
  • Pipeline Control Center Operations
  • Gas Pipeline Field Operations

Modules in the Pipeline curriculum, to the extent possible, align with industry-developed covered tasks. Not all modules will relate to covered tasks; however, all covered tasks will relate to at least one module. Note that related covered tasks that require a small amount of instructional material may be incorporated into one module, whereas a covered task that requires a large amount of instructional material may be split into more than one module.

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Where can I go to take Training, Written Assessments or Performance Verifications for OQ?

Go to the “Find a Training or Assessment Center” search tool on the NCCER website and find a local accredited entity. Contact the local Training Sponsor or Assessment Center to determine what services are offered-phone and contact info is supplied there: Find a Center.
Keep in mind that some accredited entities may choose to conduct ONLY in-house training and assessment for their own employees and may not offer services to the general public. Those listed as “in-house” facilities on the NCCER website fall into that category.

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No Accredited entities in my area will provide the Training, Written Assessment or the Performance Verification-What do I do now?

You might try broadening your search for Accredited Training Sponsors and Accredited Assessment Centers to encompass neighboring states or cities (to find possible other locations offering OQ training or assessment).
Alternatively, your company may apply for NCCER accreditation to conduct in-house training and assessment. Download and review the NCCER Accreditation Guidelines for more information on how to become an NCCER Accredited Training Sponsor or Assessment Center.

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How do I get more information on recordkeeping for operators needing OQ information?

Contact ISN Software Corporation customer service to learn about their record keeping system, ISNetworld. Call 214.303.1303 or visit www.ISNetworld.com.

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What is NCCER’s role in the data flow process?

NCCER creates, revises, updates and maintains the curriculum and assessment tools that are used to qualify for Operator Qualification. NCCER also maintains a Pipeline User’s Council to help set future course in regards to the Pipeline Training and Assessment process.
NCCER does not set OQ rules and regulations.
Once a NCCER Curriculum Module completion or an Assessment completion (Written or Performance) is submitted to NCCER (from an Accredited entity), the data is processed into the NCCER National Registry, where it is then sent to ISNetworld for entry into their OQ system. Data is typically sent to ISNetworld within 24-48 hours after it is processed by NCCER.

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Do I have to take the assessment test or complete a training Module every three years to re-qualify for OQ?

NCCER has no such requirement but the Operator requiring the OQ typically will subscribe to a three year requalification. Contact the Operator you are working for to determine their requirements. These may be listed at ISNetworld by the Operator.

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If I take an assessment more than once, which test score counts for OQ?

The Operator requiring the OQ determines the acceptable written assessment criteria for the OQ. NCCER will post the score(s) in the Automated National Registry and issue credentials based on the result(s) but does not favor one test over another.

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On a retake of the written assessment, can I be assessed only on the section(s) of the written assessment that I have not passed previously?

The Written assessments must be taken in their entirety. You cannot take “just the section” that was not passed previously. The only exception to that rule is the computer-based Custom Pipeline Maintenance Technician (PMT) assessment (this can be customized to the particular tasks you do and a unique test may be created that assesses a more focused set of tasks.
Remember that you may also qualify on individual Covered Tasks by completing the specific Module of the NCCER Curriculum (that applies to the particular Covered Task that you need) if the Operator allows Training Module completions as an acceptable criteria for OQ. The criteria for qualification may be listed at ISNetworld by the Operator.

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What is the cost?

Each Accredited Assessment Center or Training Sponsor sets their own pricing structure for their services. Contact the Local Accredited entity to find out cost information.

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Who is ISN and how are they different from the ANR?
ISNetworld is an online contractor/supplier management database. Owner Clients evaluate their contractor/supplier’s information to meet internal and governmental requirements. ISNetworld Review and Verification Services (RAVS) validates this information. Additionally, Contractor/Suppliers use the system to manage training and record keeping requirements. ISN also hosts NCCER’s Automated National Registry (ANR) which is a database used exclusively by NCCER that houses the training, assessment, performance verification and certification completions for NCCER-certified trainees and instructors.

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I took this assessment test, and I can see it in the ANR, but it's not showing up in ISNetworld. Why not?
Typically, it takes 24-48 hours for any information to transfer over to ISNetworld once it is entered into the NCCER Registry. If you took an assessment, NCCER sends the information to ISN within 24-48 hours of the information being entered into the NCCER Registry. If the record shows in the ANR but not in ISNetworld after 48 hours, it could be that you or your company needs to set up your account with ISNetworld so that the information is received and appears correct. Contact ISNetworld to find out how your account is set up and what may need to be done to show the record.
If the record does not show in the ANR nor ISNetworld, you will need to contact the accredited entity that conducted the testing/training to ensure that it was submitted to NCCER properly (correct Name, Social Security number, etc).

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