Certification Best Practices

Certification best practices

NACE International Institute (NII) certification card holders are a part of a network of trusted certified professionals that strive to protect people, assets, and the environment from the adverse effects of corrosion.

Obtaining certification from NIII demonstrates that the certification holder is qualified and dedicated to getting the job done correctly the first time. The recertification process also proves that the skills of certification holders are up-to-date.

To ensure that NII certification holders are well qualified to perform their daily jobs in line with current industry expectations and that its programs remain the most respected in the industry, NII continually takes steps to ensure that its programs are of the utmost quality.

In recent years, various changes have been made to NII’s programs that align them with the certification industry’s standards and best practices, raising the standards of certification within the entire corrosion and protective coatings industries.

What sets NACE certifications apart from other certifications

1. We use active, certified field practitioners throughout the exam development process. Volunteers from all over the world, with varying years of field experience, and from across multiple industries help validate testing criteria within a defined job scope. Their experiences help guide the development of exams as they draw on first-hand knowledge to:

  • write exam questions
  • validate test questions
  • translate exams and supporting materials
  • select question types
  • insure the reading level of the questions match the audience
  • insure the exam meets the needs of multiple industries
  • insure the exam measures what is required of the job

The engagement of a wide range of individuals currently working in the field who contribute to and write the exams validates that the testing criteria covers the defined scope of the job.


2. We are in the process of moving our pen-and-paper exam format to one that is computer-based.

Computer-based testing, or CBT, offers the following benefits:

  • Certification exams will be available globally at more than 6,000 testing centers, making it easier to find a testing location.
  • Those taking the exams will experience a similar testing experience regardless of where they take the exam; similar security rules and regulations will apply at all testing locations.
  • Students will receive results immediately as well as a score report detailing areas of strengths and weaknesses.
  • NII staff will be provided with in-depth data for statistical analysis, which will help in monitoring the exam performance, accuracy, and fairness.

3. We have implemented an exam development process that aligns with industry standards. This includes conducting a formal job task analysis that defines the knowledge skills and abilities required to perform a specific job role.

Why was this change needed in NII’s exam development process?

  • Traditionally, instructors wrote exams based on related NACE education courses. This method was very effective for an end of course exam that ensured individuals understood the course material. However, for validation of an individual’s ability to perform high-quality work in the field, the exam needed to reflect what is required of the field work.
  • Exams need to validate that individuals understand theory and have the real-life skills needed to apply the knowledge in the field. NII’s standardized development model now ensures the certification exams are based on knowledge from multiple sources — including professionals with years of theoretical knowledge and on-the-job knowledge.

4. We are accrediting our certifications to ISO 17024. This standard affirms that NII programs reflect certification best practices and are recognized by a governing body. With NII measuring adherence to corrosion industry standards, we are holding ourselves accountable to recognized standards.


5. We take ethics extremely seriously. Our goal is simple: To hold the integrity of NII certifications and its card holders to the highest standards. In addition to signing a non-disclosure agreement, those seeking certification must acknowledge the rules of their certification and its ethics with an attestation form.

We continually educate our members and certification holders on how to avoid ethics violations, from cheating on an exam to misrepresenting their level of certification. Keeping NIII certification card holders honest and transparent is imperative for public and industry safety.

In the unfortunate event of an ethics violation, we use independent committees, separate from the board of directors, to investigate any complaints received. Consequences of ethics violations can range from loss of job, damage to personal reputation, loss of certification, or banishment from receiving future NII certifications.

Our ethics standards are core to our program. We acknowledge the effort certified professionals have applied to achieve NII certification — and the damage done to your reputation and NII’s if these standards are not met.


All steps taken in NII’s certification program are a result of our desire to strengthen and bring even greater respect to the industry by ensuring those certified are the very best in their field while protecting the individual’s investment in their future.

With a stronger work force, contractors are more respected and successful, and asset owners are better protected from corrosion. This also provides the public with better protection from the harmful effects of corrosion.