The National Inspector Certification Program, instituted in 2000 by the IOGCC, establishes national standards for state regulatory agencies to certify personnel responsible for inspecting oil and gas wells.  As of 2018 twelve states have been involved with the National Inspector Certification and over 200 inspectors have become certified. Recently two states, North Dakota and Virginia, completed the new online certification program.

Due to inherent differences in geology, site characteristics, weather, operations, organizational structure, and stage of development of each state, the certification program includes mandatory criteria applicable to all states, with an option for testing on state specific standards.

The National Oil and Gas Inspector Certification Program establishes a nationwide level of expertise, creates a uniform knowledge base, and sets the standard for state oil and gas field inspectors and technicians.  The guidelines and structures set forth by the certification process are consistent from state to state, however, each administered test acknowledges state specific regulations.  The program structure serves as a platform for which individual states build upon, encouraging the continued administration of training programs and sub-certifications.  Ultimately, the implementation of the program illustrates state recognition of the importance of the regulatory process and its practice in the oil and gas industry.   

Online Curriculum

The program requires that applicants have a strong knowledge base and relevant experience as a regulator prior to applying for certification. Applicants must meet one of the following four criteria to submit an application for certification:

  • Four year college degree, plus minimum of eighteen months of oil and gas experience

  • Two year college degree, plus five years of oil and gas experience

  • Ten years of oil and gas experience

  • Five years of regulatory experience, plus five years of oil and gas experience

  • Supplemental education or training may be substituted for formal education and experience at the discretion of the state oil and gas director


The exam, which is now available online, is comprised of 16 individual sections including the life cycle of oil and gas exploration and production facilities. By design, the exam seeks to evaluate candidate’s comprehension of general oil field operations and vocabulary, as well as more technical knowledge of emerging technologies and traditional oil field practices.

Inspector Certification Exam Sections

  1. Oilfield Terminology                                                                                      

  2. Topographic Map                                                                                                            

  3. Seismic Activity                                                                                

  4. Site and Pit Selection                                                                                     

  5. Drilling Procedures

  6. Well Control                                                                                      

  7. Cementing Procedures                                                                                

  8. Well Completion Procedures                                                                     

  9. Horizontal/Directional Drilling                                                    

  10. Production                                                                                                                         

  11. Underground Injection                                                                                

  12. Hydrogen Sulfide                                                                                                            

  13. Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials                            

  14. Pollution Prevention                                                                                     

  15. Well Plugging Procedures and Required Performance Objectives

  16. Communication and Mediation

Online Program Benefits
  • Establishes a nationwide level of expertise among state oil and gas field inspectors and technicians

  • Illustrates state recognition of the importance of the regulatory process

  • Sets guidelines and structures that are consistent state-to-state

  • Provides the opportunity to teat on state specific regulations

  • Creates a consistent knowledge base for all state oil and gas regulators and field technicians that sets the standard among state regulatory agencies

  • Provides a base for states to build upon, encouraging them to initiate training programs and sub-certifications

  • The ability to access the exam online at any location at any time requested by the proper authority, allowing participants to spend less time away from day to day duties

  • The online program has the capability to generate reports that can address areas of need as well as success

Questions? Contact Amy Childers.