I highly recommend Flir training verses any others that are out there. I found the Flir instructors to be very knowledgeable in what they do and the courses are very informative. They are the global leaders in infrared training.
Many of you who’ve read my posts here or on other websites know I have always strongly supported certification based on professional standards. That is one of the reasons Snell Infrared has never offered our own “certification” as have FLIR/ITC, Infraspection and several others.
I recommend you take the simple steps of setting up a program that complies with the standards of the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT). These standards, used for twelve test methods including infrared, have been used to qualify literally tens of thousands of people in various industries.
The premise is that you are qualified by appropriate training and experience and after proving the same with an exam. The exact specifics of each can vary but there are clear guidelines for all three components which are detailed in the publication ASNT SNT-TC-1A. In the end it is the employer, rather than ASNT or the training company, that issue the certification. While my signature lists that I have an ASNT Level III Certificate, please note that I do not say I am “ASNT Certified.”
We helped establish ASNT-compliant certification programs from many companies, from Dupont and GM, to one-person shops like many HIs have. In all cases the paper trail documenting training, experience, testing and written inspection procedures is critical to compliance. In much of the rest of the world, under the standards of the International Standards Organization (ISO), the same three legs support certification but the actual certificate is provided by a government approved agency.
Clearly there is a great deal of confusion in the industry and in the public mind about what “certification” actually means. “Certification” bestowed by training companies really has become a marketing device, on their part and on that of the person certified. I’ve openly and honestly made my case with the trainers at both FLIR/ITC and Infraspection for years. In the end I don’t believe that certification offered in that manner has much value for actually qualifying people to do a job. Yes, they are better of than those without any training, but why not take the next few simple steps to comply with industry standards. Honestly, I have concerns that these training company provided certifications will not stand up in court at some point and that will come back on all of us.
Our company, by the way, while listed on the Fluke website as a trainer partner, also has similar arrangements with Electrophysics, Testo, Mikron, Palmer-Wahl, and others. While we have no official status with FLIR, we certainly have a cooperative relationship and MANY of our customers own and use FLIR products. We are, and have always been, neutral with regard to endorsing a product.
We recommend people take the time to set up a formal certification program that complies, as fully as possible, with TC-1A. To facilitate that we provide as part of our Level I course a sample Written Practice, an ASTM standard, and training and 3-part testing that meet ASNT educational guidelines. When students add documented experience, they have a fully compliant program and can be certified by their employer.
I hope this post sheds some light on this important topic. When you look at it as a bigger issue, I think it is obvious that we can’t just toss around the term “certification” without clearly defining it and, hopefully, having some uniform meaning. Imagine just anyone being able to do a “home inspection” in whatever way they wanted to! I know many of you fight that battle regularly.
If anyone is interested in reading more on certification for thermographers, my associate Rob Spring and I authored a paper that we presented at Thermosense last year which I’d be happy to share. Just drop me an email and I can send you a copy. I’m also happy to do my best to answer any questions you may have.
ASNT NDT Thermal/Infrared Level III #48166
This is PRECISELY the rhetoric which pushed Inspectors away from the ability to take water samples to a state-certified lab here in the county in which I live. More perturbing, is a similar law which is floatng around the state legislature.
The lynch pin is a provision calling for “certified samplers of the laboratory”. This leaves the individual certification process up to a firm with a vested interest in pumping out someone who has met some arbitrary line drawn in the sand.
These labs only “certify” employees, which means that others who clearly meet or exceed any standard imposed are automatically disqualified.
I am FOR certification based on outside firms, but AGAINST certification by employers. The process is too easily twisted and manipulated as a means to an end.
Its funny, because the word “certified” is clearly a marketing tool. That’s why it was invented. But to suggest that an employer can “certify” an individual is the ULTIMATE in marketeering.
And since an employer can pick and choose what he/she wants to teach and (maybe) test for, the voluntary “standards” organizations need not be paid attention to. Employers are not obligated to do any more than they please.
I applaud those who seek independent certification. Display those certs proudly.
One of my old employers certified me for work with High Explosives. He did a good job. Out of a class of 30 we only lost one arm. He failed the class. not mine. US Army :mrgreen:
(Jim Seffrin, Director of Infrared Training)
[FONT=Arial]Dear Mr. Bowers:
Certification is one of the most frequently cited qualifications for professional thermographers. Due to misuse and abuse by many, it is frequently misunderstood. Although I cannot explain certification requirements of other companies, I can explain Infraspection Institute’s policies and procedures on this important topic.
Infraspection Institute was founded in 1980 – the relative dark ages of thermography as we know it today. Recognizing the lack of training for this new technology, Infraspection developed the world’s first comprehensive training course for thermographers. As part of that program, we developed and subsequently trademarked the title, Infraspection Institute Certified Infrared Thermographer® and the accompanying seal which appears below.
Although Infraspection Institute was the first to use the term ‘certified thermographer’ it is truly flattering to see that nearly everyone that offers infrared training today utilizes the same term or a very close derivation thereof. It should be noted that only Infraspection graduates are permitted to use the aforementioned title or our patented mark.
Infraspection Institute currently has three levels of certification – Level I, Level II, and Level III. Each level of certification may be achieved by completing the course of the same name and passing a written exam. Certification course fees normally include the cost of the exam. Course content for each level meets the training requirements for the certification of NDT personnel in the Thermal/Infrared Method as set forth in the American Society for Nondestructive Testing document, SNT-TC-1A. Several of our courses are also approved by NACHI and meet the training requirements for their Infrared Certified™ designation.
Course curricula for all Infraspection courses have been designed to reflect best practices within the infrared industry and are germane to all brands of thermal imagers regardless of age. All courses are updated periodically to keep pace with our rapidly evolving industry. Infraspection’s Level I, II, and III training courses are held regularly at Burlington County College in Mount Laurel, NJ. Our Level I and Level II courses are also available via our web-based Distance Learning program along with applications courses such as Infrared Inspections for Home and Building Inspectors.
Once a person earns their Infraspection certification, it is good for life. Like any college or university, Infraspection does not charge renewal or recertification fees in order to maintain a valid certification with us. Instead, we encourage our graduates to continue their education beyond minimal training and keeping up-to-date by attending our annual advanced training conference and technology exposition, IR/INFO](http://www.infraspection.com/IRINFO_orlando/index.html).
Our next IR/INFO conference is scheduled for January 18-21, 2009 in Orlando, FL and we would welcome all NACHI members to join us. Home and building inspectors will find several papers and short courses of interest. In fact, NACHI member Kevin Richardson of Richardson Home Inspections](http://www.richinspect.com/) will be presenting a paper titled, *Infrared Thermography and the Home Inspector. *
Although Infraspection training is an important step in becoming a competent thermographer, we recommend that all of our graduates combine the special knowledge gained through us with their previous experience and job skills. It is this combination of training and field experience that makes one qualified.
Because Infraspection Institute Certified Infrared Thermographer® training courses meet the requirements of SNT-TC-1A, they may be used to establish an employer-based certification program. This same document has been used for many years in other disciplines of NDT and works quite well in the hands of a conscientious employer. Best of all, SNT-TC-1A allows employers the flexibility to set certification and qualification requirements that meet the needs of its employees and its customers.
Although SNT-TC-1A is quite brief, it is frequently misquoted by unscrupulous trainers and thermographers who have not taken the time to read it and understand its contents. Should you have an interest in this document, I would suggest you visit ASNT](http://www.asnt.org/) online](http://www.asnt.org/) and purchase a copy. Since I am a coauthor of the requirements for Thermal/Infrared Methods, I would welcome you to call me if you have any questions.
Lastly, when used properly, thermographer certification can be used to document one’s formal training and should form a part of their professional qualifications. In addition to having nearly 25 years experience as a professional thermographer and instructor, I am also qualified as an expert witness on the subject of infrared imaging. From legal cases I have worked on, I can assure you that Infraspection Institute certification is a valid and acceptable credential in the eyes of courts at the local, federal, and international levels.
Please feel free to call me should you have further questions. Should you have questions regarding thermographer training or certification, I would invite you to visit Infraspection Institute’s FAQ page](http://www.infraspection.com/FAQ.html).
Very truly yours.
Jim Seffrin, Director
(Jim Seffrin, Director of Infrared Training)
Where I come from, if one has nothing nice to say, one says nothing at all. I have known you for 24 years John and your rhetoric is, if nothing else, consistently boring.
For the last 8 years it has been Infraspection Institute’s policy to to avoid responding to message board posts; however, your attempt to paint yourself in a positive light at the expense of others is way over the line. Your implications that Infraspection Institute training and certification are not in compliance with industry standards is simply not true.
As a point of information, I have heard you ‘make your case’ in the past and have found it to be non-persuasive as do thousands of others who choose not to follow your advice. I would offer that everyone has choices. Choosing to follow a path different than yours does not make a person wrong nor does it necessarily place them in harm’s way.
As for your ’ . . . concerns that these training company provided certifications will not stand up in court at some point and that will come back on all of us.’, rest easy that Infraspection Institute certification has been accepted for years as a valid professional qualification in courts at the state, federal, and international levels.
I would suggest that in the future you limit your posts to comments about your own company. We at Infraspection Institute are quite capable of handling questions about our policies and courses accurately and directly.
While I certainly believe our training is better—based on many factors including our trainers, our materials, the organization we have—these are MY subjective evaluations. We simply present ourselves in the market and expect customers will choose based on what they know.
With regard to certification my point is simple: certification based on professional standards such as ASNT SNT-TC-1A works because it addresses the three “legs” of qualification, training, experience and testing. IMHO this is not addressed in the certification issued by either FLIR/ITC or Infraspection and so they are not in full compliance. I know people who have these certifications have many times been in court with great success; I would suggest that has probably happened because of their general expertise rather than their certification specifically.
As Jim rightly suggests, and if I implied this was not true I apologize to all here, Infraspection training, like that of FLIR/ITC and Snell, can be used to fulfill the educational requirements of an employer-based certification program that complies with ASNT standards.
My intent here is NOT to appear mightier than all, to disparage anyones’ characters, or to say you should not make a free choice in the training market. Rather I’m simply trying to present what I see as a fundamental misconception. If I am not persuasive, so be it. In the end the market will decide whether certification is important, what it means and which versions are accepted but in the meanwhile it gets mighty confusing.
Thanks all for a challenging and, I think, useful discussion.
I believe that you are not being honest with yourself or NACHI members. Based on your previous posts, your underlying intent IS to appear “mightier than all.”
I simply have no respect for someone that puts down others to build themselves up. You certainly have every right to say that your training is the best, but you always seem to cross the line when you basically say that everyone else is totally wrong and you and your company are the only ones doing it right.
NACHI members are loyal, intelligent, proud, and VERY well trained Inspectors. We have some of the best inspectors in the world among our ranks! Please do not come here as a “non-member” an insult our intelligence.
Like many other NACHI Inspectors, I have literally invested Thousands of dollars in my “Certifications” and education/training. I don’t need to be told by you that somehow that was all in vein.
I dont know who has a better training class for sure. I have only gone to the one from Flir/ITC But after seven years of using an IR camera there is only one company that that has asked if i was certified. It was Not the judge and it was not a customer. I have a certification on the wall and a card in my wallet but the only person that says i am not certified is Flir/ITC and they are the one that sold me the camera, took my money, gave me the schooling, gave me the test, and issued the certificate and card But they have no record of the training. Go figure. Point is if you go to court and you are wrong. Certified or not you are going to loose.
If all of the IR schools want to give me a free IR class I will let you know which one is better. :D:D:D
Page 1 of Chapter 2 in the ITC training manual discusses thermographer certification as ITC views it in the world. This is what I posted initially.
I hardly believe that the world’s largest commercial infrared manufacturer is going to set up something that is not going to stand the test of court!
This is totally ludicrous.
There is an army aviation division that flies over my house on a daily basis with Flir equipment hanging all over it.
Every white camera hanging underneath the traffic helicopters in your local cities was built by Flir.
Our borders are protected exclusively with equipment. Our police departments, our fire departments, our wildlife officers, all use Filr equipment!
During my inspection yesterday the investor who is selling the house saw my Flir case sitting on the front porch and immediately recognized what it was from his past military experience.
My Ferrier immediately recognized my Flir because of his multiple tours of duty in Iraq utilizing Flir target acquisition equipment.
When the whole world around me recognizes Flir, I hardly suspect they will not be recognized in a court of law.
Seeing as you did not provide documented proof when questioned by David Valley & Kevin Richardson, I can only assume that there is none, and its solely your own humble opinion and you are simply a legend in your own mind!
You provide some good information on this site, but I think you’ve gone a little bit overboard here.
Just because you have copyright on a few words on an insignia doesn’t make you the world’s expert! Nick has a bucket full of those words. It doesn’t mean a NACHI home inspector is certified and nobody else is worth squat!