The National Center for Construction Education and Research boilermaker test is an optional certification that boilermakers can take. The exam takes approximately two hours and tests knowledge of safety, piping systems, valve installation, rigging and metal cutting and preparation. A score of at least 74 percent is required to pass.
Although those who pass the NCCER boilermaker test are rewarded by having their names added to the national registry, it does not make an individual a boilermaker, nor does it mean that those who do not pass it have not satisfactorily completed their apprenticeship programs. The test is more a measure of how well boilermakers have maintained their training and education since graduating from their apprenticeship programs.
Prospective boilermakers must complete a four-level program that is a combination of four years of classroom training and 8,000 apprenticeship hours. In order to enter an apprenticeship program, candidates must have a high school diploma. High technical aptitude as well as the ability to work in a condensed space also contribute to success. Boilermakers construct and repair large containers that contain gas or liquid, such as the reactors at a nuclear power plant. Since welding is a primary aspect of the job, many boilermaker apprenticeships begin with candidates obtaining a welding certificate.