News

Birmingham Coating Application Specialist Testing Center Receives Grant

Bessemer, AL -- July 15, 2011 -- The Finishing Trades Institute of IUPAT District Council 77 (southeastern states) has been awarded a $13,162.25 grant for its Coating Application Specialist testing center. The grant money from the national Finishing Trades Institute (FTI) board will be used to buy equipment, an Online Application Management System, and an e-Instruction Classroom Management System. The FTI will begin testing and certifying applicants for the Coating Application Specialist (CAS) designation in the Birmingham area this fall.

The first facility in the Southeast for CAS testing, or proctoring, is located at Vulcan Painters' Minor AL coating facility. The FTI has already taught CAS review classes at the facility, one in June and one in August. The facility will soon be administering the Level II written and practical tests.

Launched in 2008, the CAS program was designed to address a long-recognized need for a comprehensive craft worker training and certification program that would allow development of a fully qualified workforce.

With advances in the technology of coatings and new paint formulations, industrial painting has become increasingly technical, and the need for qualified craft workers widespread. CAS testing covers the knowledge and skills that are the established industry standard.

Testing includes questions on environmental, safety and health topics related to painting; as well as process control, materials, surface preparation, coating application and equipment/troubleshooting.

The three certification levels of the CAS program are designed to indicate to employers the level of employee skill, starting with those who have completed a skills assessment program and successfully completed an SSPC administered written examination on good painting practices (Level 1).

Painters who successfully complete Level 2 testing have detailed knowledge and skills in the application of industrial coatings and linings, and have successfully completed the written Level 2 test and the hands-on certification exams for both coating application and abrasive blast cleaning. Painters at this level have the equivalent of 150 hours of classroom instruction and 2,000 hours experience; or 3,000 hours of experience alone.

Those who achieve Level 3 will have all the skills of Level 2 plus basic supervisory knowledge and skills; basic training knowledge and skills, and basic communication knowledge and skills. In addition they will have had 1,000 additional hours of experience after achieving Level 2 or 1,500 hours of experience in inspection, supervision or project management.

The need nationally for trained industrial painters led to a collaborative effort by the Society for Protective Coating (SSPC) and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) to set an industry standard for the knowledge painters must have to successfully prepare and apply protective coatings to steel and concrete surfaces of complex industrial structures. The FTI, working closely with SSPC, created a comprehensive training program designed to meet the qualifications set forth in the national standard.