The process of coating is not one that most people think much about. Yet, having equipment or surfaces properly coated is vital to protecting their function. It is also often important to the safety of their operators or inhabitants. Proper protective coating protects structures and equipment from weather, heat, fire, or chemical damage. Because it is necessary to maintain proper levels of coating in certain applications, companies may either directly employ a coatings inspector or contract with a company who employs them.
Coatings inspectors perform detailed quality checks on surfaces to ensure that their level of protective coating is adequate according to specifications and regulations. If they are not, they will analyze the problems so that they may recommend solutions to fix the issue. There are countless applications for protective coatings, from small pieces of equipment to bridges and building structures. Many companies specialize in inspecting specific surfaces. Coatings inspectors often work as a team, supervised by senior-level coatings inspectors.
There are many different environments in which coatings inspectors may be expected to operate, some of them dangerous. Coatings inspectors should be very safety-conscious people who are physically fit and comfortable working in difficult environments. The work is almost exclusively performed in the field, so extensive travel may be required. The coatings inspector should be a strong communicator and able to coordinate a team.
Employers typically seek applicants with a high school diploma, as well as NACE (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) certification. Experience with coatings and anti-corrosives are strongly preferred, especially for supervisory roles.