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Cathodic Protection Technician - Level One

Duties

Cathodic protection is a technique used to control corrosion of metal surfaces in structures that are in contact with soil or water, including buildings, pipelines and bridges. Cathodic protection technicians work on a variety of projects, installing, commissioning, monitoring, evaluating, maintaining, repairing and decommissioning cathodic protection systems. In 2013 Alberta was the first jurisdiction in Canada to designate cathodic protection technician as a designated occupation.

There are two types of cathodic protection systems - galvanic and impressed current. Structures protected by cathodic protection systems include steel water lines, oil and gas pipelines, well casings, underground storage tanks and metal reinforcement bars in concrete buildings and bridges.

There are two levels of industry-defined competencies for cathodic protection technicians.  Industry training for cathodic protection technicians is available through NACE International www.nace.org and Enform www.enform.ca. Completion of the necessary industry-approved training will enhance the quality and safety of work performed on cathodic protection systems.

To work in the occupation of cathodic protection technician, certification is voluntary.  To perform certain electrical tasks relative to the installed rectifier component of an impressed current cathodic protection system, technicians must be certified as a cathodic protection technician at either level one or level two. Refer to both the Cathodic Protection Technician Occupation Regulation (AR 17/2013) and the Cathodic Protection Technician Exception Regulation (AR 16/2013) at www.qp.alberta.ca/ for details regarding when certification is required. A certified electrician can perform all of the tasks of a certified cathodic protection technician. 

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Occupation Regulation

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Working Conditions

Cathodic protection technicians work year-round in all weather conditions. Working with electrical components can be dangerous and requires mandatory safe work practices and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect workers from potential work-related hazards. Workers should have manual dexterity and the ability to lift 25 kilograms. A Class 5 driver’s license is required as many cathodic protection systems are located in remote rural locations. Other industry requirements, such as operating an all-terrain vehicle, may be necessary. Technicians normally work a 40-hour week with overtime required to meet project deadlines.

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Skills and Abilities

A cathodic protection technician - level one must:

  • prepare for planned cathodic protection projects,
  • perform lock out and tag out procedures,
  • operate and use testing equipment,
  • perform  trouble shooting on cathodic protection systems,
  • conduct function tests,
  • gather data, prepare records and reports,
  • install, maintain and repair components of a cathodic protection system, and
  • troubleshoot and replace components on a rectifier that is NOT installed*.

*NOTE: Only a certified cathodic protection technician or an electrician may replace electrical components on a rectifier that is installed or may install a rectifier.

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Employment and Advancement 

Cathodic protection technicians are employed in various industry sectors, including utilities, oil and gas, municipalities, construction and service providers. Individuals can also pursue further training into other corrosion control technology areas through NACE International. 

There are career paths from the occupation into system design, senior project management, self-employment and executive management, all within the corrosion control/asset protection field. 

Cathodic protection technicians who hold an occupational certification from Alberta and require further supervisory and management competencies may apply for the Blue Seal business credential after completing all requirements.

There are approximately 350 cathodic protection technicians working full time in Alberta. With growth for new infrastructure, buildings and oil and gas facilities predicted, it is anticipated that the demand for certified cathodic protection technicians will increase. 

Although salaries vary, cathodic protection technicians - level one can earn an average of $25 - $40 per hour, plus benefits and $35 - $55 per hour for level two, plus benefits.

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Working in Alberta 

Employers generally prefer applicants who have achieved the cathodic protection technician occupational certificate or are willing to obtain the industry skill competencies through training.

Occupation skills, competencies and industry standards have been defined and approved under the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act.

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Occupational Certification - Based on a Recognized Credential 

To qualify for an Alberta Occupational Certificate based on a recognized credential as a cathodic protection technician – level one a person must:

  • find a suitable employer
    • Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates.
  • review Designated Occupations Applications-What You Should Know,
  • complete the online Occupational Certificate – Credentials Application and submit it, 
    and the NACE CP-1 Tester Certificate or the following equivalencies: 
    • NACE CP-2 Technician, 
    • NACE CP-3 Technologist, 
    • NACE CP-4 Specialist or
    •  a combination of the (old) NACE Basic Corrosion Course, the (old) NACE Corrosion Prevention in Oil & Gas Course and the (old) NACE Cathodic Protection: Theory and Data Intepretation Courses AND
    • the Enform Cathodic Protection Rectifier Training Course or equivalent 
  • complete 1,000 hours of hands-on work experience and 12 months,
  • pay the non-refundable application fee,
  • review the Cathodic Protection Technician Fact Sheet,
  • complete the required work experience and formal training (see Competency Profile), and
  • successfully complete the required exam (see Exam Counselling Sheet).

Training for each level of competency in the occupation includes industry-approved formal training combined with 1,000 hours of hands on work experience over a period of not less than 12 months.

Recognized formal training for cathodic protection technician is available from NACE International and Enform.

Additional information on the training locations, scheduling and courses can be found at the following websites:  NACE International www.nace.org and Enform www.enform.ca

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.

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Occupational Certification - Based on Work Experience 

To qualify for an Alberta Occupational Certificate based on proof of skills and work experience that meet Alberta standards for the occupation, a person must: