SPED suggests reading the following document prior to proceeding with PPD Certification:
Recommended Practice for Assessing Piping Designer Baseline Skills and Competencies [PDF]
ABOUT PROFESSIONAL PIPING DESIGNER (PPD) CERTIFICATION
PPD Certification is designed to meet the specific requirements of the Process Piping Industry. That is why SPED is promoting certification for all pipers.To that end, SPED has developed online courses, challenging proctored exams, and programs like the Professional Piping Designer (PPD) 100% Club to help pipers achieve excellence and document their skills with PPD Certification. The four levels of PPD Certification indicate each piper's level of competence. SPED Membership is required in order to become PPD Certified and each year's SPED Membership renewal fee is included in that year's PPD Certification renewal price.
SPED REQUIREMENTS FOR PPD CERTIFICATION:
To apply for a PPD Level Certification, you must first pass the exam for the previous level.
For example: to apply for Level III Certification, you must take and pass both Level II and Level III exams.
Price: $300, there is no additional cost for the second exam. If you are taking an exam as a corporate member, the price is $250.
You may take both exams on the same day or on separate days. Be advised that each exam's duration can be up to 3 hours and must be proctored at a local library, college or workplace.
Note that if an applicant fails to pass their final exam they must wait for a period of six months before they can take the exam again. There will be no additional charge if the retake is done within six months. However, if the retake is requested after one year the applicant will be charged a retake fee of $75.00.
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EXPLANATION OF REQUIREMENTS FOR PPD CERTIFICATION
Level I – Basic PPD
The Candidate will demonstrate by test or by degree or certificate awarded the following skills:
1. The candidate will use generally accepted practices to route, support and assure pipe stays within an existing layout of process equipment arrangement.
2. The candidate identifies basic process equipment, pipe, valves, and fittings from either photographs, drawings or generally accepted 2D and 3D symbols and identifies their nozzles and other points of connection and attachment.
3. The candidate can trace out, sketch and correctly identify process lines on the Process Engineer’s P&ID and on a corresponding 2D or 3D representation (Piping Isometrics, Plans, Sections, Renderings) and verify their correctness.
4. The candidate identifies and lists the proper materials for a given piping specification.
5. The candidate identifies situations requiring the application of publicly available piping design standards, including ASME B31.3, B31.1 and API 1104.
6. The candidate designs pipe appropriately to commonly available fabrication and erection methods.
7. The candidate designs pipe to accommodate reasonably foreseeable inspection and maintenance practices.
8. The candidate uses a Computer Aided Design (CAD) system to correctly represent a schematic and dimensioned piping drawings and backup electronic client appropriately.
Level II – Advanced PPD
All the requirements of Level I plus:
The candidate will have a minimum four (4) cumulative years experience within the last eight (8) years performing piping layout and design related projects of a nature deemed suitable by the SPED certification committee.
Demonstration through work history and/or additional training the ability to work independently applying the skills listed for Level I. This includes but is not limited to the ability to:
1. The candidate seeks out appropriate technical expertise when engineering judgment or analysis is required.
2. The candidate identifies the impact on piping design of plant unit start-up, shutdown, and normal operation including thermal expansion, contraction and their control through anchors, guides, transverse guides, spring cans, etc.
3. The candidate recognizes the need for and gathers the appropriate information needed before work begins, including:
C. Vessel Outlines
D. Equipment Data Sheets
E. Recognize survey needs
F. Required existing underground, background or reference drawings
G. Piping Specifications, Piping Standards
H. Client CAD requirements
I. Safety requirements
J. Environmental requirements
K. Budget and schedule requirements
4. The candidate recognizes complete sets of data needed for work to be deemed complete.
5. The candidate utilizes commonly accepted methods for managing versions and releases.
6. The candidate extracts data needed to develop and produce the following items:
A. Piping Bill of Materials
B. Piping Isometrics
C. Line List
D. Specialty Item List
E. Tie- In List
F. Stress Isometrics
G. Known pipeline spans
H. Pipe support requirements
I. Pipe rack loading and other design requirements
7. Candidate demonstrates of good intra-discipline communication.
Level III – Senior PPD
All the requirements of Level I and Level II plus:
The candidate will have a minimum eight (8) years cumulative experience within the last sixteen (16) years performing piping layout and piping design related projects of a nature deemed suitable by the SPED certification committee.
1. A Senior PPD will have located, orientated equipment using generally accepted practices with consideration for constructability, site infrastructure & supporting structures.
2. The candidate will explain the layout implications (equipment required, general characteristics of products involved, operation, maintenance, safety, etc.) of the following processes:
A. Combustion and Furnace Heating
B. Heat Exchangers
C. Cooling & Refrigeration
D. Water treatment
F. Reactors & Catalyzation
G. Steam generation and distribution
J. Waste Water Collection and Disposal
K. Pressure and Level Control
3. The candidate correctly orient basic process equipment, their nozzles and other points of connection, attachment, assembly, access, inspection, and maintenance. Orientation should demonstrate knowledge of the internal workings of equipment and its impact on inspection, maintenance and construction. Such equipment includes:
4. The candidate will demonstrate the ability to apply customer furnished plant layout specifications
5. The candidate identifies the impact on piping design of plant unit commissioning, start-up shutdown, turnaround and normal operation including thermal expansion, contraction, constructor, operator and maintainer access, common modes of equipment failure, etc.
6. The candidate identifies situations requiring the application of publicly available plant layout design standards, including those specifying minimum and/or maximum spacing, recommended elevations, placing of handrails/platforms, etc.
7. The candidate will demonstrate the ability to layout process equipment appropriately and extract necessary data to support commonly available fabrication and erection methods and to accommodate reasonably foreseeable inspection and maintenance practices
Level IV – Lead PPD
All the requirements of Level I, Level II & Level III plus;
The candidate will have a minimum twenty (20) years cumulative experience within the last twenty-five (25) years performing plant layout and piping design related projects in the Petrochemical industry, of a nature deemed suitable by the SPED certification committee. The candidate must demonstrate a level of training certified by degree or certificate awarded for the following topics:
1. Demonstration through work history and/or additional training the ability to verify work products of the skills listed for Level I, II and III. This includes but is not limited to the ability to:
A. Assess the skill levels of others assigned to work processes and estimate the time required for completion by those individuals
B. Describe required work processes through proposals and work plans
C. Seek out appropriate technical expertise when engineering judgment or analysis is required
D. Perform detailed piping design calculations and analyses and document results to the satisfaction of a supervising engineer
E. Assign work along with all required information and
F. Verify the integrity, completeness and format of work products and extracted information in an integrated application environment
2. Demonstrate through work history & or additional training the ability to:
A. Bid man hours on limited information.
B. Client interaction
C. Staffing ability, skilled I hiring & termination procedures
D. Establish schedules
E. Employee motivation
F. Manage change
QUALIFICATIONS ACCEPTABLE FOR PPD CERTIFICATION
Certification requirements can be satisfied by a combination of on-the-job and formal training and/or education. The acceptability of any job experience, education or training for any qualification purpose is at the sole discretion of the SPED certification committee. Acceptable qualifications include (but are not limited to) the following:
A. Recent experience (appropriate to each level) performing piping design related projects of a nature deemed suitable by the SPED certification committee
B. College/university coursework from an accredited institution in a curriculum covering the listed topics required for certification
C. Specialized professional development courses offered by entities such as SPED, ASME, AIChE, etc., as deemed suitable by the SPED certification committee
D. Successful completion of in-house training programs that covering the listed topics required for certification
In all cases, the judgement of SPED certification committee as to the suitability of any credential submitted for consideration is final.
HOW TO APPLY FOR PPD CERTIFICATION
Before you take your PPD exam, you must first apply for certification below, so that SPED can confirm that you are prepared to take the exam you are applying for.
Email the following to
1. Your updated resume (on company letterhead if available)
2. Completed PPD Level I, II, III or IV Application Certification Evaluation Form
3. Completed PPD Level I, II, III or IV Candidate Application Form
4. Completed PPD Level II, III or IV Application Evaluation Form
Download PPD Level I Certification Application Form (PDF)
Download PPD Level II - IV Certification Application Form (PDF)
Download PPD Level II Candidate Evaluation Form (PDF)
Download PPD Level III Candidate Evaluation Form (PDF)
Download PPD Level IV Candidate Evaluation Form (PDF)
[ Additionally, for PPD Levels II - IV, three references (from past and current supervisors) must be completed and emailed directly to
After you complete the appropriate PPD Level exam, SPED reviews your test score, your application and references to determine certification. You will be notified about your certification status by email. If criteria for PPD Certification is met, a PDF of your PPD Certificate will be sent to you along with a SPED Membership ID card. An individual member account will be opened for you at www.spedweb.com.
Your certification must be maintained by renewing each year
SPED PPD Level I Exam Typical Questions
SPED PPD Level II Exam Typical Questions
REGISTER FOR, OR RENEW PPD CERTIFICATION
All PPD Certification exam packages include:
- 3 month access to online practice quizzes
- final online PPD exam
- certification application fee
For PPD-certified SPED members in good standing, PPD level advance exam is complimentary within a one year period of previous exam. 30-day access to online practice quizzes are also available.
To register for courses or for more information, email
1. PPD 100% Club Members must be SPED Corporate Members
2. Academic Membership is required at College or university administration Level. This does not apply to students whose school is not a member of SPED
You may also register using:
1. Wire transfer, call 1-713-960-4478 or 1-346-363-9031 for bank information
2. Check made out to:
Society of Piping Engineers and Designers 9668 Westheimer Road, Ste 200-242 Houston, TX 77063
MAINTAINING YOUR PPD CERTIFICATION FOR RENEWAL
Obtain five (5) Professional Development Units (PDUs) each year. These are any piping industry continuing education activity. Examples include conferences, classes, lunch-n-learns, vendor presentations, webinars, or reading SPED technical information. One hour of training = 1 PDU
Record your five PDUs in the last field of your profile of your individual spedweb.com account. Format example of how to record the PDUs: "hangers webinar, xyz company, 08.19.14 1 PDU".
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Once SPED verifies you have five PDUs recorded in your individual account, we will issue a current-year SPED PPD Certification Certificate and SPED Membership ID card.
HOW TO ADVANCE PPD CERTIFICATION ONE LEVEL
If you are already PPD Certified, you may apply for the next level once you have obtained the required years of experience and knowledge. There is no charge to make a PPD Certification Level advance if you maintain your certification in the current year and apply for an advancement within a 1 year period of attaining your current PPD level. How to advance one PPD Certification Level:
Notify SPED that you wish to make a level advance by emailing
Questions? Call 1-713-960-4478 or 1-346-363-9031 or email