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A Look at NICET Certifications

By March 24, 2021No Comments5 min read

NICET stands for National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies, and is a division of NSPE, the National Society of Professional Engineers. This institution was put into place to enforce a set standard for each discipline and levels of Technician Certification. Encorus Group offers NICET certified inspections though our Civil Testing Group. NICET certifications play an important role in the engineering world by creating a base level of criteria and knowledge for all qualified engineering technicians. 

According to NICET, in order to achieve a certification, one must have a degree in an engineering technology program, pass a NICET test, submit a detailed write-up of work experience, supervisor’s verification of on-the-job performance, and a current personal recommendation.

There are two types of NICET Technician Certification Programs: Civil Engineering Technology and Electrical and Mechanical Systems Engineering Technology. The Civil Engineering Technology Certification program includes Construction Materials Testing, which encompasses asphalt, concrete, and soils testing, and Transportation Construction Inspection, which involves highway construction inspection.

The Electrical and Mechanical Systems Engineering Technology program includes Electrical Power Testing, Fire Protection (the testing and inspection of fire alarm systems, the testing and inspection of water-based systems, special hazard systems, and water-based systems layout), and Security Systems, which involves video security systems design. This article will be focusing on the Civil Engineering Technology Technician Certification Program, highlighting the Transportation Construction Inspection certification.

There are three levels of NICET qualifications that technicians can obtain. For the NICET Highway Construction Certification, a Level I Technician must know how to read blueprints, measure materials, recognize equipment, and understand safety and site operations.

A NICET Level II Technician should have a broad knowledge of construction materials, soils, foundations, and other site features. Level II Technicians are able to visually identify soils, understand surveying markings, compare construction activity to blueprints, make sure compaction testing is done correctly, and ensure that the soil work is up to grade and specifications. For asphalt, a Level II Technician is able to inspect the surface before placement of the asphalt, ensure that the tack coat is done correctly, review the paving plan and contractor’s equipment, check the grade of the area, visually identify asphalt mix properties, determine the requirements for sampling and testing, and complete general asphalt inspections. Concrete requires Level II Technicians to inspect the placement, ensure that the testing and placement is done correctly, inspect surface finishing and tolerances, and inspect the curing compound and joint cutting and sealing. In regards to drainage, Level II Technicians should inspect excavations, bedding and stone backfill, and the installation of components. For utilities, Level II Technicians should be able to identify utilities, inspect signage, striping, fencing, basic concrete foundations, electric conduit, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, ramps, medians, driveways, as well as landscaping and SWPPP. Site layout responsibilities for Level II Technicians include checking elevations and inspecting traffic zone placement. Other general responsibilities that fall to Level II Technicians are to generate reports and understand responsibilities of the inspector as well as the project schedule.

The Level III Technician Certification includes soil stabilization, roadway construction, structure construction, traffic signals, lighting, and reporting and compliance. For soil stabilization, Level III Technicians should know how to inspect the stabilization, understand how the water flows, inspect the geogrid and geosynthetics, and evaluate the field conditions relative to core borings. In regards to roadway construction, Level III Technicians are able to inspect the paving maintenance, grading, drainage, elevations, sewer lines, water lines, and identify improvements to traffic control. For structure construction, Level III Technicians inspect piles, caissons, foundations, structural, steel, precast concrete, post tensioning, bridge deck construction, pre-pour placement, the application of paint, coatings, and preservation treatments, and understand the thermal properties of concrete. Regarding traffic signals and lighting, Level III Technicians inspect traffic signals, lighting, detection devices for traffic signals, and the installation of components and wiring. For general reporting and compliance, Level III Technicians review inspection reports for completeness and content, report work, results, non-conformances, actions taken, prioritize and coordinate the inspection activities of inspection personnel, inspect SWPPP implementation, and inspect project activity for conformance with basic OSHA safety.

NICET Certifications allow engineering technicians to ensure that a specific standard of material quality and accuracy of work being done is met on any particular job. Encorus Group has 5 NICET Certified Technicians on staff. If you require a NICET Certified Technician for your construction project, contact Jeremy Lake at or 716.592.3980, ext. 133.