How thermographers get trained for certification

Thermal imaging

The basic functions of a thermal camera are not difficult to master. With some basic training and practice, you can learn what the buttons are for, how to navigate the menus, how to focus, and how to capture images.

A thermographer’s job, however, goes beyond mastering the basic functions. They need to be able to understand what the thermal camera is built to measure and how to customize the images and videos they’re gathering. But it takes more than just an understanding of the cameras to become a true thermographer. Through advanced training, certifications, and time, a thermographer is able to capture an image that includes the information needed to accurately diagnose an equipment or building issue, how to interpret that image correctly, or rule out a problem.

Getting a thermographer certification takes both time and money, but it’s an investment that pays off in higher quality inspections that are more technically consistent, and often broader career opportunities.

How much, and the type of training, you need should be based on how you’ll be using your thermal camera. We recommend that at least some of your training be hands-on, or in real-world simulations. You can learn from Fluke and thermographers, your local college, and even online. But the key is to choose a reputable trainer that will qualify you to meet national standards for one of these levels of expertise in order to receive the certification. To become certified, you have to prove your competence directly, in person, to an expert in the field who has the credentials necessary to evaluate your performance.

Thermographer Training and Qualification Levels

Level 1 thermography certification

This is the starting point, for those who are new to thermography, or those who need to brush up on older certifications. You’ll start by learning about the laws of thermodynamics and how temperature interacts with its environment on an infrared spectrum.

At this level of training, you’ll also learn the basics of thermal cameras and their widest, most common use cases. The training is focused on how to take thermal images so you can gather the information you need to identify and document problems, especially in preventive maintenance and condition-based monitoring applications.

By the end of the course, you’ll know how to capture high-quality data and sort it based on written pass/fail test criteria to earn a Level 1 thermographer certification.

Level 2 thermography certification

This level is for thermographers who have been using a thermal camera for a while and have some experience in using thermography to troubleshoot problems.

Training takes the previous courses to the next level adding more advanced infrared theory learning and going further into the data collected in a thermal image. This includes learning about calibration and advanced equipment operations. You’ll also begin to understand how to use IR windows as well as more in-depth knowledge on how to use your thermal camera. Digging into the menus, setting temperature limits, and learning error code meanings.

You’ll also cover generating thermal imaging reports and setting repair priorities based on the information you gather as a thermographer.

Once completed, Level 2 training, along with prior experience, qualifies you to set up and calibrate equipment, interpret data, create reports, and supervise Level 1-qualified personnel.

Level 3 thermography certification

Level 3 is the most advanced level of thermography certification. At this level, you’ll focus on the best practices for infrared inspection and report generation. The certification will also teach you how to develop, implement, and manage an infrared inspection program. This including developing inspection procedures and severity criteria and interpreting relevant codes. A level 3 thermography certification will also allow you to provide and oversee your own training and testing and calculating the return on investment (ROI) for the program.

In the United States, thermography qualification is issued by an employer in compliance with the standards of the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT). In other parts of the world, qualification is provided by a central qualifying body in each country that complies with the standards of the International Organization for Standardization—a nongovernmental, international organization comprised of national standards institutions from more than 90 countries.

Under both models, qualification is based on appropriate training, hands on qualifying experience, and both written and hands-on examinations.

World-class thermography training

Fluke, in partnership with The Snell Group, offer thermography training, certification, and re-certification courses in all aspects of thermography. You can find topics focused on electrical, roofing, mechanical, and building inspections.

These training courses are offered in-person, virtually with live instructors, or on-demand online depending on the level of training you’re looking for. There are even opportunities to have an instructor travel to you for courses tailored to your needs.

Thermography training courseIn-personInstructor-led live virtual On-demand onlineIn-person on-site custom
4-day Level 1 Thermographic Applications
4-Day Level 2 Advanced Thermographic Applications
2-Day Infrared for electrical inspections 
2-Day Infrared for mechanical inspections  
2-Day Infrared for Building Inspections  
2-Day Infrared for Roofing Inspections  
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