DEP FAQs


What is the procedure to sit for one of the PA DEP Tank Installer or Inspector tests?
If you are interested in taking one of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Tank installer and inspector certification examinations, you must first be approved to sit for the examination in the area you wish to be certified in by the PA DEP. To determine what materials you need to submit for approval, contact the PA DEP.
How do I contact the PA DEP?
The tool free (in PA only) PA DEP telephone number is 800 42 TANKS (800 428 2657). Outside PA, call (717) 772-5599.
What is a test module?
A module is simply another name for one of the PA tank certification tests. The term test and module are used interchangeably. The tests are organized into 13 different modules. There are 12 technical modules and the administrative (AD) module. The AD module must be passed once for an individual to use the certification obtained through a technical module.
How do I know which module to take?
Review the following list of abbreviations.
Aboveground Tank Abbreviations
AC Aboveground storage tank - Civil (ACVL).
AE Aboveground storage tank system mechanical installation, modification and removal (AMEX).
AF Aboveground field constructed metallic storage tank installation, modification and removal (AFMX).
AN Aboveground nonmetallic storage tank installation and modification (AMNX). AR Removal of aboveground manufactured storage tank systems or storage tank facilities (AMR) and Removal of aboveground field constructed storage tank systems or storage tank facilities (AFR).
AS Aboveground manufactured metallic storage tank installation and modification (AMMX).
IA Inspection of aboveground manufactured storage tank system and storage tank facilities (IAM) and inspection of aboveground field constructed storage tank system and storage tank facilities (IAF).
TL Storage tank liner (TL)

Underground Tank Abbreviations.
UX Underground storage tank installation and modification (UMX).
UR Removal of underground storage tank systems or storage tank facilities (UMR).
IU Inspection of underground storage systems (IU).
UT Underground storage tank tightness testing (UTT).

OK I've contacted the PA DEP and been approved to sit for the test, what next?
Once the DEP has approved a candidate to take the examination, the candidate's information is sent to Plut Examination Services (PES). The PA DEP sends a list of newly eligible candidates about twice per month. When PES receives the candidate information from the PA DEP, it is entered into our data indicating that these candidates are now eligible to sit for the examination and which modules they are eligible to take. PES sends scheduling forms to the eligible candidates along with information about the examination process and "A Candidate Guide for the Pennsylvania Tank Installer and Inspector Certification Examinations." If you wish to view or download a copy of the Candidate Guide in Microsoft Word (c) Format, click HERE.
OK, I have the scheduling form and materials, but how do I sign up?
The procedure is explained on the information sheet mailed at the time PES receives the information from the PA DEP that you are eligible to test. You will need to contact PES with you information and payment method. You may mail the scheduling form (or copy) with a check, indicating which module(s) you wish to take, where you want to take the examination, and the date you wish to take the test. You may also fax the form to PES (814 237 9737) with the same information listed above and a credit card number, or call PES (914 237 2765 or call toll free 866 PLUTEXM), with the same information listed above and providing a telephone number.
I sent in my form with payment but have not heard anything back from PES?
You will not hear anything back from PES until about 10 days before the examination. At the end of the day on the deadline for the test (the Friday two weeks prior to the test being given) PES sends the list of eligible candidates to the PA DEP. We usually hear back from the PA DEP on the Monday or Tuesday after the information was sent. Once we hear that there are no problems with the list of candidates signed up for the examination, we send out confirmation letters. These letters included general information about the test, a list of the modules you have signed up for, and the test location and map. If you do not receive your confirmation letter by the Monday before the test, please call PES and we will fax the information to you.
When are the tests given?
They are typically given on the third Friday in February, May, August, and November. The AD examination is given at 7:30 and the administration of the technical modules begins at 9:00. You have 45 minutes to take the AD module and until 5:00 PM to take the technical modules. On average, it take candidates about one hour per technical module, although some have finished in 20 minutes and others have taken more than two hours per module. You may leave whenever you are finished.
Where are the examinations given?
There are two test sites. In State College, the tests are typically given at the State College Friends Meetinghouse at 611 E Prospect Ave. and in Philadelphia at the Fraternal Order of Police at 1336 Spring Garden. On rare occasions we have had trouble obtaining these sites on the date needed and have had to find another venue, so it is important that the candidate check the materials sent with the confirmation letters.
I need to take several modules. Can I take them all on the same day?
Yes. This practice is very common. PES will provide you with a folder containing the modules you have signed up for when you come to take the test. You have until 5:00 PM to complete the tests, although all candidates in recent history have finished before this deadline.
How do I know if I need to take the AD module?
All candidates must take and pass the AD module before they are allowed to practice in their area of certification. If you have previously taken and passed the AD module once, then you do not need to take it again. If you have not taken and passed the AD module you will not be allowed to use the certification you obtain until you do pass the AD module.
Am I charged to take the AD module?
Yes. For payment purposes, it is no different than other modules.
Are the tests open or closed book?
All the technical module tests are closed book. The AD module is open book and you are allowed to bring Act 32 as amended and Chapter 245. You are allowed to bring only these publications to the AD module examination and your reference books may be examined by the test proctor.
I really need to take the test but missed the test deadline, can I sign up late?
No. The test deadline is firm. We simply have too much to do to accommodate candidates who are late submitting their materials to PES. If you have applied to take an examination close to the deadline and have heard from the DEP that you are eligible to take the test but not from PES, call PES. We can sign you up over the phone without your having received the scheduling forms. It is not uncommon for candidates to list their home address with the DEP but to be traveling when the materials arrived. We seem to have most success having forms arriving when the business address, rather than home address, is used for correspondence with the candidate. To change or update your address, contact the PA DEP.
I signed up for the test but cannot attend on the date I signed up for. Can I reschedule?
Yes. If the test deadline has not arrived yet (two weeks before the test is given) then simply call PES and inform us of your need to reschedule. There is no fee. If the test deadline has already passed then there is a $10 fee to reschedule since the tests are printed and space allocated for you after the test deadline.
I missed the test that I was signed up for. Can I just have my fee applied to the next test?
No. As stated above, you can reschedule before the deadline without any consequence or after the deadline for a $10 fee, but if you miss the test without rescheduling then you must sign up with PES and pay the fee. After each test, PES sends out scheduling forms for all candidates who missed the test but are still eligible to take the test.
Once I am approved to take the test by the DEP, how long do I have to take it?
You have one year to take the test from the time you are approved by the PA DEP. If you take a module but do not pass it, your eligibility is extended for one more year.
I did not take the test within one year and my eligibility has expired. What do I do next?
If you are still interested in taking the test, you must submit your materials again to the PA DEP, just as you did initially, an be re-approved.
I was approved by the DEP to take the test but my job has changed now and I no longer need this certification. What do I need to do?
Nothing. After one year your name will be removed from the list of candidates who are eligible to take an examination. If your circumstances change and you again wish to take the examination then you may reapply to the PA DEP to take the examination.
How long will it take for me to hear about the results of my test?
PES is typically able to get the results in candidates' hands within two weeks. However, we do review all items with questionable item statistics and review all items that have been commented on by candidates. We do not process the results until we are confident that all items used in the test are OK.
How do I know what to study?
All of the technical modules consist of 60 items organized into 10 clusters, with 6 items in each cluster. The references for each cluster are listed in the Candidate Guide.
How hard are the examinations?
They are apparently pretty difficult. On average, approximately 30%-40% of the candidates do not pass the technical modules on any given administration. Candidates do not pass the AD module at a slightly lower rate and the main reason for not passing given is that candidates thought that since it was open book it would be easy to look up the answers. Candidates will need to become familiar with the Act 32 as amended and Chapter 245, how they are organized and where to find specific information before taking the tests or they will likely run out of time and not pass.
Where do I get the references?
This information is located in the Candidate Guide for Tank Installer/Inspector Certification Exams.
Are there sample tests?
The PA DEP provides a study guide to candidates when they are approved to take a module. These guides contain items that may be similar to ones on the test, but typically do not measure the same content as will be on the test. Candidates need to study the references to pass. Learning the answers to the items in the study guide will not provide enough information to be able to pass the examination.
I need to hear as soon as possible about how I did. Can I get the results over the telephone?
No. PES does not release any results over the phone. We will fax results if the results that were mailed are lost.
I failed a module a second time. What do I do next?
Candidates who take a module twice without passing much receive additional training before being allowed to sit for that module again. The list of training providers will be sent with the results materials to all candidates who did not pass two times. You may read or download this list in Microsoft Word (c) format by clicking HERE.
I have a question that is not addressed by these questions. What should I do?
Contact PES either through email or by phone. If you are calling about an individual who is eligible to take a test (or has been eligible) it would be helpful to include the last name and ID number of the candidate.

Richard R. Plut, Ph.D.
820 Struble Road
State College, PA 16801
(814) 237 2765, 866 PLUTEXM (866 758-8296)
Email: plutexams@netscape.com

Copyright © 2005, PES
Revised 9/8/05
URL: www.plutexams.com