New Highway Construction Standard Model/CBT Exams

The new Levels I and II Standard Model CBT exams for Highway Construction Inspection (HCI) will be available December 23. 2016. The Work Element (WE) format program Highway Construction is transitioning to Standard/ CBT Format.

  • New applicants will receive HCI Standard Model/CBT exams.
  • Returning applicants may apply for Highway Construction WE Testing during 2017.

HCI is the first certification track of several planned under the broader program umbrella of Transportation Construction Inspection (TCI).

NICET is best known in civil technology circles for its long-standing programs in Highway Construction and Construction Materials Testing, both of which are now undergoing conversion from paper-and-pencil exams to computer-based testing, and to a more standardized test format with updated content.  The new exams may be taken (after submitting application forms to NICET) at any of the more than 200 computer-testing centers operated by Pearson VUE across the US.

The original Highway Construction program was developed in the late 1970s in cooperation with AASHTO, USDOT, and several state DOTs.  Its unique modular “work element” testing system, designed to meet the needs of that time, served as the model for a generation of subsequent NICET programs.

Today, many – or most – inspectors are employees of consulting firms and may work on projects for different DOTs over time.  The new TCI program is structured to fit that changing reality by standardizing exams based on the capabilities normally expected of inspectors regardless of the project owner.  TCI certification is intended to be a portable credential, to which a DOT might add additional training or requirements as they think appropriate.

Like Highway Construction, TCI programs offer certification at 4 Levels, from I (Technician Trainee) through IV (Senior Engineering Technician). They also provide a structure that can accommodate the varying requirements of different modes of transportation.  Certification criteria include passing written exams and showing sufficient relevant work experience for each track and Level.

Exams for Levels I and II cover a broad range of inspection knowledge common to multiple types of transportation construction projects – and are intended to meet exam requirements for multiple TCI tracks.  Level III and IV exams will be unique to each track and Level.

Work experience requirements for certification include work history (all Levels); verifications by a supervisor or PE of correct performance of specific tasks (all Levels); personal recommendation (Levels III and IV); and a leading inspection role in a major project (Level IV).

A rough outline for the program structure was created in consultation with several industry focus groups, and refined by an Advisory Group of 27 engineers and inspectors.  The specific content of the new exams was then delineated by panels of 8 to 10 subject-matter experts (senior inspectors and engineers).  Their “practice analysis” was then verified through a survey of certified inspectors.

The test questions for Levels I and II have been written, reviewed, and approved by subject-matter experts, and edited by NICET staff.  Passing scores have been established for each exam, via a “modified Angoff” procedure - based largely on question difficulty ratings provided by groups of practicing inspectors.  Finally, the exams are assembled, formatted, and electronically published by NICET staff, and undergo one more round of QA before going live.

Testing and certification in Highway Construction Inspection at Levels I and II will be available in late December.  At that time, new applicants for the Highway Construction work element program will be informed that that program has been superseded by HCI.  Applicants who have previously tested Highway Construction will be allowed additional testing until the end of 2017 in order to complete any partially-met work element exam requirements.

Launch of the Level III and IV exams for Highway Construction Inspection is planned for spring 2017.

Updates and additional program information are available on the NICET website at http://www.nicet.org/certification-programs/civil-engineering/highway-construction-inspection/.

Development Volunteers and the Companies that Supported Their Participation

Wade Abbott, H.W. Lochner, Inc.

Timothy Browning, CTL Engineering, Inc

Brea Fedinetz, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

Mauricio Fernandez, PSE&G

David Metcalf, Urban Engineers

Jospeh Palermo, T & M Associates

Marc Pomarico, Hill International, Inc.

David Redash, Johnson, Mirmiran, & Thompson, Inc.

Alireza (Ray) Shandermani, HAKS

Danielle Shultz, CTL Engineering, Inc

Jeffrey Spicka, Dewberry

Benjamin Tolman, Jacobs Engineering

JoAnna Abraham, AECOM

Mike Atwell, Bergmann Associates

Mark Baskin, Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson, Inc.

Timothy Becker, Dewberry Engineers Inc.

Craig Bolinger, T R C  Solutions 

Gerry Broesler, Lockwood, Kessler & Barrett

Kurt R. Covert, DiDonato Engineering & Architectural Professionals

Michael Cronan, D&B Engineers

Terry Davies, McTish, Kunkel & Associates

James G. Edgar, Sr., Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson, Inc.

Arthur Francis, HVEA

Michael Grigoruk, T&M Associates

Brian J. (Gil) Guillaume, KCI Technologies Inc. 

Michael Hanuscik, CMC Engineering

Robert Hartman, AECOM

Todd Ireland, Kimley-Horn

Jeff  Klimek, Atkins

Randy Leach, Greenman-Pedersen, Inc.

Michael Lipartito, Churchill Consulting Engineers

Alan S. Lobaugh, Milone & MacBroom, Inc

Jay McKee, Greenman-Pedersen, Inc.

Angie Oaks, CCM, MBP, Inc.

Randy Over, Ohio Department of Transportation

Angela Paglia, Monaloh Basin Engineers

Paul C. Sampson, Keville Enterprises Inc.

Robert J. Scancella, PE, KS Engineers, PC

Andrew Stasek, Traffic Planning & Design Inc.

Kevin P. Stoltz, Gannett Fleming

Mike Van Auken, Summit Design & Engineering Svcs.

Bill Whitfield, Village of Wellsville

Tommy Heitzman, Johnson, Mirmiran, & Thompson, Inc.