A PAT tester refers to a portable device that’s used to test the safety of electrical appliances as well as the person who does the testing. PAT testing and inspections are common in workplaces where employee safety is important. So how to become a qualified PAT tester?
Legally, anyone can become a PAT tester. In fact, there’s no legal requirement to carry out a PAT inspection, so anyone can buy a PAT test kit online and get to work.
However, to ensure safety when handling appliances, most workplaces require that the PAT tester undergo training and certification. This is not only important for safety, but also allows the tester to properly inspect an appliance, interpret test results and make recommendations.
Training for PAT Testing
The best part is that you don’t even need to be an electrician to become a PAT tester. Anyone can get training for PAT testing.
The easiest way to become a qualified PAT tester is to take an online course. Plenty of websites offer quick beginner courses online that last about a couple hours. You can complete the course in a day and receive your certificate the next.
However, online courses are limited in depth and hands-on training. Thus, they are suitable only for individuals that want to do basic PAT testing around the office or at home.
If you plan to work in a higher risk environment, such as a factory, a one-on-one course will serve you better.
These courses immerse you into the theory and practical knowledge of PAT testing over the course of a day. You get to practice with an actual PAT tester and learn exactly how to carry out a PAT inspection. At the end of the day you’ll receive a certificate of completion.
What Does a PAT Tester Do?
The job of a PAT tester is to access the safety of plug-in electrical appliances, usually in workplace and commercial settings.
Most companies carry out PAT testing as part of their overall legal safety responsibilities, not because there’s a specific requirement to do a PAT test.
A qualified PAT tester carries out a visual inspection of the appliance, looking for telltale signs of an unsafe appliance such as exposed wires and burn marks.
They’ll also do a more comprehensive test using a PAT tester. Some PAT testers indicate a simple PASS or FAIL on the display, while others show data that the inspector needs to interpret.
Some of the things PAT testers check in an appliance include grounding, leakage and insulation.
How Much Can a PAT Tester Earn?
Because the qualifications requirements are not high and you don’t need to be an electrician or have extensive training, PAT testers earn a salary that’s below the national average.