How to Become a PAT Tester: A Complete Guide

How to Become a PAT Tester: A Complete Guide

Portable Appliance Testing is a requirement for businesses across the UK to ensure the safety of electrical equipment. PAT testers play a critical role in inspecting and testing portable appliances to identify any risks of electric shocks or fires. If you’re interested in becoming a certified PAT tester, this comprehensive guide will walk you through all the steps. Hopefully, it will give you the complete guide that you’re looking for. So why wait? Let’s get started with our topic-

Understanding PAT Testing

PAT testing involves the visual inspection and electrical safety testing of portable electrical appliances. This includes any equipment that can be moved around and plugged in, like power tools, kitchen appliances, IT equipment, extension leads, and many more.

The purpose of PAT testing is to check that the equipment is safe to use and identify any faults that could cause electric shocks or fires. Damaged cables, loose connections, inadequate earthing, and other issues can make appliances dangerous.

Regular PAT testing is proof of compliance with your obligations to employers under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, the Health and Safety of Work Regulations 1974, and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. It applies to any portable electrical equipment used in the workplace.

Understand the Role of a PAT Tester

PAT testers, also known as appliance testers or electrical safety testers, are responsible for conducting formal visual inspections and electrical safety tests on portable electrical appliances.

Their day-to-day duties include:
  • Visually inspect appliances for damage like frayed cables, cracked plugs, wrong fuse, or physical damage.
  •  Testing insulation resistance, earth continuity, leakage, load, flash polarity, and other electrical safety checks
  • Analysing results to identify any unsafe appliances
  • Labelling appliances with pass/fail stickers
  • Maintaining detailed records of all appliances tested, pass, and fail.
  • Providing inspection and testing reports to clients or workplaces.

It’s a hands-on role that requires attention to detail, organization, time management, and communication skills.

What Makes Someone Competent?

To be considered competent to practice as a PAT tester, individuals should complete an accredited training course and gain certifications and therefore evidence of competence from a training provider. Not all training providers and courses are equal, so choose carefully. All training should follow the current IET COP (5th edition) and there should be an assessment element. You can contact PAT Training Now for more details. We are offering UKRS Accredited PAT Training Courses. This course is designed to make you a professional expert in PAT Testing.

Formal training ensures testers have the necessary:
  • Knowledge of electrical fundamentals
  •  Understanding of visual inspection procedures
  • Ability to properly use testing equipment
  • Familiarity with regulations and safety standards
  • Record-keeping and reporting skills

It’s also recommended to gain hands-on experience shadowing professional PAT testers before working independently. we are covering 21 locations all over the UK. You can pick a suitable place that you are comfortable with. Don’t have time to come here? No worries let us bring the On-site/In-house Courses to you. Or If you want you can choose our Exclusive Online PAT Courses Also.

Conducting a Formal Visual Inspection

The first step in any PAT testing process is a formal visual inspection. This involves closely examining the physical condition of electrical appliances and cables.

Testers will look for:
  • Damage to the cable covering like cuts, abrasions, or scorch marks
  • Damage to plugs like cracked casing, bent pins, or loose connections
  • Signs of overheating like burn marks or discoloration
  • Damage to the appliance body including cracks, dents, or loose parts

Any faults identified must be reported and the appliance will fail the inspection.

Do You Need a PAT Test Qualification?

There are no legal requirements to qualify in order to perform PAT testing. However, having a recognized qualification and certification will provide credibility and ensure you have the necessary competence. Want to become a PAT Tester? Contact Us Today.

The industry standard code of practice is:

The IET code of practice in in-service inspection and testing of electrical equipment. (5th Edition).

Get the Right Qualifications

To get qualified in PAT testing, you’ll need to complete a formal training course and pass assessments to gain certification. Courses are offered by:

  • Colleges and training providers
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Health and safety organizations
  • Professional bodies
  • Independent training providers.

Courses should cover the essential theory on legal requirements, electrical fundamentals, testing procedures, and health and safety. Hands-on training is also provided to develop practical inspection and testing skills.

Courses range from 1 day to 2 weeks depending on the delivery method and time per session. Expect to pay £195-£600 for training.

Attending a Course

When attending a PAT testing qualification course, you can expect to cover:

  • PAT testing regulations and legal duties
  • Electrical and mechanical principles
  • Visual inspection processes
  • Using testing equipment like PAT testers safely and competently.
  • Conducting continuity, Insulation, leakage, polarity, earth bonding, and other appliance tests
  • Interpreting test results
  • Creating risk assessments and method statements
  • Report writing and record keeping

Both theoretical and practical assessments will need to be passed to gain certification. Refresher training is recommended every 3 years.

Our professional Pat tester taking his class

How Much Will You Earn?

Once qualified, PAT testers can expect to earn:
  • £16,000 – £28,000 for entry-level positions
  • £24,000 – £33,000 for experienced testers

Pay rates will vary based on location, experience, and types of clients.

Gain Hands-On PAT Testing Experience

Before working independently, it’s recommended to get hands-on experience shadowing professional PAT testers on the job for a while. This allows you to:

  • Apply your training in a real-world setting
  • Develop competency in using testing devices
  • Improve inspection techniques
  • Understand reporting procedures
  • Build relationships with electrical contractors or facilities managers
  • Ask questions from experts in the field

Understand PAT Testing Best Practices

It’s critical for PAT testers to fully understand the regulations, guidance documents, and safety standards that must be followed. These include:

Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment
HSE guidance on maintaining portable electrical equipment.

Develop Essential PAT Testing Skills

To succeed as a PAT tester, certain essential skills need to be developed:

  • Strong understanding of electrical safety principles and standards
  • Ability to thoroughly visually inspect appliances and identify faults
  • Competence in operating testing equipment and analyzing results
  • Attention to detail when recording appliance details and test results
  • Time management and organization skills to complete inspections efficiently
  • Communication and client management skills

These skills are honed through accredited PAT testing qualification courses, hands-on experience, and continuing professional development.

Specialized testing

Beyond general PAT testing, some PAT testers choose to specialize in:

  • Testing particular types of equipment like IT, catering, or construction tools
  • Servicing and repairing faulty appliances identified during testing
  • Advising clients on cost-effective appliance replacement
  • PAT testing for large facilities or multi-site businesses

Specializing allows testers to command higher fees and differentiate themselves.

Find PAT Testing Opportunities

There are a few avenues to find PAT testing work:

  • Apply for in-house roles with facilities management, retail, healthcare, or construction companies or schools.
  • Provide PAT testing services as a self-employed contractor
  • Join an established PAT testing company and work as a mobile tester
  • Partner with electrical contractors who subcontract out the testing work

Search job boards, check company websites, and network with local electricians to find opportunities.

Continue Your Professional Development

We all know practice and learning makes a person perfect. PAT testers need to update their knowledge and skills through continuing professional development (CPD). Options include:

  • Attending refresher courses to stay up to date on regulations
  • Reading industry guidance documents, newsletters, and blogs
  • Shadowing colleagues to learn new techniques
  • Attending trade shows and events
  • Completing manufacturer training on new testing tools

Setting Up a PAT Testing Business

With the right qualifications and experience, Portable Appliance testers can establish an independent testing business by:

  • Registering as self-employed and getting the required insurance
  • Investing in testing tools and creating professional marketing materials
  • Networking with local businesses to offer services
  • Using software tools to schedule appointments and streamline reporting
    Focus on delivering exceptional service and value to build up a roster of recurring clients.

Start Your PAT Testing Career Today

We are PAT Training Now, we offer accredited PAT testing courses, hands-on training, and certification across the UK. Our experienced instructors will equip you with all the skills and knowledge needed to start a successful career in this critical electrical safety field.

Enroll in a course today and take the first steps towards becoming a competent, trained PAT testing engineer.

You Will Find Us In These Locations Nearby:

Swindon | Bristol | Bournemouth | Thurrock M25 | Exeter | Heathrow M25 | Portsmouth | Southampton | Birmingham | Leicester | Liverpool | Manchester | Norwich

Author: IAN COX TechIOSH, TMIET
IAN Cox

Ian is a time served Health and Safety professional. He teaches Health and Safety, Electrical Safety and also offers health and safety consultancy. He runs a successful training company which has been growing for over 16 years.

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