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How to become a PAT Tester

What is PAT Testing?

Portable Appliance Testing is a valuable skill for electricians and others involved in ensuring electrical equipment is maintained in a safe condition. Becoming a PAT Tester offers electricians, facilities managers and everyone looking for a new  business opportunity to take advantage of the PAT Testing requirements.

New Electacourse Online PAT Testing Course

From just £40, study the Electacourse Online PAT Testing Course to gain the skills and knowledge to enable you to understand the requirements of being a PAT Tester.

PAT Testing Introduction

According to The Health & Safety Executive, around 25% of all reportable electrical accidents involve portable appliances. The Electricity at Work Regulations place a legal responsibility on employers, employees and self-employed persons to comply with the provisions of the Electricity at Work regulations and take all reasonable steps to ensure that no danger arises from the use of such equipment. Thus, in effect, a systematic and regular program of maintenance, inspection and testing is required. The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) places this obligation in the following circumstances:

  • Where portable appliances are used by employees.
  • Where the public may use portable appliances in establishments such as schools, hospitals, shops and hotels etc.
  • Where appliances are repaired or serviced.
  • Where appliances are supplied or hired.

The level of inspection and testing requirement depends upon the level of risk of the portable appliance becoming faulty, which is in turn dependant upon the type of portable appliance, the nature of its use and the environment in which the appliance is used.

The publication the Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment published by The Institution of Electrical Engineers (the IEE) is a guide that forms the basis for portable appliance testing (PAT) in the U.K.

Legal Requirements

The legislation that is relevant to portable appliance testing include the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 puts the duty of care upon both the employee and the employer to ensure the safety of all persons on the work premises. This also applies to the self employed.

Specifically, the ‘Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998’ states that:

“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”

This is just one example of one piece of legislation relevant to PAT testing and it is clear that there is a legal requirement to inspect and test all types of electrical equipment in all work situations.

What next?

This page has given you a brief introduction to PAT Testing. You do not need to be a qualified electrician to be a PAT Tester, but it does form part of many electricians work portfolio. To become a PAT Tester you have a number of possibilities:

  1. Take a PAT Testing Course with a commercial or FE College training provider. They can offer the full package (course plus 2377-22) in one go – but often at a high price
  2. Study on your own with the great value  Electacourse Online PAT Testing Course –  from only £40, together with the IET Code of Practice. This option is recommended if you already have some electrical experience and you have the opportunity to improve your practice skills. If you like, you can follow this up with the City & Guilds 2377-22 exam which you can find offered in many locations
  3. Remember you will need to purchase PAT Testing equipment. Some equipment companies offer a ‘PAT Testing Business in a Box’ – these include all you need to start up a PAT Testing business.

14 thoughts on “How to become a PAT Tester

  1. I’m thinking of starting my own lamp making business; I’m not an electrician. Please could you advise me on the course I need to take.
    Thanks in advance
    Kerry Hawkins

    1. Probably best you speak to your local chamber of commerce. They might be able to point you in the right direction regarding starting a business. There is no requirement to be an electrician to start a lamp making business.

  2. Hi I was looking to start my career in PAT testing I have always be interested in electrics from a young age i took a private PAT testing course a few years ago and still have some basic infor at home for this course however i have dyslexia and i dont think i would be able to pass the exam
    could you advise me please

    1. Hi there. Thank you for contacting us. We are not really in a position to give you specific advice. But we have a couple of suggestions:
      1. Do you know any electricians who are already doing PAT Testing? 2. Do you have a large (furniture) charity shop near where you live? A PAT Testing electrician may be able to show you what they are doing and you can see if it works for you. Large charity shops often do their own PAT Testing, you could volunteer and get know that way. Good luck.

  3. I am a site maintenance technician for an academy. Currently we have outside contractors to Pat test. If i take the course and pass would i be certificated to carry out the testing or would i need further training? I would probably pay for it myself

    1. The Electacourse PAT Testing Course teaches the theory and techniques of PAT Testing. It is designed for lecturers and trainers who are teaching classes of PAT students and it is designed for individuals who want to know about PAT Testing. This course does not include the City & Guilds PAT Testing 2377-22 exam. At present is not a legal requirement to hold a qualification to do PAT Testing although an employer may ask you to have passed the City & Guilds 2377-22 as a formal demonstration of your competency. Some of the PAT Testing equipment companies sell ‘PAT Testing Business in a Box’ products; would-be PAT testers might simply buy that and start testing. Our course can be used to accompany such products.

  4. Hi is there an advanced pat testing course also??

    1. No, we do not have an advanced PAT Testing course. City & Guilds have two qualifications relating to PAT Testing: PAT Testing: Code Of Practice. For In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment (2377-22) and Level 3 Certificate of Competent Management of Electrical Equipment Maintenance (2377-11)

  5. Like the lady above, I would like to sell my own home-made lamps plus second-hand lamps. Would the £100 online course be sufficient for the PAT testing required?

    1. See the previous responses

  6. I am retireing in the near future,I am a time served electrician,serving my time in domestic and industrial work places.I have worked for the last 36 years in the aviation business as an electrical inspector testing and installation inspection.
    My question is which course would be right for me to start doing PAT testing in my retirement?
    I would be grateful for any information.

    1. We would suggest that first you approach potential customers now before you invest in gaining PAT Testing skills, to see if there is a demand in your area. If there is, you can then take one of the training options we write about in our post

  7. Hi I’m upcycling chandeliers and have been advised to pat test them if I want to re sell them
    What certificate would I need to complete?

    1. If you want a certificate, you will need to pass either City & Guilds 2377-22 or Logic’s LCL Level 3 Award in the In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment. However as our post indicates there is no formal PAT Testing qualification requirement.

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