Safety Inspection of In-Service Bridges (NHI Course 130055C)

NHI Course Number 130055C


A detailed description of this course is on the National Highway Institute website ( Some highlights from this description are below.

NOTE: This course was updated in 2022 and is based on the FHWA Bridge Inspector’s Reference Manual (BIRM – 1995 Coding Guide Version), National Bridge Inspection Standards (2009 NBIS) and 1995 FHWA Recording and Coding Guide for the Structure Inventory and Appraisal of the Nations Bridges (Coding Guide).

This course, based on the BIRM – 1995 Coding Guide Version, 2009 NBIS and the Coding Guide, provides training on safety inspection of in-service highway bridges. The completion of this course fulfills the training requirements of the NBIS (23 CFR 650.309) for an FHWA-approved comprehensive training course. The course has undergone significant improvements in format and content including required bridge inspection in-the-field exercises, curriculum on the application of the Coding Guide and AASHTO element level condition ratings, and updated activities that maximize participant engagement throughout the course. The topics covered include fundamentals of bridge inspection; bridge materials; documenting bridge inspection data; inspection and evaluation of decks, superstructures, bearings, substructures, culverts, and waterways; advanced inspection methods; and bridge inspection reporting. For instances where in-the-field time is not possible due to unforeseen circumstances such as severe weather (snow, hurricane, flooding, heavy rain, tornadoes), a back-up option for the in-the field exercise will be permitted using the NHI computer-based Virtual Bridge Inspection Computer Based Training (VBI CBT) program.

Participants will be asked to complete mid-term and end-of-course assessments each with a cumulative score of 70% or better to successfully complete the course and receive a certificate of completion. The sponsoring agency/State may monitor the examinations and retain the scores to qualify or certify bridge inspectors. Satisfactory completion of this course will fulfill the comprehensive bridge inspection training requirements of the National Bridge Inspection Standards. Note: Many States have additional requirements to become a bridge inspection team leader.

Required Pre-Requisite

Participant Prerequisite Requirement: ALL participants must have met one of the two prerequisite requirements for participation in this course and must bring a course completion certificate bearing their name to the first day of the class. The passing score for all prerequisites is 70% or better. Individuals have the option to complete one of the following two prerequisite requirements: 1) 130101 Introduction to Safety Inspection of In-Service Bridges, a 14-hour Self-Directed Training (SDT) and assessment; or 2) 130101A Prerequisite Assessment for Safety Inspection of In-Service Bridges, a Self-Directed Training (SDT) assessment only (test out).

1) 130101 Introduction to Safety Inspection of In-Service Bridges, a 14-hour Web-based training and assessment; and/or

2) 130101a Prerequisite Assessment for Safety Inspection of In-Service Bridges, a Web-based assessment.

**Please note:  As noted above ALL students must successfully meet the prerequisite requirements and to enter the course each student must have a valid course completion certificate. The prerequisite must also be completed within two years of the course start date.  In addition, it is recommended that prior to attending this course participants spend some time in the field, at bridge inspections sites, but it is not required.


  • Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:
    • Discuss the duties and responsibilities of a bridge inspector and define inspection concepts including personal and public safety issues associated with bridge inspections
    • List the inspection equipment needs for various types of bridges and site conditions
    • Describe, identify, evaluate, and document the various components and deficiencies that can exist on bridge components and elements
    • List design characteristics and describe inspection methods and locations for common concrete, steel, and timber structures
    • Identify and evaluate the various culvert and waterway deficiencies
    • Discuss the need to inspect underwater portions of bridges
    • Describe nondestructive evaluation methods for basic bridge materials
    • Demonstrate how to field inspect and evaluate common concrete, steel, and timber bridges

Target Audience

The target audience for this course includes Federal, State, and local highway agency employees; and consultants involved in inspecting bridges or in bridge inspection management and leadership positions. A background in bridge engineering is strongly recommended. ALL participants must successfully complete (score 70% or better) one of the three prerequisite requirements noted above within two years prior to attending this training.

Nearby Hotels –

There are many hotels in the Ames area that are just minutes away from the classroom. Please contact me if you have questions regarding hotels.

For More Information

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Paul Albritton at 515-294-1231 or