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Rater Cert

MTC Rater Certification Exam

Oct. 24, 2024 - Stay Tuned for Registration Details!

The Rater Certification Exam is designed to improve the quality of pavement management data collected in the field by pavement raters.

Rater Certification Program

Pavement RatingUnder the Pavement Management Technical Assistance Program (P-TAP), even if a firm has pre-qualified, all of the firm’s raters must be certified by MTC through the Rater Certification Program (RCP). The RCP consists of passing a pavement distress manual survey exam, and an online knowledge exam. These exams are designed to evaluate the skills and knowledge of raters on pavement condition rating based on the MTC’s 8AC/7PCC-distress protocol. A rater must rate up to 24 test sites and achieve the required level of accuracy performing ratings as defined by the Passing Criteria (see below). Raters from non-P-TAP consulting firms and local agencies can be certified. The rater certification exam will be conducted once a year. Upon successful completion of the exams, a certificate will be issued that is valid for two years. Renewal is good for another two more years upon successful completion of a refresher course - Pavement Distress Identification Tutorial - and must pass an online exam. Every four years, all certified raters must take the field and knowledge exams to be recertified, provided all prerequisites are met.


The exam is open to pavement distress raters of P-TAP contractors, pavement management consultants, and local agencies.

At a minimum, raters interested in taking the exam must be familiar with the MTC pavement distress rating procedures. These are described in the 8AC/7PCC-Distress protocol based on a modified ASTM D6433. The distress definitions and descriptions are included in the MTC-published Pavement Condition Index Distress Identification Manual for Asphalt and Surface Treatment Pavements, 4th Edition, March 2016 and the Pavement Condition Index Distress Identification Manual for Jointed Portland Cement Concrete Pavements, 3rd Edition, March 2016.

In addition, to meet the prerequisites, the rater must have either attended the MTC Pavement Distress Survey class within the last four years, or attended an online self-paced Pavement Condition Assessment course.


Rating & Recording Method

Only the walking (manual) distress survey method is acceptable. Raters will be tested on both asphalt (AC) pavement and Portland cement concrete (PCC) pavement. The distress data collected on AC test sites must be for the full width of the street by 100 feet long (or half width by 100 feet if the width of the street is greater than 40 feet). Distress data for PCC will be rated based on each slab.

Up to 24 test sites will be designated and marked by paint on the pavement. No sampling of inspection units is required. Raters are not required to calculate the PCI; however, the total quantity of each distress and severity must be recorded. Raters should provide “raw data” on the inspection sheet (see samples Sample1_RatingSheet_AC & Sample2_RatingSheet_PCC), in StreetSaver format as described by the Inspection Import Excel Format (see SampleExcel), and in MobileRater format.

Passing Criteria 

To pass the field survey of the Rater Certification exam, raters must meet the following two criteria on distress data:

  • At least 50 percent of the PCI values for the inspected sections must be within +/- 8 PCI points of the reference, or “ground truth,” PCI values.
  • No more than 12 percent of the PCI values for the inspected sections can be greater than +/- 18 PCI points of the reference, or “ground truth,” PCI values.

Applicants will receive field survey results by e-mail on following the exam. Successful applicants will be notified by e-mail to take an online knowledge exam. A minimum score of 80% is required to pass. Only one retesting is allowed. Online exam must be completed within a month after receipt of notification.

Rules and Testing Procedures

To ensure a level playing field, failure to adhere to the following rules may result in disqualification:

  • A map of the test sites will be distributed at 7:45 am on the testing date at a meeting location determined by MTC.
  • All surveys must be finished within the allotted time period from 8 am to 4 pm.
  • All raw data (paper-based or electronic-based) must be submitted by 4 pm.
  • Only the walking (manual) distress survey method is allowed.
  • Each rater is required to perform the manual rating, no teaming is allowed.
  • Inspection sheets will be provided; no substitute sheets will be accepted.
  • AC test sites are marked in full width by 100 ft. in length or otherwise specified for AC. PCC test sites are marked from 10 to 30 slabs.
  • Raters are required to provide necessary personal protection equipment and tools for the survey.
  • Fees are not refundable and must be paid each time the exam is taken.
  • No retest is allowed for field survey exam; however, one retest is allowed for the online knowledge exam.
  • Field testing can be suspended due to inclement weather.

Why Getting Pre-qualified and Certified?

MTC is the developer of the StreetSaver pavement management software with more than 400 users nationwide, consisting predominantly of cities and counties. In addition to making StreetSaver available to local agencies, MTC uses the software to perform regional street and road condition and maintenance needs assessments for the 109 cities and counties in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 2008, StreetSaver has been used exclusively to perform the California local street and road statewide needs assessment. The statewide assessment is used to inform the Governor and Legislature of the critical funding shortfall for maintaining local streets and roads, and the consequences of deferring or reducing transportation funds for cities and counties.

To ensure quality data from our P-TAP consultants for our analysis, we have developed procedures and guidelines for managing the quality of pavement data collection activities. MTC’s Data Quality Management Plan includes consultant pre-qualification, quality control--before, during and after production-- and data acceptance. The pre-qualification process is part of the consultant selection and is an integral part of our data quality plan. The Rater Certification Program; however, ensures that raters are capable of providing the desired level of accuracy on pavement condition ratings. Some StreetSaver users at the local agency level, within or outside the Bay Area, may require that consultants’ raters be certified or the firm is prequalified by MTC to perform data collection.

Benefits of Becoming Pre-qualified and Certified:

  • Meet the minimum qualifications required for responding to RFPs/RFQs for MTC’s Pavement Management Technical Assistance Program
  • Increase local agencies’ confidence in database quality
  • Demonstrate your firm’s knowledge of pavement condition data collection with certified raters
  • Show that your firm is committed to providing quality data
  • Earn a trusted referral -- MTC will maintain a list of pre-qualified consultants and certified raters on the website that we refer local agencies to

If you have any questions on the exam, please Contact Us.


Oakland, CA
Further information to be provided upon sign up.
Thursday, April 11, 2024