Certified Welder FAQs

Certified Welder FAQs

The Certified Welder program is a performance-based program with no prerequisite courses or certifications required. Final certification will provide "transferrable" credentials that you may take with you wherever you go.

The Certified Welder (CW) program test to procedures used in the structural steel, petroleum pipelines, sheet metal and chemical refinery welding industries. There is a provision to test to a company-supplied or non-code welding specification. Select the applicable Accredited Test Facility (ATF) list below to find a facility near you or call AWS at (800)443-WELD or outside the U.S. (305)443-WELD, ext. 273. 

Who is eligible to become an AWS Certified Welder?

The AWS Certified Welder program is open to anyone with a talent for welding. Since the test is strictly performance-based, there are no prerequisite courses or certifications required prior to testing. If you are able to do the weld necessary to pass the test, then you are eligible to become an AWS Certified Welder.

Why become an AWS Certified Welder?

The AWS Certified Welder program is designed to provide "transferable" credentials to professional welders who have demonstrated a skill level wanted by industry. Volunteers, representing all sections of the welding industry, came to a consensus on the skills an AWS Certified Welder must demonstrate. This means your earned credentials reflect an industry need.

What is meant by "transferable"?

"Transferable" means your AWS Certification is not limited to a specific job, employer or location. It's the same in Florida as it is in Oregon, Minnesota or any other state-even overseas. This is because you have performed satisfactorily to a standard that has national and international acceptance. In addition, AWS has established and administers the AWS National Registry of Welders. Even though AWS Certified Welders are issued a qualification card, the Registry is frequently used by savvy employers to verify AWS Certification, or by contractors seeking welders. If, for some reason, you do not wish to be included in the AWS National Registry, you have the option of not being listed.

What are my certification choices?

The AWS Certified Welder program allows you to test to those procedures used in the structural steel, petroleum pipelines, sheet metal and chemical refinery welding industries. In addition, there is a provision to test to a company-supplied or non-code welding specification. To find out which Accredited Test Facility is convenient for you, and for more information on your options, visit the AWS website, or call AWS at (800) 443-WELD, ext. 273.

How do I "demonstrate" my skill?

On the day of your scheduled appointment at an AWS Accredited Test Facility, you will deposit a sound weld that will be inspected by an AWS Certified Welding Inspector (CWI). Your ability to properly adhere to the Welding Procedure Specification, selected from available QC7 Supplements, includes fit-up, assembly, and positioning.

What happens if I fail the test the first time?

If you fail the test, you may retest at any time. It is best to discuss this with your AWS Accredited Test Facility representative, who will be able to assist you in scheduling a new test date.

When do I get my card?

While you'll learn if you passed the test immediately, AWS will receive your application, test results and registration fee up to two weeks after your skill demonstration. (This varies; check with your selected AWS Accredited Test Facility.) You should receive your Certification card and Maintenance Form from the AWS Certification Department within four to six weeks.

How long is my certification valid?

AWS Certification remains valid as long as you submit your Certification Maintenance Form every six months as required by the Code of Acceptance that governs your test. Visit the Certified Welder page on the AWS site for renewal pricing. As long as you can verify (have your employer sign the form) that you are still performing the same welding as you originally tested for, your certification will still be valid.

What if I let my certification lapse?

A 60-day administrative extension period is allowed. During this time your certification will be considered expired. If the Maintenance Form is received within this time, and the renewal requirements have been met, your certification will be renewed from the date of expiration. An Additional late fee of $50 will be asset if the Maintenance is submitted after the expiration date.

For example,

  1. Certification issued, June 1, 2016
  2. Certification expires, December 1, 2016
  3. Administrative extension period, December 1, 2016 to February 1, 2017, a $50 late fee will be charged.
  4. After February 1, 2016, welder must re-test, to regain certification.

How does my employer benefit from my AWS Certified Welder status?

Your employer, and thousands of similar companies around the country, could save millions of dollars now spent on the constant retesting of welders. Getting certified also tells your employer that you're a serious professional and a valuable member of the team. Being AWS Certified should put you at the front of the line for new hires, too.

What is an "AWS Accredited Test Facility"?

A testing laboratory or facility can become nationally accredited by submitting an application and meeting all the requirements under the AWS QC4 Standard. This Standard assures that this lab or facility has met the basic requirements for equipment and its calibration, procedures and knowledgeable personnel. The requirements of QC4 assure quality control of welder testing for the industry.

What does it mean to test at an ATF?

It means that you would be tested to the highest standards of the industry resulting in becoming a highly skilled welder.

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