Certified Welder Program
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 tests welders 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. Tests for Certified Welder (CW) are performed at AWS Accredited Testing Facilities located throughout the world.
Welders that want to attain AWS Certified Welder certification must make an appointment with one of several AWS-Accredited Testing Facilities. These testing facilities adhere to strict standards for welder testing and can test welders to AWS Standard Welding Procedures (SWPSs), industry standard specifications and company-supplied or non-code welding specifications.
The AWS Certified Welder program allows for welders to obtain multiple certifications to expand their credentials. Every certification that a welder earns increases the number of skills needed to perform a wide range of welding jobs. Certifications that a welder can obtain through the Certified Welder program include:
The AWS Certified Welder wallet card will not include the AWS Certified Welder certification name.
Becoming An Accredited Testing Facility
Companies have realized the shortcomings of self-qualification and discovered the advantages of utilizing AWS Accredited Test Facilities to test and qualify their welders. ATFs help them to save money, improve productivity, and reduce liability by entrusting their welder certification to the experts.
As a ATF facility, you enjoy increased awareness and recognition throughout the welding industry. If you are a facility interested in becoming an ATF, visit the ATF Facility Accreditation information page.
Certified Welder Instructions
The following instructions outline the requirements of the program.
- Read the QC7 Standard and its supplements.
- Contact the Accredited Test Facility representative at a facility near you to register for the test.
- Take your QC7 Standard with you at the time of the test.
- Once you have passed the test, the Accredited Test Facility will forward your application, qualifications test record and payment to the American Welding Society.
- The AWS Certification Department will process your application and will mail you your AWS Certified Welder Wallet Card along with renewal information.
- AWS will receive your application, test results and the registration fee up to two weeks after your skill demonstration. (This varies; check with your selected AWS Accredited Test Facility). You should receive your welder certification card and maintenance form from the AWS Certification Department two to three weeks from the date your application is received.
Certified Welder Requirements
The following requirements must be met in order to participate in this program:
- Test in accordance with one of the QC7 standards below (whichever is applicable):
- QC7, Standard for AWS Certified Welders
- QC7, Supplement C, Welder Performance Qualification Sheet Metal Test Requirements
- QC7, Supplement F, Chemical Plant and Petroleum Refinery Piping
- QC7, Supplement G, AWS Performance Qualification Test (generic supplement)
- Complete a welder performance qualification test at an AWS Accredited Test Facility for AWS Certified Welder Certification (domestic or international)
- Submit a completed Certified Welder Application for certification
- Submit Maintenance of Welder Certification prior to expiration, which verifies that the welding process was used.
QC7, Standard for AWS Certified Welders
QC7, Supplement C, Welder Performance Qualification Sheet Metal Test Requirements
QC7, Supplement F, Chemical Plant and Petroleum Refinery Piping
QC7, Supplement G, AWS Performance Qualification Test (generic supplement)
Welder testing must be scheduled with an AWS Accredited Testing Facility (ATF). During a scheduled appointment at an AWS ATF, the welder will deposit a sound weld that is inspected by an AWS Certified Welding Inspector (CWI). The welder’s ability to properly adhere to the Welding Procedure Specification, selected from available QC7 Supplements, includes fit-up, assembly, and positioning.
If a welder fails any test they can retest at any time. It is best to discuss retesting with the AWS Accredited Test Facility representative, who will be able to assist in scheduling a new test date.
To contact an Accredited Test Facility (ATF) near you, select one of the links below or call AWS at (800) 443-WELD or outside the U.S. (305) 443-WELD, extension 273.
Your certification remains valid as long as you submit your certification maintenance forms every six months as required by the Code of Acceptance that governed your test. As long as you can have it verified on the maintenance form that you are still performing the same welding as you originally tested for, your certification remains in effect.
A 60-day administrative extension period is allowed. During this time your certification will be considered expired. If the Maintenance Form is received within the administrative extension period, and the renewal requirements have been met, your certification will be renewed from the date of its expiration. An additional late fee of $50 will be asset if the Maintenance is submit after the expiration day and between the administrative extension period.
- Certification issued, June 1, 2016
- Certification expires, December 1, 2016
- Administrative extension period, December 1, 2016 to February 1, 2017, a $50 late fee will be charged.
- After February 1, 2017, welder must re-test, to regain certification
Note: Most codes require maintenance every (6) months. Check the requirements of the standard that governs your certification to assure that maintenance is received by AWS at the proper intervals.
The maintenance form can be found under the Documents tab of this page.
There is no recertification for the Certified Welder, only renewal maintenance of the certifications held.
CW Frequently Asked Questions
Become a Skilled Tradeperson
The demand for most trades is strong and getting stronger. The U.S. Department of Labor forecasts healthy growth in the neighborhood of 8 to 9 percent over the next decade. Jobs associated with building and rebuilding roads, bridges, water, and the power grid are expected to grow by double-digit percentages–faster than the overall economy.