Friday, August 15, 2014

You’re getting your “qualified” and “certified” all cobbled together…

Hi Paul,

As I was looking through the AWS website I found accredited test facilities listings. Then digging a little deeper I found AWS QC4-89 (standards for accreditation of test facilities). I was of the understanding that given the CWI endorsement, I could certify welders to the standards laid out in D1.1.

Am I to understand that as a school, accreditation is where we need to get to in order to send welders out the door with a certification? If not, what is the accreditation good for, besides marketing?
I thought that I had a pretty good handle on where I was going with this, but now I am second guessing myself.
Once again, thanks for any clarification and/or advice you can give.

Richard F.

Hey Rich,
You’re getting your “qualified” and “certified” all cobbled together…
You may have been a qualified Welding Inspector (meaning you have the skills needed) and once a 3rd party evaluated those skills you became a Certified Welding Inspector (to QC-1).
I may be a qualified Welder (meaning I have the skills needed) and once someone evaluated my skills against a standard and found that I met that standard I became a Certified Welder (to my employer or my trade union…)
The AWS runs a Certified Welder Program (Much like a Certified Inspector, Certified Educator or Certified Supervisor).  To run a program like that the AWS would need testing facilities around the country to do the testing.  The AWS wants to keep “tight wraps” on the program to maintain the programs integrity so they developed a program to certify a facility.  So there are guidelines your facility would need to meet to become an AWS Certified Test Facility.
You can still administer welder qualification tests without being an AWS Certified Test Facility, but those welders would be certified per AWS-D1.1, not AWS Certified Welders.  There is a difference.
A Welder takes a test at your facility or at his/her employer and those test results are not transferable employer to employer.  That Welders qualifications/certifications are the property/responsibility of the company.  A Welder who goes through the steps of becoming an AWS Certified Welder keeps that certification and that certification is portable.

There ya have it.