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Certified welder vs passing a test

General welding questions that dont fit in TIG, MIG, Stick, or Certification etc.

Certified welder vs passing a test

Postby Farmwelding » Fri May 05, 2017 5:38 pm

What's the difference between taking say a 3G stick weld test at school or at a work place for a job and becoming a certified welder with a special card? Private business, level of scrutiny? Or am I just thinking of something else that has a card. I think I've seen one that had certifications on it before though
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Re: Certified welder vs passing a test

Postby PeteM » Fri May 05, 2017 6:53 pm

An AWS certification stays with you. A qualification test is for the work being done. I did certs in 3G for 1/8 7018 and .045 flux core for unlimited (1in.) but you always have to do a qualifier regardless of certs. And often there are follow up qualifiers for different codes, electrodes, metals etc. every time another contract starts.

For example, at one place we had to qualify for asme IIIX or something on 1/2 in stainless, open root for .035 hard wire & flux core, carbon steel .035 & flux core, and carbon to stainless flux core in 2G and 3G, then re- qualify all of them again a couple months later for a new contract.

The cert. doesn't actually mean a whole lot. The qualifier gets you paid.
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Re: Certified welder vs passing a test

Postby Farmwelding » Fri May 05, 2017 7:33 pm

PeteM wrote:An AWS certification stays with you. A qualification test is for the work being done. I did certs in 3G for 1/8 7018 and .045 flux core for unlimited (1in.) but you always have to do a qualifier regardless of certs. And often there are follow up qualifiers for different codes, electrodes, metals etc. every time another contract starts.

For example, at one place we had to qualify for asme IIIX or something on 1/2 in stainless, open root for .035 hard wire & flux core, carbon steel .035 & flux core, and carbon to stainless flux core in 2G and 3G, then re- qualify all of them again a couple months later for a new contract.

The cert. doesn't actually mean a whole lot. The qualifier gets you paid.

So then a cert is more for a guy in it for himself when a company isn't requiring him to take a test then? Kind of just your credibility? Or is it hey look I've got certs look at me
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Re: Certified welder vs passing a test

Postby Otto Nobedder » Fri May 05, 2017 7:36 pm

PeteM wrote:An AWS certification stays with you. A qualification test is for the work being done. I did certs in 3G for 1/8 7018 and .045 flux core for unlimited (1in.) but you always have to do a qualifier regardless of certs. And often there are follow up qualifiers for different codes, electrodes, metals etc. every time another contract starts.

For example, at one place we had to qualify for asme IIIX or something on 1/2 in stainless, open root for .035 hard wire & flux core, carbon steel .035 & flux core, and carbon to stainless flux core in 2G and 3G, then re- qualify all of them again a couple months later for a new contract.

The cert. doesn't actually mean a whole lot. The qualifier gets you paid.


Yes, and no.

A qualification is task specific. A certification is field specific. Holding a certification does NOT exempt you from qualifying when you go to a new job, but it opens doors on the way to that qualification test. If you have current code welds under ASME IX, you'll get fast-tracked to the job's qualification test over the kid fresh out of school with a diploma.

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Re: Certified welder vs passing a test

Postby Otto Nobedder » Fri May 05, 2017 7:37 pm

Farmwelding wrote:So then a cert is more for a guy in it for himself when a company isn't requiring him to take a test then? Kind of just your credibility? Or is it hey look I've got certs look at me


That's a valid reason to hold certifications, too.

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Re: Certified welder vs passing a test

Postby Otto Nobedder » Fri May 05, 2017 7:43 pm

I will also point out, we have two fairly recent weld school graduates at my shop, both holding several certification under AWS, and they're still in training.

School is not intended to teach you the trade. It's intended to teach you how to learn the trade. Major distinction, that, and it should be explained better in school.

While instructors are teaching you to weld, you should be absorbing the learning process itself, so when you go to that first job, you're prepared to learn as quickly as you can.

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Re: Certified welder vs passing a test

Postby Farmwelding » Fri May 05, 2017 8:55 pm

Otto Nobedder wrote:I will also point out, we have two fairly recent weld school graduates at my shop, both holding several certification under AWS, and they're still in training.

School is not intended to teach you the trade. It's intended to teach you how to learn the trade. Major distinction, that, and it should be explained better in school.

While instructors are teaching you to weld, you should be absorbing the learning process itself, so when you go to that first job, you're prepared to learn as quickly as you can.

Steve

So if I go out and get some certifications I have a higher chance of getting a job than some guy who doesn't have it or at least have the higher opportunity?

Now how does one go about getting certifications?


The instructors at my local tech school push the whole "be learnable" thing. Be patient and learnable/teachable. A lot of guys just want to come and weld and pass the tests. The ones who make it come in listen to the guy, engage themselves, stay in their booth and figure things out fast, move on to things like pipe, listen and talk to the instructors and their experience, learn to use the torch, stack beads. This is what separates the fabricators and builders from the welder-the guy who can pass a test but can't cut.
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Re: Certified welder vs passing a test

Postby Otto Nobedder » Fri May 05, 2017 9:20 pm

Farmwelding wrote:
Now how does one go about getting certifications?



AWS kind-of sells theirs. You have to go to an AWS-qualified testing facility and take one or more of their certification tests, and your six-month membership (the duration of your certification without qualifying by on-the-job tested welds) is a part of the cost. At least that's the way I understand it. I've never certified for AWS, only qualified.

ASME IX, OTOH, you can take a qualifying test (from the specs in ASME IX) at any test facility familiar with the standard, pay for your x-ray and result certificate, and be certified in whatever that test qualifies you for. These, too, have a duration of six months, meaning if you've not done a passing "tested to the standard" weld within six months, you must do another test coupon.

Again, these are both only valuable at the interview. You will be tested to the employer's WPS. Even working as a contractor, you'll test. Working for yourself, it's a feather in your cap.

I've only worked one job I didn't test for, and I still don't know how that happened, since it was critical work.

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Re: Certified welder vs passing a test

Postby PeteM » Fri May 05, 2017 11:17 pm

Farmwelding wrote:The instructors at my local tech school push the whole "be learnable" thing. Be patient and learnable/teachable. A lot of guys just want to come and weld and pass the tests. The ones who make it come in listen to the guy, engage themselves, stay in their booth and figure things out fast, move on to things like pipe, listen and talk to the instructors and their experience, learn to use the torch, stack beads. This is what separates the fabricators and builders from the welder-the guy who can pass a test but can't cut.


That is very important. Welding covers a lot of ground, but their is an incredible amount of knowledge required to be considered really good or useful beyond just running a nice bead. Using shop machines like breaks, shears, benders, various saws and plasma machines, milling, lathes- the list is endless- and there are plenty of people who can. There really aren't many positions that are strictly welding. I've run into a couple of the "golden arm" type guys that insist that they only weld, but it has only been in passing as they were headed toward the door.

Another thing to keep in mind is that welding certs are a step in a process. The AWS has a sort of "school" of development and training to go from "This is a welding machine" to being a weld inspector or various other positions within the the whole realm of welding. There are also other organizations with their own sets of codes and standards like ASME, American Shipbuilding Assoc. and the American Petroleum Institute. And that is just in the US.

So yeah, remain teachable.
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