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Certifications create credibility and alert employers that a welder has been trained and knows the basics of welding. Welders receive certification on a national level no matter where they live in the US and are tested through approved testing locations that are certified by the American Welding Society (AWS). Rhode Island does not have an accredited testing facility and residents must travel across state borders to be tested. In addition to national welding certification, some employers may also require a welder to be certified on company welding processes and standards.
Learn to weld. Take courses in welding through trade schools in your area. High schools and community colleges also schedule basic courses in welding. The American Welding Society has two schools listed in Rhode Island. One is Nationwide Diesel Technology in Smithfield, and the other is the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.
Study the Certified Welder Program qualification documents created by the American Welding Society. The welding certification test requires the welder to perform welds from the qualification documents. The AWS refers to these documents as QC7 standards and supplements and marks the documents with the code QC7-93. Make a copy of the standards for your own use and to take with you on your test day.
Contact a test facility and register for the certification test. Testing requires a $30 fee paid at the time the test is taken. The nearest accredited testing location for Rhode Island residents is the Plumbers Local No.12 located in Boston, Massachusetts, and can be contacted by calling 617-288-1010.
Pass the AWS certification test by performing the requested welds. Bring your copy of the QC7 Standards, your testing fee and personal identification with you on your test day. The supervisor giving the certification test will refer to the QC7 Standards and the welds in the standards as part of the test. The welds you make for testing purposes will be compared to the QC7 standards. A copy can be downloaded and printed from the AWS website.
Wait for the AWS to mail you a certification card and information about certification renewal. You will learn the day of testing whether you passed the test. However, your registration information, fees and test results must be sent from the accredited testing facility to the AWS for processing. Once AWS receives these documents, a certification card will be sent to you and you will be listed in the AWS certified welder database.
Complete the renewal directions sent to you by the AWS. Certified welders must renew their certification every six months by completing and returning a renewal form to the AWS. A welding certification will continue as long as the welder remembers to renew the certification every six months. There is no fee for renewal.
Alex Burke holds a degree in environmental design and a Master of Arts in information management. She's worked as a licensed interior designer, artist, database administrator and nightclub manager. A perpetual student, Burke writes Web content on a variety of topics, including art, interior design, database design, culture, health and business.