If you’re a CWI, then you probably know that at some point you’ll need to do your 9-year recertification. AWS offers a number of ways to complete that recertification. These options are designed to make the process easy, but with each path having its own set of requirements it can be tough to make a decision about how to recertify. In this second installment of our two-part guide to recertification, AWS instructor Professor Jim Greer offers some helpful advice.
When it comes to questions about recertification, it doesn’t get much better than Professor Jim Greer. Greer teaches the AWS 9-year Recertification Seminar. It might not surprise you then that Greer highly recommends the course as a means of pursuing recertification. However, Greer’s reasons aren’t limited to the course’s convenience.
“People who take the class love it,” Greer said, “lots of people who come to the class with a chip on their shoulder end up leaving enamored by the networking opportunities and the insight into the diversity of the welding industry that the course provides”. The varied professional backgrounds of the participants serves to enhance the course experience.
In a similar vein, Greer highly recommends the continuing education and endorsement options. “It’s very useful,” Greer said, “you can add credentials to your CWI while completing your recertification in the process”. It allows CWIs to expand their skill set. Greer advises anyone considering the continuing education or endorsement options to have the courses and endorsements approved in advance in order to make sure that they count towards recertification. No one wants to be caught thinking their recertification is complete, only to be forced to choose another option at the last minute.
No matter what recertification option a CWI chooses, it’s essential that applicants give themselves enough time to complete the process. Greer stressed that AWS National is always busy, and though they send out reminders about recertification as a courtesy, it’s up to each individual to keep track of the status of their certification. It’s also important for applicants to closely follow the recertification process. “Don’t assume anything,” Greer said, “make sure everything is right.” In particular, make sure everything on your recertification application is correct, legible and received at least six months prior to your nine-year deadline.
Similarly, if your employer signs you up for the AWS 9-year Recertification Seminar, Greer recommends that you check with the contact person at your company to make sure you’re receiving all AWS e-mails about the course prior to attending. “Many of the guys don’t see the e-mails and don’t realize they have homework to do before the class starts.” And getting this homework done in advance is critical to how much you’ll enjoy the class, Greer said. “Get ready well in advance, that way the week is really nice.”
As for taking only the test, Greer recommends against it. “People can fail the test,” Greer said, and failing isn’t always connected to preparedness. The test is difficult, and “it’s very easy to have a bad day,” Greer said. “I’ve had people who have gotten so nervous that they get sick to their stomach and then they can’t finish.”
Greer also addressed rumors about trick questions on the exam. “It’s not a trick, they’re just hard.” AWS is testing for material that a CWI is expected to know as per AWS B5.1:2003 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors and the CWI Body of knowledge. So if, for example, the test taker doesn’t know how to read footnotes, then they may not pass the exam. That’s it. Questions like those with footnotes aren’t tricks, they’re just difficult.
So which option will you choose? Let us know in the comments below. And for more on recertification check out 9-Year CWI Recertification Explained and AWS 9-Year Recertification. As always, we invite you to explore AWS Learning for blogs, podcasts, virtual lectures, and online courses designed to help you advance your career in welding.