National Credential
Credential: Certified Welder (CW)  In-Demand resource  GI Bill resource
Credentialing Agency: American Welding Society (AWS)

The American Welding Society (AWS), Certified Welder (CW) is a performance-based certification with no prerequisite courses or certifications required. The CW program tests welders on 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 CW are performed at AWS Accredited Testing Facilities located throughout the world and are performance based. Final certification will provide candidates with a "transferrable" credential.

More information can be found on the certifying agency's website.

Renewal Period: 6 months

Certified Welder (CW)

The following Coast Guard Enlisted Ratings provide training and/or experience that contributes to attaining this credential:

Enlisted Occupation Occupation Type Related As Career Phase CG$
AMT Aviation Maintenance Technician Rating Some Early Career
DC Damage Controlman Rating Some Late Career
DV Diver Rating Most Early Career CG Bucks

Coast Guard Occupations Table Legend


Related As

The military occupations shown in this table are related to this credential in one of three ways: Most, Some, or Other.

Most:  Most icon This credential is directly related to most of the major duties associated with the military occupation (at least 80%). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Some:  Some icon This credential is related to some tasks associated with the duties of the military occupation (related 80% to at least one or more critical tasks but less than 80% of all of the entire military occupation). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Other:  Other icon This credential is related to this military occupation, but is more advanced or specialized and therefore will most likely require additional education, training, or experience.


Career Phase*

Early Career Phase   Early Career Phase icon

    1-3 years experience; Enlisted E1 through E4:

    A credential that can be obtained typically after completing “A” School and/or completing work experience during a Service Member’s first tour.

Mid Career Phase   Mid Career Phase icon

    4-10 years experience; Enlisted E5 through E6:

    A credential that can be obtained typically after completing advanced training, education (i.e. “C” School), and/or work experience during multiple tours.

Late Career Phase   Late Career Phase icon

    10+ years experience; Enlisted E7 and Above:

    A credential that typically requires completion of multiple advanced training courses, extensive work experience, and/or documented experience in specific positions applicable to that credential.

*Diver (DV) and Musician (MU) career phases are specific to those Ratings. See those Rating pages for more information.


CG$  CG Bucks icon

Coming Soon - Coast Guard policy regarding service member eligibility requirements to participate in the Voluntary Credentialing Program is under review with a projected release date of first quarter FY20.

Certified Welder (CW)

Eligibility Requirements ()

Note: This credential may have multiple options for becoming eligible. Listed below are the minimum requirements based on the minimum degree required. To view other options, see the Eligibility tab.

  • Credential Prerequisite
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Training
  • Membership
  • Other
  • Fee

Exam Requirements ()

  • Written Exam
  • Oral Exam
  • Practical Exam
  • Performance Assessment

Renewal Period: 6 months

  • Continuing Education
  • Exam
  • Continuing Education OR Exam
  • Fee
  • Other

American Welding Society (AWS)
8669 NW 36 Street
# 130
Miami, FL  33166-6672
Phone: (800) 443-9353
Contact Page

Certified Welder (CW)

The Certified Welder (CW) credential has the following other requirements:

  • The CW program is open to anyone with a talent for welding. The CW test is strictly performance-based and there are no prerequisite courses or certifications required prior to testing.

Certified Welder (CW)

A performance assessment will be administered. The candidate will deposit a sound weld that will be inspected by an AWS Certified Welding Inspector (CWI). The candidate will be evaluated according to their ability to properly adhere to the Welding Procedure Specification, selected from available QC7 Supplements, which includes fit-up, assembly, and positioning.

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the Certified Welder (CW) examination:

An additional resource is Safari Books Online, a searchable digital library that provides online access to thousands of books, training videos and conference sessions. See the Educational Resources page here on COOL to learn how to get free access.

Certified Welder (CW)

Renewal Period: 6 months

The Certified Welder (CW) credential has the following recertification information:

  • CW certification is renewed every six months by paying a renewal fee and submitting a certification maintenance form, as required by the Code of Acceptance that governed the certification holder's test. The certification holder's employer must sign the certification maintenance form to verify that the certification holder is still performing the same welding originally tested for.

    Note: Most codes require maintenance every six months. Certification holders should check the requirements of the standard that governs their certification to assure that maintenance is received by AWS at the proper intervals.