SENSE Program FAQs

Q. If someone in the training organization is already an individual AWS Member, or if the training organization is already an EIM, what happens to the free membership from joining SENSE?

A. The AWS Membership Department will simply extend the training organization’s or the individual’s membership an extra year.

Q. Does AWS supply training materials to the SENSE Training Organization?

A. No, the program does not include training material. The SENSE specifications and guidelines advise the school on what to teach and provide recommended learning objectives, evaluation criteria, and learning activities.

Required knowledge-based assessments, workmanship sample procedures, and Performance Qualification Tests are provided.

Q. Is it required to have a CWI or CWE at the SENSE Training Organization?

A. No, CWIs and CWEs are not required. The documents read, “should be”, which means we encourage it, but do not require it.

Q. Do we need to hire an inspector or can our instructor inspect the student’s work?

A. For workmanship samples and Performance Qualifications Tests, the instructor is allowed to be the inspector. For knowledge-based assessments an Assessment Coordinator is required.

Q. Does AWS conduct an up-front audit?

A. There is no up-front audit. The letter of commitment states that the training organization commits to maintain the integrity of the program and will be subject to an audit should an impropriety arise.

Q. How many times can a student retake the exam?

A. Three retests are allowed. If the student fails the test and fails the three retests, it is recommended that the student have remedial training. The administration of the test and the number of retests is left to the discretion of the school.

Q. If the school’s current welding curriculum exceeds AWS SENSE program standards, can I still participate?

A. Of course. Remember, these specifications and guidelines are the minimum skills required to run an academic welding program. We encourage training organizations to exceed our recommended skills to meet academic or demographic requirements.

Q. Is there a fixed sequence of instruction?

A. There is no “fixed” sequence of instruction. The specifications and guidelines were designed as a road map. The actual order and method of instruction is left to the discretion of the training organization.

Q. What is the difference between a SENSE certificate and a Certified Welder certification?

A. The following chart describes some of the differences between a certification and a certificate.

Certified Welder Certification

SENSE Certificate

Scope of Certification/Certificate

The Certified Welder program is a performance-based program that tests an individual’s ability to successfully produce sound welds to a specific welding code, on a specific base material, within a specific range of variables, and on a specific process.

The SENSE Certificate Program verifies that an individual has attained a broad range of welding related competencies. The student is required to show competency not just in welding on various base metals and ranges, but also demonstrates understanding of welding theory and practice.


Must be conducted through an AWS Accredited Test Facility with a CWI that did not train the student recently.

Testing can be completed in the SENSE school’s welding lab, or any other suitable location, and may be supervised by the SENSE Instructor, Testing Supervisor, or any other person deemed appropriate by the school.

Written Exams

No written exams.

The SENSE program requires that students successfully complete a series of written exams to gain the certificate. These written exams cover a wide breath of welding theory ranging from welding safety, welding process fundamentals, and even welding inspection.

Number of Tests

To become a Certified Welder a student must only complete a practical welding test to a specific Welding Procedure Specification (WPS).

In order to complete a SENSE Certificate Program, a student must complete all required module written examinations and practical welding assessments. The total minimum number of assessments needed to gain a single SENSE Certificate is ten. Students can gain additional certificates with additional assessments.


Every 6 months.

No renewals.

Prerequisites for Certification/Certificate

In order to become a Certified Welder the student must complete a welder performance qualification test and submit an application to AWS.

In order to gain a SENSE certificate a student must complete all required module written examinations and all practical assessments.