What is the American Welding Society?
The American Welding Society (AWS) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1919 which boasts the latest resources for welders and other professionals worldwide (www.aws.org). According to their website, their goal is to, “advance the science, technology and application of welding and related joining disciplines.” Their services, website, and committees cover a broad range of topics from industry news and history, to international certification and local leadership opportunities.
AWS provides similar services as other professional organizations. For a small yearly fee (relative to other professional organizations) AWS offers benefits to their members such as: access to welding journals and other publications, access to the AWS members only website, discounts on conferences, discounts on certification and education programs, discounts on products, networking opportunities, access to a health insurance program, and access to an online job listing (www.aws.org). Memberships are available for individuals, welders, students, and corporations–companies and educational institutions (www.aws.org). More information about the organization of AWS is found below under “Committees and Sections.”
Certification and Endorsements
The AWS provides multiple certification and endorsement services. Learn more about the different kinds of certification and how often they need to be renewed by reading about it on the “certification” tab on the AWS website (www.aws.org). Fees, exam information, and certification documents (forms and applications) are provided.
Individual certification programs, including some pre-certification seminars, offered by AWS, include certificates and endorsements for the following:
- Radiographic interpreters
- Sales representatives
In addition to these programs AWS also provides contact information for certification internationally.
AWS Website (www.aws.org)
Current industry news, announcements, the AWS bookstore, welding publications, job search, and other valuable resources can be found here. The website provides information about upcoming events such as welding shows, conferences, and seminars. Their website also offers a free online verification service (found at: www.aws.org/w/a/certification/index.html) to verify certified welders and welding inspectors.
To find more information about careers in welding click on the “careers” tab, which takes you to www.careersinwelding.com/. This site is an educational “web portal” about the welding industry, done by AWS and the National Center for Welding Education and Training. This site is an excellent resource for potential future welders, educators, as well as professionals in the field. You can find company profiles, resume building tips, welding school information, fun facts, salary information, welding videos, industry news, and information about the history and future of the welding industry.
AWS Committees and Sections
The AWS is divided into several committees including:
- Brazing and Soldering Maufacturers Committee (BSMC)
- International Institute of Welding (IIW)
- Resistance Welding Manufacturing Alliance (RWMA)
- Technical Committees
- Welding Equipment Manufacturers Committee (WEMCO)
- Safety and Health Committee
These committees serve as forums where members can promote the development of their industry nationally and internationally. For example, the BSMC “Provide[s] a common voice to the brazing & soldering industry, government bodies, and technical standards organizations worldwide” (www.aws.org). Each committee has their own website, within the AWS site, devoted to their specific industry, detailing meetings, articles and research, education—including awards and scholarships, technical literature, and news.
AWS sections are the local bodies of AWS that hold meetings. In the United States they are divided into 22 districts. Additionally, there are over 80 student chapters nationwide (www.aws.org). Links to the districts, chapters, and section websites can be found on the AWS website.
The AWS sections and chapters provide valuable leadership opportunities. Members who volunteer to be chapter officers are provided with leadership skills and networking opportunities (www.aws.org). This is especially valuable for students, who are the future of this industry.
Written by Melanie Manser