OCtech Becomes AWS Accredited Test Facility


Photo of Welding program coordinator talking with students
Welding Program Coordinator Jimmie Johnson, right, talks with welding students, from left, Claude Shuler and Eric Bradley during a demonstration of OCtech’s welding simulator. The College was recently awarded American Welding Society Accredited Test Facility status, which means that OCtech can test and certify welding graduates and working professionals seeking AWS certification.

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College has become the third technical college in South Carolina – and the fourth site statewide – to be awarded American Welding Society Accredited Test Facility status.

As an ATF, the College can test and certify welding graduates and working professionals seeking AWS certification.

“American Welding Society certifications are the most stringent and most recognized qualifications that welders can obtain,” Welding Program Coordinator Jimmie Johnson said. “What this does is it gives us the ability to test welders and give them credentials for any kind of welding process that they might need.”

According to the AWS, ATFs play an integral part in the operation of the AWS Certified Welder Program. ATFs can help companies save money, improve productivity and reduce liability by entrusting their welding certification to the experts. Test sites are listed on the AWS website for those who need to certify welders and advertised in Welding Journal magazine.

To earn AWS ATF accreditation, Johnson was tasked with developing a quality assurance manual that outlines the facility’s organizational structure, procedures and corrective actions. An on-site audit was then conducted to review the manual, facility, equipment and operating procedures.

Johnson was also required to obtain his AWS Certified Welding Inspector credentials, which allows him to serve as OCtech’s site inspector.

“It took us a while to get here, but it was well-worth the effort,” he said. “The advantages to us are, number one, we’re going to attract students because we’re a bonafide American Welding Society testing facility, which means we’re a top-of-the-line program. Second, industries can send their welders to us to receive any of the thousands of different AWS certifications that they might need to fulfill job or contract requirements.”

While Johnson can’t certify his own students, he said that an American Welding Society CWI can be brought in to administer certification tests to his students.

“This is just another way that OCtech can provide a service to the community,” he said. “The accreditation is an asset all the way around.”

For more information about OCtech’s welding program or certifications through the AWS ATF, call Johnson at 803-535-1299 or visit www.octech.edu.

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