American Welding Society

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American Welding Society
TypeNon-Profit Organization
HeadquartersMiami, FL
Robert W. Roth

The American Welding Society (AWS) was founded in 1919 as a non-profit organization to advance the science, technology and application of welding and allied joining and cutting processes, including brazing, soldering and thermal spraying.

Headquartered in Miami, Florida, and led by a volunteer organization of officers and directors, AWS serves over 73,000 members worldwide and is composed of 22 Districts with 250 Sections and student chapters.


The roots of the American Welding Society stretch back to World War I, when the sudden demands of swiftly producing military equipment brought about the need for standardization of the manufacturing industry. An evolving metal joining process, welding, suddenly became very necessary to enhance the war effort. To ensure that industry took advantage of this technology, President Woodrow Wilson called upon a Harvard professor, Comfort A. Adams, to chair the Welding Committee of the Emergency Fleet Corp.

Welding performed well in the war effort and its success motivated Adams in 1919 to bring together industry leaders for the purpose of merging the Welding Committee of the Emergency Fleet Corp. and the National Welding Council into a new organization, the purpose of which was to provide dependable and objective information on the developing technology of welding. On March 28, 1919, the American Welding Society was born for that purpose, with Adams serving as its first President.[citation needed]

That first year the Society grew to 217 members; introduced the Journal of the American Welding Society, a technical publication with a life of one issue, but the precursor of the Welding Journal; found a home in the Engineering Societies Building in New York City; and established the foundation of the committee system for the production of its operating procedures and industry standards on welding. In 1920, the first local Section was organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[citation needed]

By 1922, the American Welding Society had held its first Annual Meeting. Attendees were told of the formation of Sections in eight cities, and also of the establishment of the Journal of the American Welding Society. However, the first meeting also called into discussion the growing financial issues surrounding the depression and proposed solutions to alleviate it. Financial reports delivered at the meeting stated an income for fiscal year ending March 31, 1922, of $12,683.74. The budget for fiscal year 1922-23 was projected at $15,540. It was clear more earnings were needed, so the Society turned to increasing membership numbers of advertising in the Journal as a solution.[citation needed]


The Doral, FL headquarters for the American Welding Society
This sculpture sits in the lobby of the American Welding Society headquarters.

The American Welding Society's first headquarters were located in New York City, inside the Engineering Societies' Building. For 42 years the organization held all their business in this building, before finally making the move to the United Engineering Center, which was also in New York City. In 1971 the Society once again moved their headquarters – this time to Miami, Florida. The American Welding Society held this location for 30 years before buying its current property in Doral, Florida – only seven miles northwest of the old facility.[citation needed]

In August 2012 the American Welding Society moved from their longtime headquarters just outside Coral Gables to their current location in Doral. During the grand opening of the new building, AWS President William Rice said "Our newly renovated five-story building in Doral offers us exactly what we need. It gives us more than three times the office and meeting space of our previous headquarters, and it provides room for our board, committee, and educational activities.”[1]

The lobby of the headquarters features a bronze sculpture created by sculptor Gregory Johnson and donated to the American Welding Society by President Rice and his wife Cherry.[citation needed]

Welding Journal[edit]

The first and only issue of the Journal of the American Welding Society

The publication currently known as the Welding Journal was born in October 1919 with a different name. The Journal of the American Welding Society was its original title – and it had just one issue under this name. In the first publication, American Welding Society President Comfort A. Adams wrote, "The American Bureau of Welding is the authoritative body to establish the facts. To make the most use of the facts, however, requires another sort of machinery and the organization that does this is the American Welding Society. Its function is not to supply the knowledge but to spread it and assist in putting it to practical uses. It is the Society, for instance, which publishes this Journal, which will push matters of importance to welding and which will open out new fields for its use. It holds regular meetings to discuss matters relating to welding, to act upon the recommendation of the Bureau and to initiate further activities. This division of the work, while it has created some confusion on account of the similarity of the names, is a logical one, and will be found effective in operating as was clearly indicated by the experience with the old Welding Committee."[2]

Operating costs were too high for the Journal, and it was not until 1922 that the publication was reborn under its current name thanks to advertising earnings.

The society explained the advertising move in their first issue of the newly named Welding Journal. "Advertising is also included in this issue, as it was impossible to continue monthly publication without increased revenue. The dues from members of which the National Organization retains half (the other half being returned to local sections) is barely sufficient to pay the ordinary expenses of the Society. Moreover, several members of the Board of Directors feel that these advertisements are of interest to our members and add to the value of the Journal."[3]

Since the move to advertising, the Welding Journal has been published continually and continues to be an resource for issues and advancements concerning all types of materials joining, metal fabrication, and construction. It is offered as a benefit to members of the Society, and includes information of the latest products, trends, technology, and events; including articles covering everything from testing and inspection, maintenance and repair, design, training, personal safety, and brazing and soldering.

The Welding Journal has earned more than 60 editorial and design awards, including multiple Charlie Awards from the Florida Magazine Association (FMA), and Tabbie Awards from the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI).

The Society now also publishes the Welding Journal en Español – a free quarterly publication containing tailored articles written by and for Mexican and Latin American professionals. The Welding Journal en Español has a circulation of 10,000 printed copies and 40,000 digital copies. Along with this publication, the Welding Journal em Português is a magazine distributed in Brazil to coincide with the Brazil Welding Show that takes place every two years in São Paulo, Brazil.


The American Welding Society offers a number of certification programs that recognize and document expertise and knowledge in specific welding-related disciplines, including:

  • Certified Welding Inspector
  • Senior Certified Welding Inspector
  • Certified Welding Educator
  • Certified Radiographic Interpreter
  • Certified Welding Supervisor
  • Certified Welding Sales Representative
  • Certified Welding Engineer
  • Certified Welder
  • Certified Robotic Arc Welding

Since the Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) program was introduced in 1976, AWS has certified over 100,000 welding inspectors alone, plus thousands more working professionals across the other certification categories. Certification is accomplished through testing and evaluation of corresponding procedures. The Radiographic Interpretation Certification, for example, includes a detailed general knowledge exam, a test of specific information from the AWS code book on radiographic quality and interpretation, and a practical exam testing the individual's ability to read radiographic films.[4] Most AWS certifications are typically renewed after a period of three years, and are required to satisfy re-certification requirements every nine years.

Welders are required to take a qualification test at an AWS Accredited Testing Facility. Welders must mail their qualification test record to AWS with a completed AWS Welder Application in order to have an AWS certification issued. AWS Welders are required to submit a Maintenance of Welder Certification Form to renew their certifications every six months.


Endorsements are supplemental inspection credentials available to all AWS Certified Welding Inspectors (CWIs) and Senior Certified Welding Inspectors (SCWIs) to enhance an individual’s credentials. The examinations offered as endorsements to the CWI/SCWI programs are also offered as stand-alone exams to non-CWIs/SCWIs who wish to enhance their educational background.

Below are the available endorsement certifications that AWS offers as of 2020.[citation needed]

  • D1.1 Structural Steel
  • D1.2 Structural Aluminum
  • D1.5 Welding
  • D15.1 Railroad
  • D17.1 Aerospace
  • API 1104 Pipeline
  • Structural Drawing Reading
  • Structural Bolting Inspection
  • ASME Pressure Piping B31.1 and B31.3
  • ASME Pressure Vessel Section VIII, Div. 1

Accredited Test Facilities[edit]

The American Welding Society also certifies the Accredited Test Facilities (ATF) which play an integral part in the operation of their Certification program. The ATF program establishes minimum requirements for test facilities, their personnel and equipment to qualify for accreditation to test and qualify welders. This program is open to all qualified test facilities that may be a part of an independent laboratory, manufacturing plant, educational institution, or other entity. American Welding Society ATFs are listed on the official AWS website and advertised in the American Welding Society's Welding Journal magazine.

The ATF program requires that a facility implements a quality assurance program that meets the requirements established in the AWS QC4-89, Standard for the Accreditation of Testing Facilities.[5] The requirements include that the facility has a Quality Manual that controls the activities related to the testing of welders in the facility according to AWS QC7, Standard for AWS Certified Welders. The facility must also have a CWI on staff or contracted to perform the welder qualification tests.

The American Welding Society explains the benefits of the ATF program on their website by writing "Entrusting welder certification to ATF specialists makes good business sense for contractors and fabricators. Companies are increasingly realizing the shortcomings of self-qualification and switching to AWS Accredited Test Facilities to test and qualify their welders. ATFs help them to save money, improve productivity, and reduce liability by entrusting their welder certification to the experts."[6]

Certified Welding Fabricator[edit]

American Welding Society certifications are not only available to individuals. Companies may also become an official AWS Certified Welding Fabricator (CWF). The American Welding Society describes the program as being "designed to recognize those select companies who prove they have the resources, procedures, and personnel to apply a quality management system to the welding fabrication activities."[7]

The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and the American Welding Society have established a reciprocity agreement whereby AISC Certified Fabricators are also eligible to receive certification as an AWS Certified Welding Fabricator. The AISC certification program criteria fully satisfy the AWS Welding Fabricator Certification program requirements. AISC Fabricators that hold current building structures and/or bridge certification may apply to AWS and pay a minimal fee to also attain the AWS Certified Welding Fabricator certification.


As of April 2015, the American Welding Society had approximately 73,000 members around the world. The Society offers four types of membership options:

  • Individual member
  • Welder member
  • Corporate member
  • Student member

AWS codes and specifications[edit]

AWS publishes codes on multiple aspects of welding and materials joining. The code books are assigned specific letters and numbers for easy reference, and many welders will refer to a specific code letter/number combination when referring to the code book. Different welding methodologies, inspection methods, and metals are published under different codes. For example, AWS B1.11 explains how to visually examine welds; AWS B2.1-1-004 explains welding carbon steel of thickness range of 18 through 10 gauge with semiautomatic metal gas arc welding; and AWS C2.20/C2.20M explains metalized zinc cathodic protection systems. Some codes also describe the standards used by AWS to certify welders, inspectors, and welding educators. All codes are available in hard copy, and in recent years AWS has started to make most codes available online.

A very influential AWS code is AWS D1.1,[8] which covers all general requirements for structural welding. This code has been adopted by ANSI as a National Standard in the United States.


The American Welding Society extends its reach into local communities through the use of their local sections and student chapters. The Society is composed of 250 sections around the world, and AWS describes them as "the very heart and foundation of AWS."[9]

Section members have the opportunity to network, gain knowledge, and get answers to welding questions from Section members with years of experience. Professional Development Hours may be earned by attending technical meetings, and other planned activities may include educational seminars, plant tours, social events, student programs, community projects and more.

List of American Welding Society sections[edit]

Section name Section number City
Acadiana Section 148 Lafayette, LA
Alaska Section 125 Anchorage, AK
Arizona Section 55 Phoenix, AZ
Arrowhead Section 131 Duluth, MN
Atlanta Section 25 Atlanta, GA
Auburn–Opelika Section 508 Auburn, AL
Baton Rouge Section 86 Baton Rouge, LA
Birmingham Section 21 Birmingham, AL
Blackhawk Section 113 Rockford, IL
Boston Section 9 Boston, MA
California Central Coast Section 190 Santa Maria, CA
Carolina Section 87 Greensboro, NC
Central Arkansas Section 145 Little Rock, AR
Central Louisiana Section 509 Alexandria, LA
Central Mass / Rhode Island Section 30 Worcester, MA
Central Michigan Section 101 Jackson, MI
Central Pennsylvania Section 105 Williamsport, PA
Central Texas Section 144 Waco, TX
Central Valley Section 176 Fresno, CA
Charlotte Section 140 Charlotte, NC
Chattanooga Section 31 Chattanooga, TN
Chicago Section 002 Chicago, IL
Cincinnati Section 026 Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland Section 006 Cleveland, OH
Colorado Section 039 Denver, CO
Columbia Section 154 Columbia, SC
Columbus Section 036 Columbus, OH
Connecticut Section 057 Hartford, CT
Corpus Christi Section 153 Corpus Christi, TX
Cumberland Valley Section 197 Hagerstown, MD
Dayton Section 033 Dayton, OH
Detroit Section 011 Detroit, MI
Drake Well Section 168 Franklin, PA
East Texas Section 150 Longview, TX
El Paso Section 198 El Paso, TX
Eastern Iowa Section 162 Cedar Rapids, IA
Florida West Coast Section 112 Tampa, FL
Fox Valley Section 074 Appleton, WI
Greater Huntsville Section 095 Huntsville, AL
Green & White Mountains Section 116 Rutland, VT
Hawaii Section 020 Honolulu, HI
Holston Valley Section 077 Kingsport, TN
Houston Section 022 Houston, TX
Idaho / Montana Section 185 Idaho Falls, ID
Illinois Valley Section 139 LaSalle, IL
Indiana Section 027 Indianapolis, IN
Inland Empire Section 156 Richland, WA
Iowa Section 066 Des Moines, IA
Johnny Appleseed Section 191 Van Wert, OH
Johnstown-Altoona Section 501 Johnstown, OH
J.A.K. Section 090 Joliet, IL
Kansas Section 035 Wichita, KS
Kansas City Section 016 Kansas City, MO
Kern Section 170 Bakersfield, CA
Lake Charles Section 142 Lake Charles, LA
Lakeshore Section 166 Manitowoc, WI
Lehigh Valley Section 047 Bethlehem, PA
Lexington Section 181 Lexington, KY
Long Beach / Orange County Section 028 Long Beach, CA
Long Island Section 076 Westbury, NY
Los Angeles / Inland Empire Section 008 Los Angeles, CA
Louisville Section 048 Louisville, KY
Madison-Beloit Section 079 Madison, WI
Mahoning Valley Section 018 Youngstown, OH
Maine Section 102 Portland, ME
Mid-Ohio Valley Section 129 Parkersburgh, WV
Mid-Plains Section 182 North Platte, NE
Milwaukee Section 014 Milwaukee, WI
Mississippi Valley Section 194 Quincy, IL
Mobile Section 091 Mobile, AL
Morgan City Section 108 Morgan City, LA
Nashville Section 045 Nashville, TN
Nebraska Section 081 Omaha, NE
Nevada Section 135 Las Vegas, NV
New Jersey Section 012 Union, NJ
New Mexico Section 075 Albuquerque, NM
New Orleans Section 042 New Orleans, LA
New York Section 004 New York, NY
Niagara Frontier Section 010 Buffalo, NY
North Central Florida Section 188 Gainesville, FL
North Florida Section 110 Jacksonville, FL
North Texas Section 053 Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
Northeast Mississippi Section 147 Columbus, MS
Northeast Tennessee Section 071 Oak Ridge, TN
Northeastern Carolina Section 137 Greenville, NC
Northern Michigan Section 158 Traverse City, MI
Northern New York Section 005 Schenectady, NY
Northern Plains Section 117 Fargo, ND
Northwest Section 019 Minneapolis, MN
Northwest Ohio Section 046 Toledo, OH
Northwestern Pennsylvania Section 060 Erie, PA
Oklahoma City Section 023 Oklahoma City, OK
Ozark Section 136 Springfield, MO
Palm Beach Section 193 Palm Beach, FL
Pascagoula Section 056 Pascagoula, MS
Peoria Section 038 Peoria, IL
Philadelphia Section 001 Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh Section 003 Pittsburgh, PA
Portland Section 052 Portland, OR
Puget Sound Olympic Section 041 Seattle, WA
Racine-Kenosha Section 132 Racine, WI
Reading Section 100 Reading, PA
Rio Grande Valley Section 507 Brownsville, TX
Rochester Section 032 Rochester, NY
Sabine Section 093 Beaumont, TX
Sacramento Valley Section 174 Sacramento, CA
Saginaw Valley Section 061 Saginaw, MI
St. Louis Section 017 St. Louis, MO
San Antonio Section 083 San Antonio, TX
San Diego Section 092 San Diego, CA
San Fernando Valley Section 109 San Fernando, CA
San Francisco Section 007 San Francisco, CA
Sangamon Valley Section 070 Springfield, IL
Santa Clara Valley Section 078 San Jose, CA
Sierra Nevada Section 172 Carson City, NV
Siouxland Section 133 Sioux Falls, SD
South Carolina Section 097 Charleston, SC
South Florida Section 080 Miami, FL
Southeast Nebraska Section 160 Lincoln, NE
Southern Colorado Section 146 Colorado Springs, CO
Southwest Virginia Section 179 Roanoke, VA
Spokane Section 167 Spokane, WA
Stark Central Section 085 Canton, OH
Syracuse Section 049 Syracuse, NY
Tidewater Section 121 Norfolk, VA
Triangle Section 151 Raleigh, NC
Tri-River Section 107 Evansville, IN
Tri-State Section 103 Charleston, WV
Tulsa Section 034 Tulsa, OK
Twin Tiers Section 189 Elmira, NY
Upper Peninsula Section 114 Escanaba, MI
Utah Section 059 Salt Lake City, UT
Washington, DC Section 024 Washington, DC
West Michigan Section 051 Grand Rapids, MI
West Tennessee Section 106 Memphis, TN
Western Carolina Section 195 Asheville, NC
Wheeling Section 186 Wheeling, WV
Willamette Valley Section 141 Albany, OR
Wyoming Section 192 Green River, WY
York-Lancaster Section 043 York, PA
Section name Section number Country
Alberta Section 216 Canada
British Columbia Section 218 Canada
Chile Section 227 Chile
Chihuahua Section 233 Mexico
Costa Rica Section 230 Costa Rica and Panama
Ecuador Section 226 Ecuador
Emirates Section 201 Emirates
Germany Section 209 Germany
India Section 221 India
Israel Section 202 Israel
Korea Section 225 South Korea
Malaysia Section 231 Malaysia
Monterrey Section 232 Mexico
Montreal Section 206 Canada
Peru Section 212 Peru
Rio de la Plata Section 202 Argentina
Saskatoon Section 224 Canada
Saudi Arabia Section 205 Saudi Arabia
Shanghai Section 234 China
Singapore Section 229 Singapore
Skandinavia Section 208 Denmark
Taiwan Section 211 Taiwan
Trinidad and Tobago Section 214 Trinidad and Tobago

AWS Foundation[edit]

The American Welding Society Foundation was founded in 1989 to support research and education in welding and related technologies. It is committed to annually awarding fellowships to deserving graduate students for important research in areas important to the requirements of industry. Accordingly, each year the AWS Foundation administers two $25,000 grants – matched in kind by the participating universities. The award of scholarships to vocational and undergraduate college students is also a high priority.[citation needed]

AWS awards[edit]

The Image of Welding Awards, presented by the American Welding Society and WEMCO, an association of welding manufacturers, recognize individuals and organizations that have shown exemplary dedication to promoting the image of welding in their communities. Starting in 2015, the awards will now be known as the Excellence in Welding Awards. Recipients of this award will receive a zinc die-cast, 24k gold statue designed by New York firm, Society Awards.[10]

Standing committees[edit]

The American Welding Society also has several standing committees, or partner organizations, which help promote and advance different facets of the welding industry. These include:

  • BSMC – Brazing & Soldering Manufacturers Committee
  • ITSA – International Thermal Spray Association
  • RWMA – Resistance Welding Manufacturing Alliance
  • WEMCO – An association of Welding Manufacturers


Position Name
2019 president Robert W. Roth
Vice president Dr. W. Richard Polanin
Vice president Dennis Eck
Vice president Michael A. Krupnicki
Treasurer Carey Chen

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "American Welding Society Celebrates Grand Opening of New Global Headquarters — CryoGas International". Archived from the original on 2015-04-22. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Welding Journal". 1922.
  4. ^ AWS B5.15 "Specification for the Qualification of Radiographic Interpreters" (2010)
  5. ^[bare URL PDF]
  6. ^ "Accredited Test Facilities : Facility Accreditation : Certification : American Welding Society". Archived from the original on 2015-04-22. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  7. ^ "Certified Welding Fabricator : Facility Accreditation : Certification : American Welding Society". Archived from the original on 2015-04-22. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  8. ^ AWS D1.1 "Structural welding code - Steel" (2010)
  9. ^ "About AWS : About : American Welding Society".
  10. ^ "Excellence in Welding Awards".