[2019] SolidWorks Certification Cost: Program and Exam Review

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Table of Contents (click for easy navigation)

  1. SOLIDWORKS Certification Overview
  2. SOLIDWORKS Associate Certification
  3. SOLIDWORKS Professional Certification
  4. SOLIDWORKS Expert Certification
  5. SOLIDWORKS Certification in Action
  6. SOLIDWORKS Certification Cost

Ask any professional draftsman, CAD technician, or engineer, and they will all agree on the importance of keeping your skills honed when it comes to a top-of-the-line 2D and 3D modeling software such as SolidWorks. The learning curve for this program is relatively steep, and even when users do start to get the hang of it, one can always afford to try to be more productive and innovative when it comes to certain drafting techniques and technical design challenges. Even seasoned SolidWorks veterans would be astonished at how many tips and tricks they still have yet to figure out.

A fairly big problem when it comes to new hires in an engineering or architectural firm is figuring out a potential hire’s skill when it comes to drafting software. How can employers be sure of the proficiency and speed of a potential employee when it comes to SolidWorks? How can you stand out in a new workplace and have team leaders recognize you? This is where SolidWork certification comes in.

Below, we’ll be detailing the different requirements you would have to attain before getting said certification and covering topics such as the time it takes and SolidWorks certification cost.

SOLIDWORKS Certification

SolidWorks is an industry standard when it comes to mechanical engineering and product design drawings. As such, getting certification with the program can distinguish designers and engineers from their peers. The developer of SolidWorks, Dassault Systemes, has a useful guide on how to get certified with their program. Currently, Dassault Systemes has 13 separate exams for certification. The exams vary in terms of skill level and will have you start with “associate” and work your way up to “expert”. There are several advanced exams with specific topics targeting certain skillsets. Some of these include surfacing, mold tools, welding, sheet metal, and even drawing tools.

There is a wide variety and range of tests that the Dassault Systemes website offers for SolidWorks certification, but the three exams that are most worth noting are the Associate exam, Professional exam, and the Expert exam, the last of which even requires passing at least four of the five advanced topic exams as a pre-requisite.

SOLIDWORKS Associate Certification

For students in the secondary or tertiary level looking to get certification in preparation for upcoming job hunts, the Certified SolidWorks Associate exam (CSWA) would be the first exam they should look into taking and passing. The CSWA is a practical skill test that covers the following:

  • Annotations
  • Boss and cut features
    • Lofts
    • Revolves
    • Sweeps
    • Extrudes
  • Chamfers
  • Components
  • Dimensions
  • Feature conditions
    • Start
    • End
  • Fillet
  • Mass properties
  • Materials
  • Patterns
    • Linear
    • Circular
    • Fill
  • Reference geometry
    • Axis
    • Mate references
    • Planes
  • Sketch entities
    • Lines
    • Centerlines
    • Rectangles
    • Arcs
    • Ellipses
    • Circles
  • Sketch relations
  • Sketch tools
    • Trim
    • Offset
    • Convert
  • Standard mates
    • Angle
    • Coincident
    • Concentric
    • Distance
    • Parallel
    • Perpendicular
    • Tangent
  • Views

Mike Puckett, senior manager of the SolidWorks certification program, has stated that certain states such as Florida and even countries like Ireland have made the passing of these tests mandatory for all courses and curricula that include SolidWorks and CAD. As a testament to the quality of the tests, entire states, and even a country, have mandated the use of these exams for all the students studying CAD in their universities. This is a testament to how important these exams are.

It is recommended to take the following training courses to prepare for the exam:

Also, in order to take the exam, the examinee must have at least the 2011 version of SolidWorks. Some files will not open with versions that are later than this.

The CSWA has an exam length of 3 hours has a minimum passing grade of 70 percent. For the re-test policy, there will be a minimum of 14 days as a waiting period between each attempt of the CSWA exam. Additionally, a new CSWA exam credit has to be purchased for every attempt. Dassault Systemes reveals that the exam has a 65 percent passing rate with a total of 102,127 students having being certified thus far.

SOLIDWORKS Professional Certification

For professionals who are looking to enhance their career with a higher level of SolidWorks or CAD certification, Dassault Systemes offers the Certified SolidWorks Professional exam (CSWP), a level higher than the aforementioned Associate certification. The CSWP is a practical skill test that covers the following:

  • Segment 1

The first segment of the exam takes place for 1 hour and 10 minutes. The minimum number of points needed to pass this segment of the CSWP is 75 points out of a maximum of 105 points. The segment consists of:

  • Creating parts from drawings
  • Linked dimensions and equations in modeling
  • Equations relating to dimensions
  • Parameters and dimension sizes
  • Mass property
  • Complex part creation from simple part modification
  • Modifying part parameters independently from other dimensions
  • Segment 2

The second segment of the exam takes place for 50 minutes. The minimum number of points needed to pass this segment of the CSWP is 77 points out of a maximum of 104 points. The segment consists of:

  • Creating configurations using pre-existing configurations
  • Editing configurations
  • Creating configurations using Design Tables
  • Mass properties
  • Editing an existing SolidWorks part
  • Segment 3

The third segment of the exam takes place for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The minimum number of points needed to pass this segment of the CSWP is 77 points out of a maximum of 109 points. The segment consists of:

  • Assemblies
  • Adding parts to assemblies
  • Collision detection when moving assembly parts
  • Detection of interference
  • Mates (basic and advance)
  • Inserting sub-assemblies
  • Assembly parts replacements
  • Coordinate systems
  • Mass properties analysis with coordinate systems

Due to the more advanced pre-requisites of the CSWP, professionals who get to this point and take the exam have a higher chance of passing, with 74% of examinees gaining this certification. There are currently 32,328 CSWP exam certified SolidWorks users in the world.

It is recommended to take the following training courses to prepare for the exam:

  • SolidWorks Essentials
  • SolidWorks Drawings
  • Advanced Part Modeling
  • Advanced Assembly Modeling
  • Sample Exam

Also, in order to take the exam, the examinee must have at least the 2015 version of SolidWorks. Some files will not open with versions that are later than this.

SOLIDWORKS Expert Certification

The highest certification SolidWorks has to offer is the one you can get after passing the Certified SolidWorks Expert exam (CSWE). You must have previously gotten the CSWP certification to quality as well as completed at least four of the five advanced topics exams. The CSWP is a practical skill test that covers the following:

  • 3D Sketch
  • Advanced weldments
  • Advanced functionality of bill of materials
  • Assembly design in-context
  • Assembly Mates
  • Belts and chains
  • Changes in assembly in-context
  • Configurations of Assembly
  • Import and Modification of sheet metal
  • Lofts
  • Modification of imported parts
  • Move or Copy bodies
  • Multi-bodies
  • Sketch blocks
  • Sketch pictures
  • Split tool
  • Spring modeling
  • Sweeps

Also, in order to take the exam, the examinee must have at least the 2015 version of SolidWorks. Some files will not open with versions that are later than this.

The CSWP has an exam length of 4 hours has a minimum passing grade of 80 percent. For the re-test policy, there will be a minimum of 90 days as a waiting period between each attempt of the CSWp exam. Dassault Systemes’ Mike Puckett reveals that only 2,339 of the over 110,000 SolidWorks certified people in the worls have managed to earn Expert certification.

SolidWorks Certification in Action

SolidWorks certifications serve to validate an individual’s CAD skills and affect the trajectory of their career. This translates to higher salary, more opportunities for growth, and security with jobs for some companies. Disney, for example, places a lot of emphasis on being certified with SolidWorks.

Disney Parks and Resorts have a hiring department that has stated that although just having the SolidWorks certifications won’t necessarily guarantee a job, however it will surely get you an interview if nothing more.  

Some cynics will argue that SolidWorks certifications are nothing more than ways for SolidWorks and Dassault Systemes to earn more money, but you need only attent a singly SolidWorks or CAD conference to see that there are several certified users that will sing high praises of the system.

SolidWorks Certification Cost

SolidWorks certification exams have their own pre-requisites, one of which is having access to a desktop or laptop working computer with a copy of SolidWorks at least 2011 or later to run the different exams to be administered. The test is then administered and taken completely online in a client window that’s secure and separate from the core SolidWorks software. If you want to avail of the costs, here they are:

  • Certified SolidWorks Associate exam runs at $100
  • Certified Sollidworks Professional exam will run $99
  • Certified SolidWorks Expert exam will cost you $150
  • Individual topic exams go for $20 each.

Do note that for every failed exam and subsequent retake, you’ll have to purchase an exam pass for every attempt. Additionally, you have to remember you will have a waiting period of 2 weeks to 3 before you can try again.