What is SolidWorks Certification?
SolidWorks Certification program is a system through which SolidWorks offers certifications in the use of various aspects of their software. This is a great opportunity for a SolidWorks user to stand out in the workplace. SolidWorks offers progressive certifications in almost every aspect of the software. These certifications can be obtained using SolidWorks Virtual Tester’s test client using any computer running SolidWorks.
Validating Your SolidWorks Skill Set
SolidWorks has become an industry standard in engineering, CAD, and drafting. With over three million users worldwide, it can difficult to stand apart in the workplace. It is important to have sharp SolidWorks skills, and a good portfolio speaks volumes, but nothing says as much about your skills as someone with proven qualifications vouching for you. This is why SolidWorks developed their certification program. Solidworks offers certifications in almost every aspect of the software In the article below, we’ll look at what SolidWorks certification is,who it’s for, how the certification system works, how to become certified, and the benefits of being certified.
What is SolidWorks Certification
We’ve already explained above why SolidWorks developed its certification program, but there is so much more to this certification program than just the idea of being SolidWorks certified. So who could benefit from SolidWorks certification? In general, any professional SolidWorks user could benefit in some way from obtaining a certification. These certifications validate the users skillset to colleagues and employers, as well as to themselves. This can be beneficial for obtaining a job, but it can also be beneficial to obtain a certification even if you are already employed. When a coworker or manager knows that you’re acquired the title of “Certified SolidWorks Professional” it reinforces that you know how to get the job done right, and shows that you have a dedication to improving your skills in the workplace. Being trusted to do one’s job correctly and efficiently can lead to more responsibility which can be a huge factor in career advancement. Obtaining these certifications can be a great way to demonstrate this willingness to improve and take on more responsibility. So in general, any professional that is a heavy user of SolidWorks can benefit from a certification, but how does the system work? There are many certifications, and some are not obtainable immediately. SolidWorks uses what we call a progressive system of certification, with a series of “core” certifications, as well as multiple specialized certifications. Let’s take a look at how SolidWorks structures this system.
Different SolidWorks Certifications
At the time of this writing, SolidWorks lists seventeen different certifications that users can obtain. As previously mentioned, many of these certifications are in specific subcategories of the software built to be obtained by specialists. Not everyone will benefit from every certification, but understanding what is obtainable is the starting point in deciding which certification(s) is right for you. The certifications are as follows:
- CSWA – Academic
- CSWP – Academic
- CSWA-Additive Manufacturing
- CSWPA-Sheet Metal
- CSWPA-Mold Making
- CSWPA-Drawing Tools
This looks pretty complicated at first glance, but once we understand some of the “alphabet soup” surrounding the acronyms it becomes much simpler to understand. It all comes down to the progressive certification system.
To start understanding what each certification is, we first need to understand the acronyms associated with them. The three acronyms that we see the most are CSWA, CSWP, and CSWE. CSWA is Certified SolidWorks Associate, CSWP is Certified SolidWorks Professional, and CSWE is Certified SolidWorks Expert. Solidworks uses a progressive system of certification and these three certifications are the “core” certifications that cover general solidworks use. CSWA is the first, followed by CSWP, with CSWE being the highest achievable SolidWorks certification. You have the option of not obtaining the CSWA, but you must obtain the CSWP before you are permitted to obtain the CSWE. The certifications marked “academic” are the same with the exception that they are for student SolidWorks users. Outside of these “core” certifications, everything else is a specialist certification in a specific aspect of SolidWorks use. Most of these become understandable just based on the acronyms that we just explained above, with CSWP being the step after CSWA. There are a few standouts that are worth explaining however. CPPA is Certified PDM Proffesional Administrator. This certification applies to SolidWorks’ data management program known as SolidWorks PDM. Likewise the CSWP-MBD is a certification in the use of SolidWorks Model Based Design tools known as SolidWorks MBD. There are also a series of certifications that are labeled CSWPA. This stands for Certified SolidWorks Professional Advanced. These are speciality certifications that certify the user in advanced techniques in certain areas of solidworks that the “core” certifications spend a little less time on. These are also an important part of the progressive certification. To qualify to obtain the CSWE, you must have obtained your CSWP as well as having obtained at least four of the CSWPA certifications. While you can pick any of the CSWPA certifications for this purpose, it makes most sense to choose those certifications that apply most to the industry in which you work. Hopefully you now have a pretty clear understanding of how the certification structure works, but keep in mind that it is always best to check SolidWorks certification catalog (webpage link at the end of this article) to keep track of new or modified certifications, and always be sure that you meet the minimum qualifications to obtain your desired certification.
Now that we have obtained a basic understanding of how the certification system is structured, let’s take a quick look at how certifications are obtained. There are many ways that certifications could be awarded, but SolidWorks has gone with perhaps the most straightforward method, a proctored examination. In this case SolidWorks uses SolidWorks Virtual Tester, a program that will proctor the examination digitally, on any computer. This allows anyone with a SolidWorks license to take the examination on their own computer without the need to have a human proctor the test. We won’t spend much time here on how SolidWorks Virtual Tester works, but we explain more about this in a different article, and we will provide a link to the website at the end of this article.
The Certification Process
Once you know what certification you want to achieve, you only need to know how the certification process works to get started. This process is fairly straightforward, and as we mentioned earlier is handled through SolidWorks Virtual Tester. The certification process is entirely exam based. If you pass the exam you become certified in what that exam is testing you on. To start this process, you will first need to purchase an exam credit for your desired certification. Once you have the exam credit, you may begin the exam at any time, all you need is a computer running the necessary version of solidworks (the SolidWorks version requirement can be found on each exams webpage in the certification catalog). The exam can give multiple types of questions from multiple choice to a manual number entry. Once you have completed all the questions, the test client will automatically score your exam and give you your results.
Benefits of Certification
Being certified in the use of SolidWorks has multiple benefits for the user. We have already mentioned some of the career benefits that you may experience in the workplace or for job hunting, but there are some other, less known benefits as well. Once you have passed an exam and successfully achieved a SolidWorks certification, you have the option of being listed in an online directory of certified individuals. In today’s competitive job market any exposure can help. This is accomplished through the use of SolidWorks Virtual Tester website. You can also provide a Certificate ID that can be used to verify your certification through this same site. This is somewhat more professional than asking a potential employer to “take your word for it” or believe a sheet of paper. When you have a couple of certifications under your belt, there may be other benefits from SolidWorks as well. This may include the opportunity to submit work to be included on future tests, or discounts to attend special events or conferences. If you are a constant SolidWorks user and want to be as immersed in the ecosystem as possible, certification is the best way to do so.
SolidWorks certifications are a great tool
available to SolidWorks users. With seventeen different certifications that can
be obtained, and the availability of being able to take the exams on any
machine with SolidWorks, almost any frequent user can benefit from them in some
way. The potential for career growth, validation, and immersion into the
SolidWorks ecosystem are all huge benefits to users that are pursuing
certifications. Possibly our favorite benefit, however, is the validation to
yourself. Passing a standardized competency test can be a huge confidence
boost, and really validate that you do know your stuff. Hopefully the
Information that we give here is enough of a taste to get you excited about
starting the SolidWorks certification process. Good luck!
Trevor Holloway is a mechanical engineer and CAD expert. He is certified in SolidWorks at the expert level (CSWE), and has years of experience in designing products for manufacture.
Trevor Holloway is driven by turning ideas into reality through engineering. He consistently seeks to push the limits of his skills and expand his knowledge base with the intent to innovate and solve problems. He enjoys viewing the engineering process holistically, from design to implementation, and always seeks to take a hands on approach. He is certified by SolidWorks as a SolidWorks Experts (CSWE).