Accredited Test Facility

NEW- Thomas Nelson is an American Welding Society (AWS) Accredited Testing Facility (ATF).

Thomas Nelson’s Welding Center is the only Accredited Testing Center in the region. Qualify and test for the AWS Welding Certification

  • Earn more money
  • National Certification transfers nation wide
  • Open the doors to more job opportunities

Thomas Nelson holds AWS welding certification testing  at the Welding Center the third Friday of every month.  For more information or to help with scheduling your test you may contact Bobby Perkins at (757) 865-3123. All testing must be scheduled.

Additional Information

The most common tests taken are 3/8" plate and 6" pipe with stick electrodes, however, there are many more tests available. We prepare the pipe by turning the bevel on the lathe, and the plate by saw cutting the angle or we order pre-cut, beveled materials that is ready to be tacked and welded. The welder is responsible for the remaining coupon preparation before welding starts: cleaning off any mill scale and setting the lands at the root opening with your own grinders or file. Grinding, power wire brushing or other mechanical cleaning is permitted during welding under most codes, but not under the D1.5 Bridge Code. The main items that we need to know to select the proper test for you are: 

Job Type: There are many different AWS codes and code books for specialties such as Structural Carbon Steel - D1.1, Structural Sheet Steel D1.3, Bridges - D1.5, all the way up to Aerospace D17.1 Other codes that we can not easily test for, such as Section IX of ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code or the American Petroleum Institute API 1104 may govern the job. 

Metal alloy: Low carbon steel, High Carbon (tool) steel, high carbon to low carbon, stainless, or other more exotic metals. 

Metal thickness: Test are normally good for double the thickness tested, so a standard 3/8" plate will qualify for up to 3/4", weld testing on 1" plate or schedule 80 pipe will qualify for unlimited thickness, 1/8" is the minimum certified thickness for non-sheet metal tests. Metal type: Sheet metal up to 10 gauge, plate 3/8" to 1", 2" or 6" diameter Schedule 80 pipe or tubing. 

Joint Type: Fillet weld, groove with backing, open root groove. 

Position: Flat, horizontal, vertical up, and/or overhead for plate, vertical, horizontal or 45 degree angle for pipe. The all-position certifications for carbon steel require either two plates (vertical & overhead) or one 45 degree pipe. 

Qualified Welding Procedure: The AWS has 62 different prequalified Standard Welding Procedure Specifications (SWPS) to choose from, and there are many more privately developed and qualified procedures that are treated as proprietary Trade Secrets. 

Process: GTAW (TIG), SMAW (stick), FCAW (flux core MIG), GMAW (MIG) spray transfer, or a combination.

Please Note: There is NO AWS certification for GMAW-S (short circuit MIG), except in sheet metal, or as a root pass followed by another process for plate and pipe. Once we have determined the best procedure to test on, then you can practice for that test.  There is a wealth of information and photographs on the certification process available here.

Please call Bobby Perkins at (757) 865-3123 or Julian Lewis at (757) 865-5881 with the class and section/test number in order to prepay and to ensure a space for each person requesting to be tested. If we do not have a confirmation within 48 hours of the class, the section may be cancelled.