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SolidWorks Certifications Explained – CSWA, CSWP, CSWE

Written by Rahul Lath

Updated on: 07 Dec 2023

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A 3D modeling software package as powerful as SolidWorks is no small feat to master. As the demand for professionals with SolidWorks skills grows, so does the necessity for proof of those skills. That’s where the SolidWorks certification comes into play. Whether you’re a professional seeking to upgrade your skills or an employer looking to ensure your team has the necessary SolidWorks proficiency, these certifications serve as a standardized measure of proficiency.

Having a SolidWorks certification not only validates your proficiency with the software but also sets you apart in the job market, making you more attractive to employers. It gives you a competitive edge, demonstrating your commitment to enhancing your skills and professionalism. Earning these credentials can open up new opportunities, whether you’re seeking a new job, a promotion, or just wanting to enhance your skills for personal growth.

With various types of SolidWorks certifications available, it’s essential to understand what each one signifies and how to earn it. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about SolidWorks certifications, from the Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate (CSWA) to the Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert (CSWE).

Importance of SolidWorks Certification

SolidWorks is an industry-standard software used globally in product design, mechanical engineering, and other fields. A SolidWorks certification thus carries significant value in these industries. Here are a few reasons why it’s important:

  • Proof of Proficiency: It serves as proof of your competency in SolidWorks, a highly regarded skill in industries such as automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, and more.
  • Competitive Advantage: Having a certification sets you apart from your peers in the job market and can be the deciding factor in a hiring decision.
  • Career Growth: Certifications can open doors to new job opportunities and promotions.
  • Professional Credibility: They add to your professional credibility and can be a significant addition to your CV.
  • Lifelong Learning: Preparing for and achieving these certifications promote continual learning and skill enhancement.

Let’s delve into the types of SolidWorks certifications, what they entail, and how you can earn them.

What are the types of SolidWorks Certifications?

The SolidWorks certification program comprises several levels, each one demonstrating a higher level of proficiency in the software. Here are the key ones:

  • Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate (CSWA)
  • Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (CSWP)
  • Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional Advanced (CSWPA)
  • Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert (CSWE)

Each of these certifications serves a specific purpose and is suitable for different types of SolidWorks users. Let’s break them down one by one.

SolidWorks Associate Certification (CSWA)

The CSWA, or Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate, is the entry-level SolidWorks certification. It serves to demonstrate a foundational understanding of SolidWorks.

Description and Purpose

The CSWA certification is intended to ensure the recipient has the necessary fundamental knowledge and competence in SolidWorks software. It validates a broad understanding of the software, including its interface, basic modeling techniques, and ability to create parts, assemblies, and drawings.

For example, a CSWA holder should be capable of constructing a straightforward mechanical part in SolidWorks, like a bracket or a simple gear, and developing a basic assembly using these parts. They should also be proficient in creating 2D drawings of these 3D models.

Who Should Take It?

The CSWA certification is perfect for students, hobbyists, or professionals new to SolidWorks. If you’re looking to prove your basic knowledge and understanding of SolidWorks, this certification can be an excellent starting point.

Exam Format and Requirements

The CSWA exam lasts 3 hours and consists of both multiple-choice and hands-on challenges. It tests the candidates on part modeling, assembly modeling, and drafting competencies. It’s recommended that candidates have a minimum of 45 to 90 hours of SolidWorks instruction or hands-on experience before attempting the CSWA exam.

SolidWorks Professional Certification (CSWP)

After CSWA, the next level is the CSWP, or Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional. It demonstrates an intermediate level of proficiency in SolidWorks.

Description and Purpose

The CSWP certification verifies a more advanced understanding of SolidWorks than the CSWA. It signifies the holder can build more complex parts and assemblies in SolidWorks, applying best practices and design intent.

To illustrate, a CSWP holder should be able to design complex parts such as a custom gear or a complex bracket with multiple features. They should also be capable of building complex assemblies, like a simple gearbox, and understanding how changes to individual parts affect the assembly.

Who Should Take It?

The CSWP certification is ideal for those who already have a solid understanding of SolidWorks and are using it regularly in their jobs. They might be professionals in industries like mechanical design, manufacturing, or product design.

Exam Format and Requirements

The CSWP exam is a 3 hours 30 minutes test divided into three segments – modeling, configurations, and assemblies, which can be taken separately. It’s recommended that candidates have at least 80 hours of SolidWorks instruction or hands-on experience beyond what’s necessary for the CSWA exam.

Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional Advanced (CSWPA)

The CSWPA, or Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional Advanced, signifies a specialist level of knowledge within specific areas of SOLIDWORKS.

Description and Purpose

The CSWPA is not a single certification but a series of advanced exams. Each of these tests assesses an individual’s knowledge in a specific area of SolidWorks, such as drawing tools, sheet metal, weldments, surfacing, mold tools, and design validation.

For instance, the CSWPA-Drawing Tools certification validates your expertise in generating complex 2D drawings from 3D solid models using SolidWorks’ robust set of drafting tools. It might involve creating a comprehensive drawing of a complex mechanical assembly, including different views, detailed callouts, and intricate dimensioning.

Who Should Take It?

The CSWPA certifications are ideal for those who already have a CSWP certification and want to showcase their specialized knowledge in specific areas. They are particularly beneficial for professionals who want to enhance their expertise in a specific domain, such as sheet metal design or surfacing.

Exam Format and Requirements

The format and duration of the CSWPA exams vary depending on the specific test. However, each exam generally lasts 1 to 2 hours and requires a current CSWP certification.

SolidWorks Expert Certification (CSWE)

The CSWE, or Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert, is the pinnacle of SolidWorks certification.

Description and Purpose

The CSWE certification denotes a comprehensive understanding of SolidWorks and the ability to use the software to its full potential. CSWEs are recognized for their ability to solve practically any design challenge given to them.

An example of what a CSWE holder might do includes designing a complete mechanical system in SolidWorks, ensuring that all parts fit together correctly, perform as intended, and can be manufactured.

Who Should Take It?

The CSWE certification is ideal for seasoned SolidWorks professionals who want to validate their expertise. It is particularly beneficial for senior design engineers, team leaders, or anyone with a high level of competency in SolidWorks.

Exam Format and Requirements

The CSWE exam lasts about 4 hours and tests various advanced skills, including complex part modeling, advanced assembly modeling, and design analysis. Candidates need to have passed at least four of the CSWPA exams and be a current CSWP for at least one month before attempting the CSWE exam.

Next, we will discuss the benefits of obtaining a SolidWorks certification, how to prepare for these exams, and how to maintain and upgrade your certification.

Benefits of SolidWorks Certifications

Investing time and resources into gaining a SolidWorks certification has numerous advantages that not only enhance your skills but also make you more valuable in the job market.

Benefits for Individuals

  • Skill Validation: Certification from SolidWorks validates that you have the necessary skills to use the software efficiently and effectively.
  • Career Advancement: Certification can make a difference when applying for promotions or new job opportunities, often serving as a tiebreaker between equally qualified candidates.
  • Peer Recognition: Being certified can earn you respect among colleagues and peers, as it signifies that you’ve mastered a highly specialized skill set.
  • Access to New Opportunities: Some jobs require SolidWorks certification, particularly in specialized fields. Having this certification can open the door to these opportunities.

Benefits for Employers

  • Competency Assurance: Employers can be confident that certified individuals have the skills necessary to fully utilize SolidWorks.
  • Standardization: Employers can ensure a certain level of proficiency among their staff, leading to more consistent work output.
  • Increased Productivity: Certified users are often more adept at using advanced features of SolidWorks, leading to faster and more efficient work processes.

Value in the Job Market

SolidWorks certification is highly valued in sectors like mechanical engineering, product design, manufacturing, and architecture, among others. Having such a certification on your resume can give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs or seeking promotions.

How to Prepare for SolidWorks Certification?

Preparation for the SolidWorks certification exams requires both theoretical understanding and practical experience. Here are some tips:

  • Hands-On Practice: The most effective way to learn SolidWorks is by actually using it. Designing parts, creating assemblies, and testing designs are all crucial aspects of exam preparation.
  • Study Materials: SolidWorks provides a variety of study materials, including exam preparation books and online resources.
  • Training Courses: Consider enrolling in a prepare with expert solidworks tutor course, especially for more advanced certifications. These courses often cover topics in more depth than self-study resources.
  • Sample Exams: SolidWorks offers sample exams that can give you a feel for the format and types of questions you’ll encounter in the actual exam.

In the following sections, we’ll explore the process of taking the certification exam and how to maintain and upgrade your certification.

How to Take the Certification Exam

Once you’re ready to get your SolidWorks certification, you’ll need to follow a few steps to take the certification exam:

  • Create a MySolidWorks Account: All certification exams are managed through the MySolidWorks online portal. You’ll need to create an account if you don’t have one already.
  • Purchase an Exam Credit: You can buy exam credits through the SolidWorks Certification Center. The cost varies depending on the level of certification.
  • Schedule Your Exam: After purchasing an exam credit, you can schedule your exam at a time that’s convenient for you. The exam is conducted online and monitored by a proctor.
  • Take the Exam: The exam is hands-on and involves creating designs in SolidWorks. You’ll need to have the software installed on your computer.
  • Check Your Results: Your exam results will be available immediately after completion. Successful candidates will receive their certification electronically.

Maintaining and Upgrading Your Certification

Once you have earned your certification, there are a few things you need to do to maintain and possibly upgrade it.

Renewal Requirements

  • CSWA: No renewal required.
  • CSWP: Renewal required every year. Requires completing a renewal exam.
  • CSWE: Renewal required every year. Requires completing a renewal exam.

Upgrading from CSWA to CSWP, CSWP to CSWE

Earning a higher-level SolidWorks certification generally involves passing the corresponding higher-level exam. For example, to upgrade from a CSWA to a CSWP, you would need to pass the CSWP exam. Similarly, upgrading from a CSWP to a CSWE would require passing the CSWE exam.

Before attempting to upgrade, it’s recommended to gain additional practical experience with SolidWorks and to prepare thoroughly using SolidWorks’s provided study resources or by enrolling in a prepare with expert solidworks tutor course.

The Impact of SolidWorks Certification on Career Prospects

When it comes to the professional world, having a SolidWorks certification can make a significant difference. Here’s how:

  1. Credibility Boost: A certification from SolidWorks demonstrates your proficiency in the software. It gives your profile an instant credibility boost, showing potential employers you have the skills they’re looking for.
  2. Competitive Edge: A certification sets you apart from other candidates who may not have this qualification. It’s an additional credential that can give you an edge in job applications or promotions.
  3. Increased Earning Potential: With advanced certification, you can often negotiate higher pay. Your certification proves your advanced skills and dedication to learning, making you a valuable asset to any team.
  4. Networking Opportunities: Becoming certified connects you with other certified professionals. This global network can lead to collaborations, job opportunities, and valuable exchange of knowledge.

Common Challenges and Tips for Success in SolidWorks Certification Exams

Studying for and taking the SolidWorks certification exam can be a challenging process. Here are a few common challenges and tips to overcome them:

  • Time Management: The certification exams are timed, so managing your time effectively is crucial. Practice with timed mock exams to get a feel for the pace you need to maintain.
  • Understanding Exam Format: Familiarize yourself with the format of the exam. Knowing the type of questions and tasks you will be asked can help you prepare more effectively.
  • Software Proficiency: You need to be proficient in using SolidWorks, not just theoretically but also practically. Make sure to spend plenty of time getting hands-on experience.

SolidWorks Certification Exam Resources

To help you prepare for your SolidWorks certification exams, there are several resources available:

  1. SolidWorks Tutorials: SolidWorks provides comprehensive tutorials within the software. These tutorials cover a wide range of topics and can help you get comfortable with the program.
  2. MySolidWorks Training: MySolidWorks offers several courses designed specifically for certification exam preparation. These courses can be accessed online, allowing you to study at your own pace.
  3. Certification Exam Guides: SolidWorks provides detailed exam guides for each of their certifications. These guides include information on the exam format, the topics covered, and sample questions.
  4. Practice Exams: Before taking the actual exam, it’s beneficial to take practice exams. This helps familiarize you with the exam format and improves your speed and accuracy.
  5. Training Courses: There are many prepare with expert solidworks tutor courses available, both online and offline. These courses are designed to help you master SolidWorks and pass your certification exams.

Taking the time to prepare for your SolidWorks certification exam can seem daunting, but with the right approach and resources, it’s an achievable goal. Good luck with your certification journey!

A SolidWorks certification can validate your skills, increase your employability, and open up new opportunities in your career. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or an employer, it’s worth considering how these certifications can benefit you or your organization.


How much does a SOLIDWORKS certification cost? 

The cost of SolidWorks certifications varies. The CSWA exam typically costs around $100, while the CSWP and CSWE exams can cost several hundred dollars each. Prices can also vary depending on whether you take the exam as part of a training course or independently.

What is the best SOLIDWORKS certification?

The “best” certification depends on your goals. The CSWA is a good starting point for beginners, while the CSWP and CSWE offer more advanced recognition of skills. Ultimately, the best certification is the one that aligns with your career objectives and the demands of your job.

Is SOLIDWORKS CSWA certification worth it? 

Yes, the CSWA certification can be an excellent investment for beginners or for those who use SolidWorks infrequently in their work. It provides validation of fundamental SolidWorks skills and can enhance your resume.

What Happens if I Fail a SolidWorks Certification Exam? 

If you fail a SolidWorks certification exam, you can retake it after waiting for a certain period. The waiting period varies depending on the exam, with 14 days being a common waiting period for most exams. However, you will need to pay the exam fee again to retake the test.

Remember, getting certified is a journey. It’s not just about passing the exams, but about learning and mastering SolidWorks to make your ideas come to life. Happy learning!

Written by by

Rahul Lath

Reviewed by by

Arpit Rankwar

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