Why you should take the SOLIDWORKS Certification exams

SOLIDWORKS certification is a great way to showcase and advertise your skills. They are also a good marker to gauge your personal development. Read on to find out more…

SOLIDWORKS certifications are a great way to showcase and advertise your skill with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software. They are also a good marker to gauge your personal development. Most companies now operate a skill development program, which could include a certain number of these exams.

At Innova Systems, we put a huge amount of emphasis on the SOLIDWORKS certification – as it is our job to know the software inside out. All our technical support team have a large number of certifications. We find that it is a great measure of skill and the preparation is also a really good way to learn the software.

There are seventeen individual exams that SOLIDWORKS users can take, ranging from specific exams in Sheet Metal, to a generic ones for the creation of drawings. There are also some additional exams to test your knowledge in areas such as the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform as well as some certification programs offered by SOLIDWORKS partners such as DriveWorks.  The most recognised of these is the Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (or CSWP) exam. This has been split into three exams, ranging from 50 minutes to 80 minutes in duration – the first section covers part modelling, the second is on configurations, and the third covers assembly creation. All the SOLIDWORKS exams are done online through virtual tester (an online testing facility) most answers are multiple choice, or ask you to fill in specific values from the model.

The CSWP is well recognised in the USA, and is fast gaining traction in the UK. We have seen some employers specifying this as a requirement now on job postings, so why is it important? Firstly, it shows that you can use the software to a good level – this exam is fairly taxing for the general SOLIDWORKS user, and they are structured in such a way that you need to build a good model with design intent included from the start. Secondly, if you have the CSWP and another candidate doesn’t, then you stand out. In today’s job market, it is important to have an edge, and the CSWP or similar can give you that edge. To give you an idea of what a differentiation the CSWP and CSWE can be on your CV, there are 123,837 CSWPs and 4384 CSWEs worldwide.

Ed Hawkins Innova Systems Technical Director
Ed Hawkins

Innova Systems’ Technical Manager, Ed Hawkins said:

“When I first started learning SOLIDWORKS, I found the certification exams to be a really good challenge and a great way to develop your speed (as they are timed) in the software. They also gave me a desire to learn more about different areas, too. The CSWE (Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert) exam requires you to have passed 4 out of 5 specific area exams. So if you want to get to this level, you will need to know more about different areas of the software. These areas may not be relevant to your current job role, or any future career aspirations you have, but I have always found that many areas of SOLIDWORKS functionality can cross over and become relevant in ways you never thought possible”.

To show you what exams are available – and the level of skill you require to pass each exam – see our handy table below:



Exam Name Time using SOLIDWORKS Software Specific Area Command knowledge required
CSWA – Mechanical Design 2 – 3 months SOLIDWORKS Sketching, extrudes, revolves, sweeps, assemblies, reference geometry
CSWP – Mechanical Design 4 – 6 months SOLIDWORKS Part modelling, linked dimensions, equations, complex part creation, configurations, design tables, assemblies, collision detection, co-ordinates systems,
CSWE – Mechanical Design 1 year plus SOLIDWORKS Lofts, sweeps, in-context assemblies, import part geometry, belt and chain, sketch blocks, multi bodies, spring modelling, split tool
CPPA N/A Enterprise PDM Vault creation, configuration, permissions, add user, data cards, variables, workflow manipulation, general troubleshooting
CSWA – Sustainability N/A Sustainability Multiple choice exam. Sustainable design concepts, environmental assessment studies, Life Cycle Assessment
CSWA – Simulation 1 year plus Simulation Engineering mechanics, strength of materials, finite element analysis, creating studies in simulation, mesh creation, fixtures, loads, connections, contact sets
CSWPA – Sheet Metal 3 – 6 months Sheet Metal Edge flange, curved edge flange, mitre flange, closed corners, bend tables, bend specification, hem, jog, forming tools, unfold, fold, flat pattern
CSWPA – Weldments 3 – 6 months Weldments Profile creation, library management, corner modification, end caps, gussets, trim/extend, 3D sketch creation, cut list folder management
CSWPA – Surfacing 3 – 6 months Surfacing Spline creation, 3D curves, boundary surface, filled surface, swept surface, planar surface, knit command, trim/untrim, move face, fillet, thicken
CSWPA – Mold Making 3 – 6 months Mould Tools Parting line creation, parting surface, draft analysis, shut off surfaces, imported part repair, cavity tool, split face
CSWPA – Drawing Tools 3 – 6 months Drawings Basic view creation, section views, auxiliary views, alternate position view, relative to model, BOM creation, hide/show, transferring sketches
CSWSP – Simulation 1 year plus Simulation FEA theory, and practical hands-on questions. Static, buckling, thermal, motion, frequency
CSWP – MBD 6 – 8 months Model Based Definition Dimxpert, midplanes, annotation views, 3D PDF Tools, Defining PMI
CSWE – Simulation  2 years plus Simulation Linear stress, mesh convergence, thermal stress, linear dynamic, nonlinear static, nonlinear dynamic, nonlinear buckling
CSWP – CAM 4 – 6 months Computer Aided Manufacture Define machine, define stock, simulate toolpaths, post process toolpaths, generate operation plan, operation modification, interactive 2.5 axis mill operation
CSWA – Additive Manufacturing 2 – 3 months 3D Printing Material types, machine types and processes, design for printing considerations, post printing finishing
CSWA – Electrical 2 – 3 months SOLIDWORKS Electrical Electrical theory, schematics, Electrical 3D, Electrical design, Installation
3DEXPERIENCE – Collaborative Business Innovator 1 – 2 Months  3DEXPERIENCE Platform Interface, connecting to the platform, access your dashboard, access social communities on 3DSwym, share documents, preview 3d data, collaborate


A Certification Catalogue  is available that contains some more information on what each exam contains and also provides some sample exams to give you a taster of what the full exam is like.

Free exams are available for subscription customers, one exam from each of the categories below, twice a year, January to June, and then again from July to December. These are for each license that is on subscription.

  1. One free core (CSWP or CSWA) exam
  2. One free advanced (CSWPA) exam
  3. One free speciality exam

To obtain the free voucher codes, you will need a SOLIDWORKS ID registered with a SOLIDWORKS license with an active subscription.  For companies who use network licenses, you will be able to complete the redemption process equal to the number of seats of SOLIDWORKS you have on subscription.  However, each redemption will need to be completed by a different user with a different SOLIDWORKS ID.

To redeem your vouchers, follow these steps:

  1. Visit https://3DEXPERIENCE.VirtualTester.com
  2. Login to your 3DEXPERIENCE certification account or create a new account using the button in the upper right corner of the page
  3. Click on the redemption tab ($) found along the left hand navigation pane
  4. Follow the prompts that will include logging into your SOLIDWORKS ID until you receive your voucher codes.

Once you have obtained your voucher codes, follow these steps to take an exam:

  1. Download and install the VirtualTester client from the right side of the 3DEXPERIENCE certification center homepage.
  2. Launch the application, you will then be able to log in using your VirtualTester ID or create one if you do not already have an account.
  3. Then select the brand (SOLIDWORKS).
  4. Enter your voucher code
  5. Scroll down to find your exam and hit ‘Start Exam’.

SOLIDWORKS Certifications


So, in summary, SOLIDWORKS Certifications are a great way to get noticed by potential employers and stand out, but they can also help you develop your skill in the software and work at a faster pace.

VIDEO: Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert benefits.

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